How Does Your CUSTOMER Know When You’ve Done Enough Discovery?

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Discovery is done not just for your sake as the vendor, but (even more importantly) for your customer to feel comfortable about your proposed solution.  So, how do you know when you’ve done enough Discovery for your customer’s sake?
For a medical doctor, it is when you have enough information to confidently make a diagnosis to be able to offer a prescription or procedure – and that the patient feels you have gathered enough information to make an accurate diagnosis. 
Consider the following scenario…
You’ve been sick for the past 6 days with what you believe is the flu, since a pile of people from your office have also had it, but you aren’t getting better – and you are beginning to get worried.  You visit Doctor #1 in Hospital #1.  Doctor #1 joins you in the examining room and says, “What’s seems to be the trouble?”
You respond, “I think I have the flu…”
Doctor #1 says, “Yes, it’s been going around – everyone has it.  I’m writing you a prescription for a powerful new medicine call FluBGone.  Get the prescription filled, start taking the pills, and you should feel better in a couple of days…”
Two questions: 
– How did you feel about that interaction?
– How likely are you to get those pills and start taking them?
Most people respond:
– I was not comfortable with the interaction and
– I would not take those pills…
Why?  Because Doctor #1 didn’t ask me any questions…
Unconvinced of Doctor #1, you travel across town to Hospital #2 and see Doctor #2.  As before, Doctor #2 joins you in the examining room and says, “What’s seems to be the trouble?”
Once again, you respond, “I think I have the flu…”
Doctor #2, however, begins to ask questions:
“How long have you had it?  Are you running a temperature?  How high, how long?  Any sweats?  Nausea?  Headache?  Swollen glands…?”  This goes on for 10 minutes (10 doctor-minutes is a long time!), after which Doctor #2 says, “It does sound like the flu, but there are a few things that are a bit anomalous – I’d like to run a blood panel just to make sure nothing else is going on…” 
Later that day Doctor #2 gets the results of the blood panel, contacts you and says, “Yes, it’s the flu.  I’m prescribing FluBGone for you – you should feel better in two days from when you start taking the pills…”
Same two questions as before:
– How did you feel about that interaction?
– How likely are you to get those pills and start taking them?
Most people respond:
– I was comfortable with the interaction and
– I wouldtake those pills…
Why?  Because Doctor #2 asked enough questions and did enough Discovery for me to feel comfortable with his diagnosis and his prescription…  Interestingly, both doctors offered the same prescription – but Doctor #2 made us feel comfortable because of the questions that he asked.

The same principles are true in sales and presales:  We need to ask enough questions for ourselves to be able to propose a solution – and for our customer to feel comfortable that we have gathered enough information to make an accurate diagnosis of the customer’s situation and thereby to be able to propose a solution based on that diagnosis.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peter Cohan
Have you ever seen a bad software demonstration? Peter Cohan is the founder and principal of Great Demo!, focused on helping software organizations improve the success rates of their demos. He authored Great Demo! - how to prepare and deliver surprisingly compelling software demonstrations. Peter has experience as an individual contributor, manager and senior management in marketing, sales, and business development. He has also been, and continues to be, a customer.

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