Water Well Journal

June 2015

Water Well Journal

Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/515025

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Page 35 of 107

B eing well-informed about your prospect is simply the price of entry in today's competitive market. Going in without insights and a point of view is the equivalent of asking, "So, what do you guys do?" That may have worked back in the 1980s, but those days are long gone. There's no shortage of information available on people and companies today, but the real advantage lies in taking that information, formulating insights, and quantifying the impact your product or service can have on your buyer. After all, it's most likely your competition has access to the same information as you. So you'll need to dig a little deeper to gain a competitive edge. The best source of information and the greatest payoff comes from having a conversation with key people within your prospect's company. Smart sellers take the time to ask for a discovery call. It's a reasonable request to ask for input from people within your prospect's company who can shed light on their current situation. Don't be shy in asking. After all, gaining a better understanding of their needs allows you to provide a more accurate and precise recommendation . . . and get to the point quicker. If you're talking with a company, ask your prospect for the names of key people in the company so you can have a quick 20-minute call or two. Conducting a discovery call The key to a good discovery call is knowing what you want to discover . . . and leaving room for your prospect to surprise you. Designing your questions around the areas listed as follows will help you gain insight about a prospect's experi- ence, expectations, and preferences. The answers you receive will help you tailor your recommendations to fit their needs and expectations. Here are some of the areas you want to develop insightful questions around. ● Identify competition. Knowing who your competition is will help you under- stand what competitive features you need to highlight, but don't stop with just a list of names. Find out why the prospect has been using or is considering another vendor. Don't assume you know the answer either. Let the prospect tell you in their own words. After all, you're not competing against your competition as much as you are against your prospect's perception of your competition. Identifying current or prior allegiances or loyalties now can save you a load of heartache down the road. And by all means, don't forget the status quo! The path of least resistance is often the top competitor you must face. ● Define impact. Impact is key with today's buyers. It's critical you find out the extent of their current problem and how it is affecting their company. Try then to get the prospect to quantify this for you. What is the problem costing them in terms of lost opportunity or inefficiencies? This will help you address cost and value by having the metrics to back it up. ● Assess value. What's the value of solving their problem or embracing an opportunity? Getting an early read on your prospect's percep- tion of value will help you gauge their urgency to change and help you develop a sound value proposition for your prospect. Just like the impact of the problem, it's important to try and quantify the value of the solution. The prospect may be able to provide you with this informa- tion. For example, your business customer might say, "Solv- ing this problem would eliminate 10 hours of idle manpower hours a week." If you can't get the information from your prospect, look around for similar clients, case studies, or industry statistics to give you some direction and make your best educated guess. ● Create anticipation. A discovery call is not the time to make a full-court press! But you do want the prospect to get off the phone with a sense of anticipation about your next conversation—whether it's a formal presentation of your findings or a more informal discussion. Your making statements like "It sounds like you could re- ally use the extra time to focus on your new responsibilities if this were resolved quickly" can set expectations early. Aim for subtlety and be careful not to slip into a sales pitch. ● Build rapport. Asking questions isn't just about getting answers. You have a prospect on the phone. So why not use this valuable time to JULIE HANSEN ACT LIKE A SALES PRO DISCOVERY: TODAY'S SELLING DIFFERENTIATOR Your discovery call asks questions to find as much information as possible. waterwelljournal.com 34 June 2015 WWJ

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