4 Ways To Make A Short 15-Minute Discovery Interaction Powerfully Effective

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Sales person shaking clients handFinally, the prospect agrees to meet with you.  However, he made it clear that you will have but 15 minutes for this fact-finding, discovery meeting.  The door is open.  You have an opportunity and you do not want to blow it.

Below are four effective tips to help you make the most of that short sales interaction and turn this suspect into a true prospect.

#1.  Have a Plan
You must have a clearly planned objective, agenda, process and direction for the meeting.  You need to know exactly what you are going to do and say before you walk in the door and try to stick to that focus.  Develop a checklist and run through it as an airplane pilot does before a takeoff.

#2.  Set the Follow Up Meeting
Part of your plan should include you setting the appointment or the agreement for the appointment, for the next meeting.  Do this early in your interaction.  Let the prospect know that if certain conditions present themselves during this meeting, then you will come back with a proposal or next step meeting.  If you cannot get back in the door, then the discovery meeting was for naught.  Too often sales people get through the discovery stage, only to end up chasing the prospect all over again, as if it were a new cold call.

Example:  “Ms Prospect, as I mentioned, I am just going to get some information today.  However, this short meeting will not be in vain because if it appears that there is a real problem and we can help, then I will put together a proposal and come next week.  Ok?”  

Then, set a solid follow-up appointment—while you are there!

#3. Uncover Unknown Problems
The most important objective in your fact-finding meeting is to uncover problems.  By uncover, I mean you need to expose problems that the prospect is having that they were not previously aware that they were having.  You have to unearth at least one major problem and put a price tag on it.

4. Do Not Sell
As you unearth problems and pull out information from the prospect, the temptation to talk about the solution to those problems will arise.  Resist this.  The prospect may even begin to ask questions about the solution to the problem, like pricing.  Be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking you have a “lay-down” sale and skipping important steps in the sales process.  Stay focused on the objective for the meeting.

Plan this process and stick to it.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

MTD Sales Training | Sales Blog | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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Originally published: 16 September, 2011