How to Sell Solutions During the Discovery Phase


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“What is the best way to present solutions to customers when in the discovery phase?” This was a question asked of me recently and my answer might surprise you. I did not respond with methodologies, of which there are plenty, but actually recommend leveraging the discovery phase itself. So how do you go about it?

The discovery phase is critical to building a solution that articulates a match between your solution and the client’s vision. As part of this phase, there are specific steps that will confirm the solution is the correct one.

Step 1: A critical step that is often missed in this process is a communication that outlines the Critical Business Issue (CBI) raised by the client paired with an explanation of your potential solution that has been implemented with success elsewhere. In this email, you should summarize what you know about the business problem and, at a high level, an overview of the solution.

Step 2: Once you have articulated this vision and confirmed its accuracy, you can move on to the next step: the Sequence of Events document. If the client responds with negative feedback or worse – they have a different vendor solution – your job has become infinitely more difficult because you must now re-engineer their vision.

When delivering the proposed solution to clients, I always offer 3 options that will (hopefully) lead to closure:

Offer 1.  Do Nothing. This is one you want to discount completely (i.e. Mr. Customer, the first option is to do nothing and continue as you are today.) Since you have gone down the path, doing nothing is clearly not the best choice.

Offer 2.  Middle of the road. While this isn’t the full solution you want to sell, do not rule it out as it may be the best deal you can get.

Offer 3.  This is the desired and best solution for the client and for you but you must provide the client with a clear picture of the ROI they will receive related to the CBI which is far and away the better value.

Once you have clearly articulated this information to your client, your understanding of their problem and your confidence in delivering the best solution will be evident. It will then be much easier for you to use the stories and reference selling techniques to handle any late objections. In effect, your prospect has given you all the information you need in order to build the right solution, establish credibility and cement your relationship.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tim Haller
Tim Haller has over 25 years of sales and sales management experience. He has delivered training and consulting to Fortune 100 clients across a variety of industries, including technology, business services, travel/leisure and biotechnology. Tim has trained hundreds of sales professionals to close business through the use of effective sales prospecting, negotiation, and closing techniques.


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