You don’t have time to ask a prospect how you can help them. They expect you to know the answer before you even introduce yourself.
The Sales Discovery Call is a luxury many sales professionals don’t get to use. It’s an effective tool, because it helps you understand your prospect’s business. The typical anatomy of a discovery call includes:
- Why they’re talking with you
- Issue identification
- Who is involved in their decision making process
- What other options they are considering
But not all prospects are willing to give you the time—especially at the start of the sales process. They’re looking for answers and proof you can help them before they’ll invest time in you.
Instant search shapes buyer expectations
Buyers have been conditioned to expect information quickly. If Google can predict your search as you’re typing, then sales people should be able to predict the buyers’ needs too.
The expectation may not be reasonable or realistic, but it exists. The buyer is asking, “Why should I pay attention? What will you do for me?”
You’ve got to demonstrate that you understand your prospect, and can point out solutions to problems they may or may not have considered yet.
Lead with a hypothesis
Sidestep the Sales Discovery Call, and lead with a hypothesis.
A hypothesis has 3 parts:
- A question: Are you facing the following situation, or experiencing these symptoms?
- An example: A company like yours went through a similar situation.
- A solution: This is what we offer, and how we helped them solve the situation.
The hypothesis is a qualifying question. Are you facing this issue or situation? If so, I can help you solve it. Would you like to talk further?
Qualify if the problem exists first
Qualify if there’s a need for your services first. You don’t need a lengthy discovery call to determine if the need for your services exists.
Leading with a hypothesis helps to short circuit a convoluted discovery process, and gets right to the point:
Do you need me, yes or no? If yes, here’s what I can do. If no, please keep me in mind if you have a need for my expertise [insert your brand positioning and category here].
And don’t fear hearing ‘No.’ A well placed hypothesis will stick with your prospect, and they’ll call you first when the time is right.