Too many of us suck at discovery. That’s my conclusion from a couple decades of observing and participating in sales conversations.

We often see reps asking high-level questions about goals and priorities. Questions like: “What are your main objectives for this year?” or “What challenges are you currently facing?” 

What if the prospect answers: 

“Well, our snack selection has really gone down hill.”


“I don’t like the cut of Bob’s jib.”

Unless you are representing craft services or jib optimization, you are wasting your time, and more importantly, your prospects’ time. 

This is shallow discovery.

Good discovery is guided. It’s personalized and guides the buyer to very specific areas where your products or services can help them. It requires several levels of questions that help you and your buyer:

  • Identify specific goals
  • The gaps in their current state that are preventing better, faster, cheaper goal achievement
  • The impact or value of addressing the gaps to get to a better future state

Here’s another thing – guided discovery quickly allows you and your prospect to qualify in, or out, of moving forward and the level of urgency to do so. 

What is Personalized Discovery?

It’s simultaneously about being precise and really exploring the issues they have. I’ll give you an example of personalized discovery questions for Winalytics:

Goal: What are your top funnel performance KPIs for 2H?

Gap: From a process and people perspective, what do you believe are the greatest risks to achieving those KPIs?

Follow on: Tell me more about that… What have you tried? What’s worked? What hasn’t worked? Lessons learned? What would you like to do but haven’t yet? Why?

Impact: If we are able to help you eliminate or mitigate those risks, what would that look like? What are the metrics that you would be monitoring that would be evidence of progress? Who else in your org would be interested or excited about this?

Guided and personalized discovery takes the guesswork out of acquiring new customers and upselling existing ones. It allows buyers to tell you exactly what they care about most and what will motivate them to invest in your stuff. 

It also builds stronger relationships. It gives you credibility. You are more likely to position yourself as the much coveted and gold standard “trusted advisor.” 

There’s a million things competing for the attention and investment of your potential buyers. The credibility we earn through executing guided and personalized discovery will set you apart from your competitors, both those competing for wallet share and those competing for their time and attention. 

What does your ‘go-to’ guided and personalized discovery sound like? Let us know in the comments.