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Eureka!

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary©, the word eureka is used to express triumph on a discovery.   Ah “discovery”… how much has been said and written about sales rep discovery in particular?

Recently, I had my “eureka!” moment about sales rep discovery.  It was a bit more modest than their history of the word:

When people exclaim Eureka! they are reenacting a legendary event in the life of the Greek mathematician and inventor Archimedes. While wrestling with the problem of how to determine the purity of gold, he made the sudden realization that the buoyancy of an object placed in water is equal in magnitude to the weight of the water the object displaces. According to one popular version of the legend, he made his discovery at a public bathhouse, whereupon he leapt out of his bath, exclaimed “Heureka! Heureka!” (“I have found it!”), and ran home naked through the streets…

No, I didn’t run naked through the streets.

During one, 5-day span I finished reading the book GAP Selling © by Keenan; had breakfast with my friend and former colleague, Gary Givan; and attended a SMM Connect webinar about the lack of value selling.  Then… Eureka!  I discovered (in my own mind anyway) why sales professionals do such a poor job of discovery.

It’s not just my opinion.  During the SMM Connect webinar, research was cited from the article published all the way back on August 29, 2012 by the research firm Forrester, “Executive Buyer Insight Study: Defining the GAP between Buyers and Sellers” by Scott Santucci.  The conclusion?  Most business executives feel meeting with sales reps is a complete waste of time.  They don’t believe we are trying to understand their needs.

Kennan’s book and the SMM Connect webinar both offered intricate (aka overly complicated) training approaches to sales rep discovery.  I believe little of their training survives “game speed” when we’re in front of a prospect.

During breakfast with Gary Givan, we were “talking shop” about sales rep discovery.  If Gary is not the most skilled sales professional I have ever met, he’s in the top 5.   I discovered his perspective on what trainers and authors offer on sales rep discovery – they always over-complicate things because they have books or consulting engagements to sell.

Eureka – that’s it!  We’re making it too complicated.  That’s why I advocate a simplified, repeatable approach consisting of 4, count ‘em, 4 things:

  1. Listen to what the prospect is trying to accomplish.  It may sound like this, “Gary, the business problem we’re trying to solve is…”  They will tell us IF we will simply listen.
  2. Take good notes.  Customers speak in customer language.  Sales people may not understand right away. That’s OK.  If we are truly listening, the prospect will be patient with us; often help us to understand.  When we get to this point, they WANT us to understand.
  3. Ask clarifying and NEVER “qualifying” questions.  Prospects hate to be “qualified”.  You and I hate to be “qualified” by some sales schmo when we’re buying something!
  4. Don’t try to solve during the discovery meeting – no “pre-mature selling”.  Let’s offer them the business courtesy of giving their situation some thought.  They will respect our efforts to match their level of thought.  This earns respect (if not trust and a relationship).

That’s it.  Be patient and don’t sell during discovery.  Easy to say is some social media post, I know.   But be patient and keep things simple nonetheless.  The prospect might just find your approach refreshing.

GAP

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5 Comments


  1. GARY GIVAN
    Oct 23, 2019

    I’m honored to have your respect my friend! You are on the top of my list as well!


    • Gary
      Nov 27, 2019

      My pleasure Gary – the honor is mine! Thx, GAP


  2. Jim Anderson
    Oct 23, 2019

    Excellent reminder of these essential steps in just about any sales or problem solving arena. Thank you! Keep them coming Gary.


    • Gary
      Oct 29, 2019

      Thanks as always for reading and contributing Jim! After all, when I say I’ve learned from the best, you’re one of the best. Thx, GAP


    • Gary
      Nov 27, 2019

      Thanks as always Jim, for reading and affirming leading practices. Thx, GAP

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