What if you could book fewer, more meaningful meetings and, at the same time, build better rapport with customers, increase sales, and even improve your mental health? The answer is more discovery.
On this episode of the B2B Power Hour, Meghann Misiak, founder of the Path to the President’s Club, joins us to help you figure out if you’ve got a discovery problem.
If you’re making it to the negotiation stage but you find yourself constantly having to discount (or you’re just losing deals), those could be red flags. In order to avoid the dreaded “This just isn’t a priority for us right now” conversation, you need to embrace discovery and create space for better selling.
A good place to start is to focus less on pitching and more on asking questions. This can be intimidating — we know that sellers are comfortable pitching. But questions build rapport. They help you understand the customer’s goals, so you can better speak to why your product or service can help with those goals in later meetings.
Ask yourself: Do all of your meetings have purpose and clear expectations? You have to give yourself time to learn — and if that means removing a few meetings from your schedule, then so be it. Before you do have a meeting, set expectations for the customer. This builds your business case for discovery, and it also makes for a much better conversation.
Could more time spent on discovery affect your numbers? Probably. But if you really take the time to dig into those numbers, where they come from, and why they exist, you may find that you can clean those up, too. You’ll create space for better selling and, ultimately, a better life for yourself.
Get tactical tips from Meghann on not-so-small talk, how to do less pitching, and how to make the time for great work.
Featured on the B2B Power Hour: Meghann Misiak
What she does: Meghann is the founder of the Path to the President’s Club. She helps sales teams close more deals, increase revenue, and further develop their teams.
Key quote: “A lot of people think they need pricing training or negotiation training, but that is a discovery problem. Deals are won and lost in discovery.”
Where to find her: LinkedIn
B2B Power Plays
Top takeaways from this week’s conversation
💡 You need to uncover three things during discovery.
The first step to better discovery is knowing exactly what you’re trying to uncover in the sales process during discovery. Keep it simple and focus on these three things:
- Why change
- Why you
- Why now
Tactics are great. But if you don’t know the customer’s why, your conversations may be cut short. If you focus too much on the tactics, you don’t allow yourself the necessary flexibility to build a better relationship with the customer.
💬Ask more questions. Pitch less.
Small talk can have big rewards — you need to get comfortable asking questions. Yes, this may result in more meetings and delay pen to paper. But you’ll be rewarded when it actually does come time to pitch.
Ditch the pitch, and give yourself time to have real, quality conversations. Build trust by thinking about how you and the customer can work together to better sell this internally.
And don’t make it complicated. Start with, How was your weekend? How has your week been? What are you hoping to get out of this call?
📈Review the why behind your numbers.
It’s standard practice for sellers to have numbers goals. But it’s important to understand where those goals come from. Were they given to you by a manager for no particular reason? Are they the result of poor selling in the past?
If that’s the case, they may not be conducive to doing good work. You may have goals where you’re trying to hit a set amount of meetings per day, but what is that doing for you? What are the results of those?
You have to think more about where you want to be. Ten meetings a day? Or one to three? Take where you want to be (not your quota), and divide it by your current closing rate. Then reverse engineer your activities. Chances are, a little more time will open up for prospecting and discovery, resulting in better work.
Inflection points from the show
[2:18] Got a discovery problem?: You make it to the negotiation stage, but you find yourself going discount-crazy or losing deals. Many sellers think this is a result of poor pricing or negotiation training, but it’s actually a discovery problem.
[5:57] Ease vs. easy: Meghann finds a lot of salespeople looking for hacks and quick fixes, and they’re quick to give up. In practice, though, good discovery takes time.
[12:56] You don’t need to look busy: Nick says sellers get too caught up in trying to look busy and filling their schedules with meetings. His rule is five meaningful conversations a day — but the keyword is meaningful.
[14:13] Small talk isn’t small: Meghann shares a few questions she often uses to open up an introductory meeting. These questions help her to build rapport and understand the customer’s goals.
[20:59] Cool it with the pitching: Pitching is a seller’s comfort zone. But you need to be asking more questions instead. Don’t worry about the time — if more discovery is needed, so be it.
[26:54] Great expectations: Nick and Meghann share the importance of setting clear expectations before the first call. This not only sets you up for a better conversation but also helps you build a business case for more time for discovery.
[33:31] Create space for better selling: Meghann practices what she calls healthy hustle: taking time to learn, being okay with failure, and having a life outside of work. (Trust us: Your sales and your body will appreciate it.)
[45:00] Rethink your numbers: Nick encourages sellers to look at the numbers and determine whether they’re giving you time to do good work. Clean up your closing rate, and eliminate a few meetings by doing better prospecting.
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