In the world of sales, creating value with clients is paramount to success. To achieve this, sales professionals must embark on a journey of discovery, understanding the client’s needs, objectives, and challenges. This process begins with the creation of a “Discovery Map.” In this blog post, we’ll explore the significance of building a Discovery Map when prospecting a new client and during opportunity development with a new sales customer. We’ll delve into the essential components of a Discovery Map, from identifying key players to addressing specific challenges, to help you navigate the path to successful client relationships.

Identifying Key Players and Their Primary Business Objectives

The first step in creating a Discovery Map is to identify the key players within the prospective client’s organization. These individuals wield influence and decision-making power. Equally important is understanding their primary business objectives. What are the core goals and aspirations that drive the organization forward? By pinpointing these objectives, sales professionals can tailor their approach to align with the client’s strategic direction.

Unearthing Challenges Related to Primary Business Objectives

Once you’ve identified the key players and their primary business objectives, it’s time to dig deeper and uncover the challenges that stand in their way. Every organization faces hurdles on the path to achieving its goals. By understanding these challenges, you position yourself as a valuable partner in helping the client overcome obstacles and reach their objectives.

Asking Open, Direct, and Impactful Questions

Effective discovery hinges on the ability to ask the right questions. Sales professionals should ask open, direct, and impactful questions that delve into the heart of the client’s challenges. Open-ended questions invite clients to share their thoughts and concerns openly, while direct questions help clarify issues. Impactful questions encourage clients to reflect on the consequences of unresolved challenges and the benefits of finding solutions.

For example:

  • Open-ended: “Can you describe the current state of your operations?”
  • Direct: “What are the specific pain points your team is facing?”
  • Impactful: “How do these challenges affect your bottom line and overall business objectives?”

Linking Capabilities to Address Challenges

Once you have a clear understanding of the client’s challenges, it’s time to present how your company’s capabilities can address these issues. Tailor your solutions to the client’s unique needs and objectives. Demonstrating how your products or services can provide tangible value and help them overcome their challenges is a pivotal step in building trust and credibility.

Building a Discovery Map is not just a routine step in the sales process; it’s a strategic approach that can create value for the customer and pave the way for long-lasting and mutually beneficial client relationships. By identifying key players, understanding primary business objectives, uncovering challenges, asking the right questions, and presenting tailored solutions, sales professionals can position themselves as trusted advisors who are genuinely invested in their clients’ success.

In the competitive world of sales, where creating value matter more than ever, a well-crafted Discovery Map can be the compass that guides you toward fruitful partnerships and prosperous opportunities. So, embrace the power of discovery, and watch your sales efforts lead to meaningful and enduring client connections.

Navigating your way through the tunnels of the oldest underground railroad in the world, the London Underground, you can’t miss the bright red and blue warnings signs, “Mind the Gap”.  Because some platforms are curved, and the trains that use them are straight, an unsafe gap is created when a train stops at a curved platform.  Visual warnings are also stenciled along the edges of the platforms and auditory warnings can be heard in that unmistakable English accent, warning, “Please, Mind the Gap”, advising passengers of the risk of being caught unaware and the possibility of sustaining injury by stepping into the gap.

Identifying the Prospect’s Gap

In early opportunity development, the “prospect’s gap” is exposed when they share a business objective, goal, or problem with us, which often begins a sales cycle.  The gap is the space between where the future customer is now, and the place they want or need to be.  Unfortunately, as we embark on sales opportunities day after day, we can easily become complacent about taking the time to really understand our prospect’s gap. Once they share a goal or need, our first inclination is to grab their hand and quickly leap across the gap, embarking on the “presentation train” where we can show them just how our product or service will meet their objective.  The danger lies in the fact that we may not realize we’re are on the wrong train, until the end of the line when the “sale” comes to an abrupt stop.  Time and money are often wasted, chasing sales which are out of alignment with what the prospect really wanted or needed in the first place.  Slow down, Casey Jr.!

Minding the Gap” with a Discovery Map

 Ignoring the warning to “mind” your prospect’s gap could be reducing your chances of a successful arrival at your desired destination; closing the business.  The word “mind” suggests, “to watch or give care to”.  Similar to a map that can guide you through the London Underground, we have developed a tool to help you “mind the prospect’s gap”, called a Discovery Map.  Experienced reps can use it as a guide to avoid complacency as they dangerously become “experts on what the prospect needs” because “it worked for someone else” instead of taking the time to discover the prospects unique circumstances.   Inexperienced reps, who are just learning, to “watch or give care to” the gap, can use the tool as a discovery process to more thoroughly understand the prospect’s goals and objectives so that the presentation train they select is on the right track.
Closing the Gap: Clarity for the Path Forward

 When utilized correctly, the outcome of conversations held during gap discovery will also become the genesis for the plan to close the gap and build a path forward, commonly known as an implementation plan. If you have done a thorough job using the Discovery Map, and the prospect is then willing to work on an implementation plan ( on how to USE your product or service) with you before the deal is closed, you will be in the driver’s seat. Lack of  a willingness to do this tells you that there must be some items left to discuss in the prospect’s mind.

Let us help you develop a Discovery Map that you can hang up in your office as a reminder to “Mind the Gap” as you navigate a sale.  If it works in the expansive Underground in London, isn’t it worth an inquiry to Flannery Sales Systems to get you to your final destination successfully?