On a discovery call, if you’ve done more talking than the prospect, it wasn’t really a good one.
You’ve probably heard the usual anecdotes about having two ears and one mouth so use them in that proportion. It’s an old one but it’s a good one and you’d be surprised how often we still fall foul of it... myself included.
When on a discovery call, checking your ego at the door and simply just listening is incredibly empowering, both for you and whoever you’re meeting with.The less you talk, the more you will feel in control. If you’re 20 minutes in to a monologue about something, barely taking a breath let alone a question from the audience, how can you possibly be sure you’re on the right track?Humility, empathy and listening are key skills to develop as an SC or AE along with the ability to use silence and pauses as tools to control dialogue and its outcome.Indeed, as someone more introverted, being in control by listening comes much more naturally to me than trying to dominate and drive a conversation through words alone.
The key to great discovery is the credible, deep and inquisitive questions you can ask your prospect. You can still display your knowledge and start to earn trusted advisor status with the questions you ask and the way you listen and respond.
Some tips for more compelling discovery calls:
- Build on the pain you hear about with continually probing questions. Don’t move on after the first answer on a pain point.
- Dive deep on cultural or people-based challenges. Metrics get the deal done, but humanizing your discovery will foster a deeper emotional and empathy centered relationship.
- Build the mystery and intrigue to keep your prospect engaged. Keep making them think “This person really knows their stuff, I’m intrigued to know if they can solve my issues”. Don't start solving after the first question.
- Don’t be like all the others – everyone else will be trying to build the business case from minute one. That is important but go after cultural and personal impact first. A question like ‘what would it mean to your staff if you solved this problem’ will show a deeper level of empathy than ‘How many hours do your staff spend on this problem’.
Demonstrate your knowledge through your questions and humanized approach to set yourself up for success.
Matt Finch is the Vice President, Global Solutions Consulting at Mavenlink. He's passionate about SaaS technology, leadership, and sales excellence has enabled him to successfully build award-winning sales, pre-sales, consulting and enablement organizations across the world.
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