Why Many Discovery Calls Go Wrong (And the Vendor Doesn’t Realize It!) – Part 1

What’s the tangible difference between a conversation and an inquisition? Give and take. It’s the give portion that’s missing from so many discovery conversations!

Many vendors are taught to establish rapport early in a discovery call. And many vendors do so, for example, by noting something in view in the prospect’s Zoom/Teams window – a photo, a trophy, a piece of equipment, etc. – and calling out their shared interests. That’s a good start.

However, what very often follows is a list of questions fired from the vendor at the prospect that grow more and more uncomfortable as the call progresses. The results are:

  • The vendor terminates the discussion early, before uncovering much more than
    “pain” and some environment/tech stack information;
  • The vendor misses the opportunity to explore pain more deeply, investigate impact, uncover tangible value, and to reengineer and build vision (with a bias towards the vendor’s unique capabilities);
  • The prospect perceives the call as a painful experience – an inquisition – with no value returned to them.

What’s missing?

The give portion of the discussion: That’s what makes a discovery call a comfortable conversation, where both parties feel that there was significant value gained. How do you achieve this?

Through three approaches:

  1. “About You”: an initial dialogue about the prospect’s background and history, to lubricate the conversation, and
  2. The use of Quid Pro Quo: offering ideas, tips, experiences, and similar responses that give the prospect valuable information, guidelines, and comparisons. These can be simple comments, such as “You are not alone”, or rich Informal Success Stories that provide a give while building or reengineering vision.
  3. Vision Generation Demos: an opportunity to satisfy prospects’ desire to “just see a demo” and get a sense of what’s possible, and open the door for deeper discovery.

Learn more about these three extremely valuable elements of discovery in the new book, Doing Discovery or (even better) learn how to apply these skills in a Great Demo! Doing Discovery Workshop.

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