Veteran Sales Professionals have the tendency to want to impress their buyer with how much they know. They often take on the attitude of, “I’ve heard your situation a thousand times. I know exactly what you need, so shut up Mr. Buyer so I can tell you what you need to know.” When the Sales Professional cops this attitude, he will typically ask a few discovery questions, but then rush right into the solution, so eager to show the buyer what he knows that he does not take the time or want to expend the energy to learn about the buyer’s situation. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced this, myself, first-hand.
A few years after I started selling training and consulting services for OutSell, I knew our sales process inside and out. After several years of meeting with buyers week in and week out, I got to the point that, by the time I had shaken hands with them and conducted about five minutes of discovery, I was able to intuitively tell what that buyer wanted and needed. And at least 90% of the time I was right. It’s not rocket science. It was very tempting, especially when my patience was low, to abbreviate the Discovery step and questioning process in general and just tell the buyer what they needed. I would say to myself, “Well, this situation is a little different. The Discovery step does not apply,” and I would rationalize why I could skip a thorough Discovery. It seemed more efficient, because I could save about 30 minutes by not having to listen to what I had heard dozens of times before from other buyers.
The problem with doing this, as I began to find out, was that, although the questioning process was very familiar to me, the buyer was going through it for the first time. What the buyer is going through during the discovery process is as important, if not more so, than what I am learning. By truncating the discovery process, I was compromising the rapport, trust, and excitement developing between me and the buyer, and in the end I was diminishing my effectiveness. Efficiency can get in the way of effectiveness, and this is a trap that many experienced Sales Professionals fall into.