Bad customer discovery can lead to a false positive in B2B sales
Written by Jessy Leone
John Hill - B2B Sales Coach and an Author of 'Selling from Scratch: How to Sell More by Simply Being Human'.
Sales tip #1: Focus on customer discovery and check your ego at the door
Sales reps are all too familiar with the phrase “a bad customer discovery” or “lack of discovery”. It’s the number one reason deals don’t close, and it’s a frustrating obstacle to success.
Lidia Vijga: "What do you think prevents deals from closing and moving forward?"
John Hill: "A lack of discovery and ego."
There are many possible causes of lack of discovery, but the most common one is simply that the salesperson doesn’t know enough about the prospect’s business. They haven’t taken the time to understand the prospect’s pain points, goals, and challenges during customer discovery. As a result, they’re unable to put together a tailored solution that meets the prospect’s needs. In other cases, the salesperson may know enough about the prospect, but they haven’t been able to build trust or establish rapport. Without these essential ingredients, prospects will be reluctant to share information about their business.
B2B sales are all about building relationships. And, like any relationship, the foundation is trust. B2B salespeople need to build trust with their potential customers by demonstrating that they understand their business, their goals, and their challenges. This process of customer discovery is essential for closing deals and moving forward. When salespeople take the time to truly get to know their potential customers on a discovery call, they are more likely to identify opportunities and create solutions that meet their needs. As a result, both parties benefit from a stronger, more durable relationship. And that’s the kind of relationship that closes deals and creates lasting success.
Without an open conversation on a discovery call, it's impossible to understand the needs and motivations of your prospect.
And without that understanding, it’s impossible to build a rapport. Closing deals is all about moving forward together, but without discovery, that forward momentum is impossible. Asking the right questions on a discovery call is essential to uncovering new information and keeping the deal alive. B2B salespeople who don’t make discovery a priority are missing out on key opportunities for growth. If a salesperson is unable to uncover the need or pain point that their product solves, the deal is likely to stall. Similarly, if a sales rep is unable to identify the decision-maker or budget holder, they will have a difficult time moving the deal forward.
At its core, B2B sales is about two businesses working together to find a mutually beneficial solution. These deals often involve a lot of stakeholders, each with their own objectives and priorities. Salespeople need to be able to set aside their egos and work collaboratively with the other stakeholders in order to find a solution that meets everyone’s needs. This means being willing to listen to feedback on a discovery call, consider different options, and make concessions when necessary.
Read our article to learn how to build and maintain sales momentum in B2B sales.
When the ego is involved during customer discovery, salespeople are more likely to make assumptions about what the client wants and needs.
They’re also more likely to push for a sale before the client is ready. All of this can damage the relationship, and it can prevent deals from moving forward.
Sales reps who are too focused on themselves and their own interests are more likely to alienate potential clients and miss out on opportunities. Instead of coming across as confident and competent, they come across as arrogant and pushy. As a result, their chances of success are significantly diminished.
B2B buyers are looking for partners they can trust, and ego can be a major obstacle to building that trust. To be successful in B2B sales, it’s essential to check your ego at the door and focus on building genuine relationships with potential clients. It’s not always easy, but it’s essential for success in B2B sales. By keeping ego out of the equation, salespeople can build strong relationships with their clients and close more deals.
Sales tip #2: Make sure you understand how to identify a 'False Yes'
Lidia Vijga: "Can you teach me a sales slang that only salespeople would understand?"
John Hill: "A 'False No' is something that a lot of salespeople get and they are dealing with someone who just wants to be nice. Make sure you understand if it's a 'Real Yes' or a 'False Yes'."
B2B sales can be a challenge, and one of the biggest obstacles salespeople face is getting a false “no.” However, it’s important to be able to distinguish between a ‘True Yes’ and a ‘False Yes’. A ‘False Yes’ is when someone says they’re interested in your product or service, but they really aren’t. This happens very often during customer discovery. They might just be being polite, or they might not want to hurt your feelings. This can lead to a lot of confusion and frustration down the road.
It’s important to be able to differentiate between a ‘Real Yes’ and a ‘False Yes’. If you take a ‘False Yes’ to the bank, you’re living under a false assumption that the prospect is actually interested. This can lead to wasted time and resources chasing after a deal that’s never going to happen. Make sure you understand the true intentions of your prospect during customer discovery phase before getting too excited about a possible sale. Otherwise, you might just end up with a lot of false starts.
Either way, it’s important to be able to read people and understand when they’re really interested in what you’re selling. Otherwise, you could end up wasting a lot of time chasing leads that will never turn into actual sales.
How to tell the difference between a 'True Yes' and a 'False Positive' during customer discovery phase?
The best way to do this is to ask follow-up questions when doing customer discovery and really probe into what the other person is thinking. Pay attention to body language, tone of voice, and other non-verbal cues. If someone seems hesitant or uncomfortable, they probably aren’t interested in what you’re selling. However, if they seem excited and enthusiastic, then they’re more likely to be sincere. Trust your gut and ask follow-up questions if you’re unsure.
When someone says they’re interested in your product or service, but their body language says something different. They might fidget, or they might avert their gaze. They might avoid answering direct questions. If you’re getting a lot of ‘False Yeses’, it’s time to change your approach. The first step is to build rapport with your prospect. Try to find common ground, and make small talk at the customer discovery stage. Then, when you get down to business, pay close attention to their body language. If they’re giving you ‘False Yeses’, they’ll give themselves away.
With practice, you’ll be able to tell a genuine ‘Yes’ from a false one.
Watch our previous SALES RUSH episode with Elliot Olson.
Elliot Olson is a Sales Director at MarketSnare. MarketSnare is a local marketing automation platform that empowers marketers to efficiently scale local marketing programs across many locations through unique centralized tools and services designed for multi-location businesses.
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