Sunday, June 30, 2013

How to Conduct a Sales Discovery Call

When a potential customer agrees to a discovery call or first meeting, it is paramount to maximize that time. Are your discovery calls launching a business relationship, or failing to connect? 

The best discovery calls build rapport, generate trust and help buyers make informed choices. The key to a perfect sales discovery is excellent preparation. Here are eight items to focus on:

1) Do Your Homework

Zero in on what sparked their willingness to speak with you, and review your lead tracking system for all related data. Spend ten minutes exploring their company website, community forums, and social media channels.
TIP: Research four names of people in your prospect's department on LinkedIn prior to your call.

2) Focus on Their Needs

Put the spotlight on your prospect’s issues and establish yourself as a valued resource to help them make the right decision when they’re ready to buy.
TIP: Let them do 80% of the talking. Favor listening over pitching.

3) Ask Upfront Questions about Buying Ability

Get to the bottom of timeframe to purchase and decision-making while steering around budget allocation questions. If they need it, they’ll find a way to pay for it.
TIP: Directly ask questions like, "When are you looking to have these improvements in place?"

4) Share 2-3 Benefit Statements

Make a direct impact with 2-3 benefit statements relevant to your prospect's pain points. Select specific topics based on what you've learned.
TIP: Think "how," instead of "what," in your delievery. List the steps in your process of working with clients to explain how your company helps customers.

5) Get Your Prospect to Elaborate

Enable dialogue, and avoid dominating with a presentation. Think two-way conversation, and ask, “why?” to learn the true meaning of their needs.
TIP: For every statement they make, ask three questions to expand on the topic.

6) Provide Solutions to Objections

Know the difference between an objection and a question that’s a desire to learn more. Clarify issues and illustrate how your product or service will address their concerns.
TIP: Regularly rehearse up to twenty possible objections and handling tactics. Anticipate possible objections prior to each discovery session.

7) Establish Understanding and Agreement

Restate details of your prospect's needs and understanding of how you help their business. Use notes jotted down during the call.
TIP: Outline expectations, outcomes and a timeframe for moving forward in a concise Letter of Understanding (LOU) as a follow up message to your prospect.

8) Measure Success! 

Create business metrics that allow measuring the time between sales stages. Generate customized pipeline reports based on discovery call criteria.
TIP: Add checkboxes in your account records to get more specific in filtering information in reports.