In Part I of How To Execute The Discovery Phase Of The Sales Process, I talked about the importance of asking questions, the type of questions to use, and when to use them. Now I’m going to go a little deeper into some specific questions you need to ask in the discovery phase.
The whole point of using a sales process is to get the business. All of the pieces of the sales process have a purpose and fit together. If you leave out or skip a part of the sales process you dramatically decrease your chances of closing the deal.
For example, a lot of sales people want to know the best way to close a sale. The truth is: closing a sale should be a natural outcome of the sales process. However, everything else has to be done correctly before the closing phase of the sales process.
The discovery phase allows you to get the information you need to address the needs and concerns of your prospect. Then you can prepare a customized solution for your prospect that will differentiate you from the competition. This increases your probability of getting the business.
In the discovery phase you are gathering as much information as you can about your prospect. The more you know the better position you are in. You don’t want to just get random information; you want to know their pain and challenges. You want to know things that can give you insight into how they will choose which way to go.
There are four main questions you want to ask as part of your discovery process. These are not the only questions you need to ask, but they are necessary questions for each sales campaign.
The Four Questions are:
1. What criteria will you use to make your decision?
The answer to this question allows you to address the issues that are important to them when you make your proposal. You will want to customize your proposal to include your prospects decision making criteria.
2. What is your time frame for having a solution in place?
Understanding the time frame before presenting your proposal will almost always eliminate the stall objection. Also, if the time frame for implementation is too far out you may want to wait before proceeding with the sales process.
3. Who will be involved in the decision making process?
You have to know all of the people that will be involved in the process. You want to make sure you address each of the needs of everyone that will play a role in the decision.
4. What is your budget?
Understanding your prospect’s budget allows you to determine the proper solution. In some cases it tells you even if you have a valid prospect. You have to build rapport, creditability, and trust to get the answer to this question.
As I mentioned, the four questions are just a part of the many questions you will ask during the discovery phase. Remember that the discovery phase is where you should be investing the majority of your time in the sales process. If you do great job of discovery, your prospect will know that you understand what they need. You will have more confidence in your solution because you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is the best solution.