The third step of our sales process is often the most tedious. Discover—also referred to in other sales process steps as “define,” assessment,” or “needs,” all share the same goal of meeting with a prospect or client to uncover their desired business results.
The key part of this stage is understanding each prospect's challenges and needs and establishing how your product or service can help. We find that sellers rush through this step, but by taking their time in the Discover phase of the sales process, they will actually accelerate the sales cycle and increase their odds of closing the deal.
Overlooked Points When Determining Needs in Sales
Your seller identified the best prospect, connected with the right person, and now it’s time to approach the next phase of the sales process—Discover. In this section of the Sales Accelerator series, sellers learn key concept such as how to:
- Prepare themselves and the prospect
- Get prospects to let their guard down and open up
- The art of asking questions
- Uncover desired business results with the 4As Needs Analysis
While this discovery “meeting” has always had the flexibility to be conducted in-person or online with a shared screen, the modern day discover meeting is going to look very different for many sellers. Many of the discovery meetings that will take place moving forward are going to be done remotely, and knowing how to do this effectively will help speed up the sales process and win more deals.
First Impressions Matter
While it’s important to prepare yourself for the discovery meeting, you also want to prepare the prospect. This is one thing that salespeople often overlook prior to a meeting. Most prospects are going to expect you to come in and tell them why they need to buy your product or service. It’s up to you to go out of your way to be sure they know you are different, and you’re not going to do that.
Needs Analysis Meeting in the Sales Process
Discover is often called a “needs analysis meeting.” Needs are still important, but what you want to discover is desired business results. The best way to do that is to lead with more insights, master the art of asking questions, and think like the owner.
“What you uncover during the Discover phase will be essential in order for you to develop the right solutions to help your client achieve their desired business results,” explains Senior Coach Alysa Hinshaw. “Make the most of the Discovery meeting by doing research prior to the meeting and making sure you know exactly what you hope to cover so that you can contract these expectations at the start of the meeting in order to get the most out of your time together.”
Dean Moothart, Director of Client Solutions adds, “Resist the urge to start selling and positioning your solution the first time you uncover a need you think you can meet. Stay curious and keep digging. Your best questions are usually your follow-up questions. Don’t assume you understand what the prospect is telling you. Challenge the prospect to explain themselves and tell you more.”
Stop and Summarize
We have found that an excellent way to discover the desired business results is with a 4As Needs Analysis process. Ask your salespeople: What is yours? Are you using it? If they stall here, odds are they didn’t take good notes and only know what they want to sell, not what they want to accomplish.
Kurt Sima, VP/Senior Consultant, gives great advice when he says, “A new twist on this proven process is conducting a 4A needs analysis discovery meeting virtually via technology like Zoom or GoToMeeting. Savvy sellers have learned that this method delivers the same result and saves time, and in some cases, travel expenses.”
As a final piece of advice, Senior Consultant Trey Morris includes, “Stop and Summarize! This is a step in the Discover phase that often gets missed. This is the perfect time to take a timeout and summarize everything that you've discussed with your prospect to make sure that you are on the same page. This is also the point where you can get your prospect to prioritize these needs to find out which one is the most important."
Stay tuned as we continue our Coaching the Sales Process series and gather tips from our experts on things you don’t want your salespeople to overlook when going through the Sales Accelerator sales process.