“As a Certified Great Demo! Partner since 2016 (part of my Sales Team Transformation portfolio) working directly with Peter E. Cohan, some may say I’m biased in his favor, so obviously I’d give Doing Discovery 5 stars. Some have said this book mainly touts Discovery for Great Demo! (as if that is a bad thing.)
As Peter knows from our many conversations and the inputs I provided during the editing process, we don’t always agree on everything, so I offer this **objective review** for **everyone** who desires to improve their Discovery skills, as well as for the Great Demo! Practitioners and Alumni.
Doing Discovery stands on its own for anyone who wants to be “Unconsciously Competent” at Doing Discovery, as Peter exhorts on Page 31. Although many of us who have been around a while will recognize key concepts in the book, no one has put it all together in one place the way Peter has done. A masterful collection of all things Discovery.
Regardless of our experience, and especially if this is new to you, all of us need checklists and constant guidance and reminders such as those provided by the “7 Levels of Discovery” introduced on Page 34. Doing Discovery is an amazing collection of insights and advice from years of honing his craft. It is comprehensive and detailed, and that’s a good thing!
Some helpful advice for anyone to get the most out of Doing Discovery:
- Don’t try to read this cover to cover – it’s not meant to be. While every section and every page has invaluable advice, the Advanced Topics starting on Page 251 although written as if a continuous narrative (“and next”), should be accessed when and as needed; and not necessarily in the order presented.
- If you don’t know Great Demo! or aren’t a fan, simply take the Great Demo! references as helpful advice for **any** demo or technical proof. Great Demo! is not required to benefit greatly from Doing Discovery.
- Yes, the lists are long and there are many topics – you don’t have to read every item in every list. Peter is offering a huge menu (the “Discovery Café”) from which you can pick and choose those items which make sense. When was the last time you went to an overwhelmingly amazing buffet with a huge amount and variety of culinary delights and tried to consume everything that was offered all at once? Pro Tip: Besides sampling your favorite items, I recommend trying some of the items and topics that you might normally skip or think you don’t need – they could be good for you!
- Some of this is from a perspective of Discovery early in the Sales Process such as during qualification, and most of it is designed for later phases in the Sales Process when preparing to deliver technical proofs or even for implementing the solution. For example, in the Dinner Party Analogy on Page 43, the Party Planner’s questions are mostly focused on the fulfillment of the party request to make it successful, which is a very necessary type of Discovery to uncover needs and propose, show, and deliver the appropriate solution.
- As Peter mentioned, he doesn’t cover Sales Methodology which would delve into Discovery the Party Planner would have done to get the engagement to begin with. Yet you can absolutely apply the concepts in the book to the type of Discovery one might do in the early phases of the Sales Process including Qualification.
Additionally, for the Great Demo! Practitioners/Alumni:
I like to refer to Doing Discovery as the “Great Demo! Prequel” and it deserves as much dedicated effort and time to explore and learn as Great Demo! to reap the awesome benefits. As we know from the Great Demo! methodology, Discovery is the most important part of the Sales/Buying Process because it focuses on “the most valuable of all possible entities – the Customer!”.
I’ve found that it is better to understand the Great Demo! methodology first, and then learn Doing Discovery, because in Great Demo! fashion, you’d be “Doing the Last Thing First” – the ultimate goal is a Great Demo! Also because Great Demo! sets the stage for the deeper exploration that Doing Discovery provides. Again, not a hard-wired prerequisite, just a suggestion.
Discovery comprehensively covers how to gather the information necessary to prepare for **any** technical proof including presentations, demos, Proof of Concepts, RFx Responses, and Proposals. In the process, we’re building trust and deepening relationships with key decision-makers and evaluators. Doing Discovery will provide tremendous time savings – although this is counterintuitive because more time is spent up-front doing Discovery, however, the outcome will be a better aligned and more impactful result.
The Business and Personal Benefits include a shorter sales cycle, fewer and more efficient technical proofs, quicker decisions, fewer “status quo” decisions, better alignment with your stakeholders, happier clients, and more success for you! Your Mileage May Vary and that is very dependent on how much you explore. There are plenty of pathways and roads to cover to the “level and depth of your interest” and for the Sales Team and Client’s best possible mutual outcome.
Highly Recommend! Enjoy!”