Here’s a true story:  I was about 45 minutes into a Discovery call with a VP of sales, discussing his team’s demo skills.  As part my assessment of a team, I typically ask about their Discovery abilities.

Accordingly, I asked, “What percent of your team does a good job doing Discovery?”

He replied, “…About 20%…”

I thought about that a moment and then asked a bit differently, “Hmmm…  What percent of your team thinks they do a good job with Discovery, but you know they don’t?”

I was pleasantly surprised when he said, “…Hang on, let me close my door…!”

And then, a moment later, he continued with, “…About 80%!”

I realized several important things had happened:

  • He was sharing information with me that he did not want to share with his team. Wonderful!
  • But why was he willing to share this? Because I had earned his trust and generated sufficient credibility that he was willing to do so – and in the process, he revealed a much deeper problem.

Interestingly, later on he also shared that he had known that his team’s Discovery skills needed improvement, but it never made it high enough on his list to address – until he articulated the “About 80%” measurement to me.  He realized that this was a core problem, impacting everything downstream:  solution design, demos, POCs, proposals, discounting, and more.

The result was that he asked to expand the Great Demo! Workshops for his team to include substantial segments focused specifically on Discovery methodology – a 33% increase in the deliverables.

Not a bad outcome for asking that one additional question!

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