Discover what the Customer values most and validate it

Author Carmen LarrumbideCarmen Larrumbide
Date December 1st, 2014
If you are a Salesperson probably one of your main worries is getting new opportunities and new customers. 
Today, I am going to share some Discovery Tactics in order to get what you need.

The process of discovery means to:

  • Understand the customer’s business problem.
  • Find the business owner and influencers and understand how they perceive value.
  • Engage in a collective problem finding and solving process.
Solutions have no inherent value
The reason we ask about problems and/or results is because solutions have no inherent value. They derive value from the problems they solve and/or the results they produce.
  • Problems (Current State): Problems are those existing or current issues that evoke pain and a desire to move away from something or situation.
  • Results (Future State): Results are those issues or future state you wish to achieve and represent gain and a desire to move toward something.
Why do anything?  Why now? Investigate – Collaborate  – Validate.

No Guessing! Don’t assume you and the prospect are using words in the same context. No guessing begins with a mutual understanding of the words we use. How mutual will that understanding be?.
The key question for “No Guessing” about a requested solution is: 
“What do you mean when you say __________?”.
Move to the underlying PROBLEMS: What kinds of problems have you been experiencing by not having_________?.
Move to the desired RESULTS: Let’s say you could put in a world-class ____. What would that allow to do that you can’t do today?.
Six step process for structuring the conversation: The Heart of Discovery.
  • Get a quick list of the KBRs/critical business issues.
  • Make sure the list is complete. Find out which issue is most important.
  • Elicit proof (evidence and tactical pain/gain).
  • Determine consequences (impact).
  • Summarize: Did I get it right? Did I leave anything out?.
  • Prioritize: Take each issue in order of importance.
Get started: So tell me about what you are trying to do?. 
  • What do you mean by…
  • What lets you know that…
  • How would you know that…
  • How would you judge that…
  • What would you see, hear, or experience that..
  • Discovering Consequences.
  • What is it that makes ____ so important?.
  • How is it that ____ came to be so important?.
Hard (measurable) Evidence: 5 Golden Questions No evidence, no value.
  • What is it now?.
  • What would you like it to be?.
  • What is the value of the difference.
  • Over time? (2-3 years).
Qualify if you can’t Quantify.
Soft Evidence (how do you measure it?): Peel the Onion. How. What & Where.
Tactical pain/gain (proof) questions, these questions help us understand the problem or result from both a business and technical aspect.
  • What lets you know that this is a problem.
  • Where does that problem show up?.
  • What measures, if any, prove that is a problem?.
These questions help you see how important the issue is that you are discussing.
  • If you _____, what would that allow you to do?.
  • …what are the consequences?.
  • …where does that hurt your business?.
  • …how would that benefit the business?.
Context: Who else is Affected?. Who or what else is affected by this issue?. Some of the context issues include how our solution impacts the company’s:
  • Mission, Vision, Values.
  • Key Strategies, Internal and external pressures.
  • Political landscape.

Some good Context Questions include:

  • How do these issues align to the key strategies or initiatives of your organization?.
  • What has caused the need for (product/service) to come up at this particular time in the organization.
  • Just to make sure I understand the big picture, what’s going on in your organization that affects any action you take?.
Constraints: Why not?.
The impact of any solution is Big, Small, or Not agreed Upon. If the impact is Big what are the constraints: 
  • Current State: What has stopped the organization from successfully resolving these issues before now?.
  • Future State: What, if anything, might stop the organization from successfully resolving these issues in the future?.
There are two types of Constraints:
  • Good: things we can do that the customer cannot.
  • Bad: things that have stopped the customer in the past, which, if uncorrected, will stop them again. 
Take away the Solution if the Impact is small:
  • I could be wrong. It doesn’t sound like this is a substantial problem. Or…
  • Is it likely the organization will fund this when it could fund higher priority projects?.

Ask and Probe if the Impact is not agreed upon.

Structured Conversation:
  • Get a QUICK list.
  • Make sure it is COMPLETE.
  • Find out which is MOST IMPORTANT. 
  • Elicit PROOF.
  • Determine IMPACT.
  • Summarize:
    • Did I get that RIGHT?.
    • Did I leave anything OUT?.
  • Take the KBRs in order of priority.
“The most effective account managers and teams discover how their customers define value, then engage and execute accordingly”. 

Get in touch with us.

Fill out the contact and someone from our team will get in touch with you as soon as possible.