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How to Conduct Discovery Meetings That Will Help You Win More Clients - Part 1

Updated: Feb 18

Hello friends👋🏼


You finally got that meeting booked!

Or you had an inbound sales lead from your webinar. Yass!!


In B2B sales, we call this a discovery call or meeting.


Discovery meetings happen because you or your prospect/clients initiated a discussion.


Discovery meetings are essential to any business relationship, as they allow you to get to know your clients and their needs. This will help you provide them with the best service or product.


There are five key defining moments in the sales process that we must decide with our clients/prospects.


  1. Initiate: Should we be talking?

  2. Qualify: Should we keep on talking?

  3. Validate: Are we on the same page?

  4. Strategise: How will we do this?

  5. Proposal: Should we do this together?


The Importance of Client Discovery Meetings in the Sales Process


80% of lost sales opportunities result from a lack of an effective sales strategy and process.


The discovery meeting is the start of the sales process.


Not only do they allow you to understand their needs, but they also help build trust and rapport. This is your first step to building that connection with your client. Clients who feel you genuinely care about their success will be open to sharing important information.


It allows you to:

  • Prioritise your focus

  • Have a high percentage of win

  • Highlights risk early in the sales cycle

  • Focuses your resources on the best opportunities

  • Provides insights on the capability to win and what strategy to implement

What Should a Client Discovery Meeting Include?

A successful client discovery meeting should cover the following key elements:


Before the meeting


Preparation


Develop a comprehensive understanding of the company and the individuals you will be meeting with, and prepare sales materials tailored to your client’s needs and interests.


Next, create a brief business case assumption. Remember, this is your thinking, not your client. We will discuss later on how to validate assumptions. For now, this is all your hypothesis.


There are three parts to this:

  • Your client’s situation

  • Your solution

  • Reasons why they should work with you and apply your solution

Check out the Account Customer Profile Template to help build your client’s situation and business hypothesis. Account Customer Profile



During the meeting


1.Introduction


Start the meeting with a quick introduction. When giving an introduction in client discovery meetings, it’s important to keep it concise and focused. I love how Wes Kao reminds us of cutting out all the crap. I almost lost a client because my ex-boss kept talking about himself and giving a detailed career history during our meeting!


  • Connect Personally.

  • Introduce yourself clearly and confidently.

Remember that the introduction is just the beginning of the meeting. Avoid going into too much detail or overwhelming the client with unnecessary information.



  • Create curiosity or interest.


Research and prepare highly relevant business case hypotheses based on an in-depth knowledge of the company and your industry.


For example, you provide cyber security services for a logistics company, and you have read in your prospect’s annual report that these are one of their key initiatives.


Share industry trends and developments on this topic with your client.


  • Transition to Inquiry.

Instead of sharing a PowerPoint slide and presenting your company capability, etc.. start with setting the goal of meeting and agreeing on what would be a successful meeting for your prospects.


If they let you lead the meeting, you can start with:


“Thank you for meeting with us. We wanted to meet with you to explore a potential revenue growth (or revenue recovery, depending on your research and account profiling) opportunity and work together to identify strategies that will benefit your business (or you can mention a specific project you already know based on your research).

After covering this topic, please let us know if there is something important to you that we can pursue. If there is, please inform us if you would like our assistance. Does that align with your goals for our meeting?”


But if the client asked for the meeting, they would probably take the lead and present a solution they wanted.


The only warning here is to avoid getting too excited and doing a sales pitch.


How to avoid pitching

  • Listen

  • Use Empathy Statements

  • Redirect Questions


If your client presents a solution and says, here is the solution I am thinking of, please give us a proposal next week.


Don’t rush and write that proposal.


Responding to a solution without understanding the problem is a problem!

Sometimes our clients propose solutions that do not address the real issue or the outcomes that they want.


Also, they might already be working with another vendor who supplied the solution, which is important to know.


First, listen.


Second, apply an EQ statement.

Imagine your client says,

We need a company-wide inventory system, and looking at our options, please submit a proposal with all the features and add the pricing, too.

Sounds familiar? When you hear this... slow down. And initiate a dialogue.


You can either use a PROBLEM QUESTION or a RESULTS Question.

  • Problem Question

Great, I love presenting our solutions and talking about our capabilities. For me to focus on those relevant to your situation, what are the most important business issues you are trying to address this year?

or

Thank you for this opportunity, before rushing straight to the proposal, what kinds of business problems are you experiencing?

  • Results

I am happy to provide a proposal before I jump into details. Do you mind me asking what business results you hope we can help you achieve?

or

Let’s say we are able to provide you with the perfect solutions; what would allow you to do as a business that you can’t do today?

These are just samples. You can apply them based on your business and expertise.


2. Needs Assessment:


Find out your client’s needs and how you can help meet those needs.

Here is an outline of the needs assessment. We will deep dive into part 2 next week with real use case examples you can apply in sales.


2. 1 Opportunity


1.Don’t Pitch.

2.Get out all the pain/results.

  • Encourage the client to talk all about their issues and concerns.

  • Acknowledge and show empathy.

  • Summarise

  • Validate and confirm

3.Prioritise the list of pain/results.

  • Once you have summarised, proceed to prioritising issues.

  • Or getting the top one or two.

4.Gather evidence and impact.

  • How do we know it is a problem?

  • What is there too much or too little?

  • Monetise the client’s issues.

5.Explore context and constraints.

  • If it is a new problem, what can prevent a successful implementation?

  • If it’s an old problem, what has stopped them from changing or addressing it?


💡TIP: These are the top two simple questions that reveal a lot of client information.

  • Tell me more.

  • Is there anything else?


2.2 Resources


Money conversation starts in the discovery phase.


The aim is to understand if it is a real opportunity, which means the clients have people, time and money allocated to the opportunity or project.


So start with discussing expectations for both you and your client.

  • Time - Is this urgent or for next year?

  • Money - Understand your client’s budget to ensure your products and services align with their financial capabilities.

  • People - Who is the lead person or team? Why will you write one if no one can read and decide on your proposal?


2.3 Decision-making


Understanding your client's decision-making process before submitting proposals is important to avoid any potential time wastage.

The 5 Questions Decision Process Framework helps understand the client’s decision-making process.

It is important not to present a proposal without understanding the decision-making process. Doing so may result in a mismatch between your proposal and the client’s needs or expectations.

And always have micro-commitments in every step of the sales process.


How can the 5 Questions Decision Process Framework help you?

  • Gain insights into the steps, key decisions, timing, individuals involved, and decision-making methods.

  • Presenting a proposal without understanding the decision-making process can lead to a mismatch between the proposal and the client’s needs.

  • Understanding the decision-making process helps navigate obstacles and address concerns.

  • Engaging directly with decision-makers builds consensus and increases the chances of winning the client’s business.


2.4 Next steps


Clearly define the next steps after the meeting, including any follow-up actions or meetings.

After the meeting

Send an email summarising all the key points and next steps. Book the next meeting by sending a calendar invite.

Stay in touch with your client and consistently get micro-commitments on your progress.


This is how successful salespeople sell.


They don't begin with sales. Instead, they avoid pitching features and minimise the time spent talking, pitching, or demonstrating their product.


They focus on building a smart business case through preparation, intelligent discovery, and collaboration.


I hope you found this week’s lesson helpful.


Update on Sales Maturity Assessment



🎉🥂Finally, I have completed the assessment and working on the Visual Mental Model. We are looking at a January 16 release, and I can’t wait to share this with you.

I’ll keep you posted.


See you next week! Next week will be my last newsletter for 2023. I’ll save the holiday wishes next week.


Thank you for being here. 💜

Ren Saguil

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