Sales 3.0 Series, Skill #1: Start every sales conversation with discovery, rediscovery, or confirmation on your buyer’s why. Why are they talking to you?

The sales profession is still recovering from the disaster of the Sales 2.0 period (2011 to 2019).  

Sellers were taught en masse to control and micro-manage the buyer journey.  

The outcome was a dramatic drop in sales performance (from 59% of sellers on quota in 2009 to 43% in 2019) and sales VP tenure (from an average of 36 months in 2009 to 24 months in 2019). 

High-quality sales discovery was one of the biggest casualties of Sales 2.0. New sales methodologies focused on sellers being in charge.

Sales discovery became perfunctory and shallow. It involved a series of polite questions that never got to the buyer’s why for considering a purchase.

The real purpose of discovery is not to ask questions. Questions are a tool.

The purpose of discovery is to guide your buyer to seeing a more successful future.

You will know your discovery has worked if you get your buyer to articulate a short success statement that captures their more successful future.

The success statement is your buyer’s why for purchasing. And, as we all know, during the sale, process and priorities change and new individuals enter the conversion.

So, you need to begin every sales conversation with discovery, rediscovery, or confirmation on your buyer’s success statement.

The easiest way to get a buyer success statement is to organize discovery at three levels:

1️⃣ Goal questions – Focus on your buyer’s top current goals or priorities. What is most important in their work right now?

2️⃣ Gap questions – Explore what barriers or challenges a buyer has that is blocking progress on their goals. What is not working?

3️⃣ Impact questions – Help your buyer see a more successful future by envisioning the specific value of closing the gaps and achieving their goals. What is that worth?

Think about it this way: Until you have a buyer success statement, your product doesn’t really matter at all. 

The crispness of your success statement tells you all you need to know about the buyer journey.  And, your success statement is the primary source of all sales and deal velocity.