“Why” Questions – Uncovering the Drivers in Discovery


Share on LinkedIn

“We need a new system…” says the customer. “Great!” says the sales person, “We’ve got several possibilities for you…!” And the discussion then proceeds to explore lists of features and functions, needs and use cases. This is all wonderful, but what’s missing?

“Why do you need a new system?” is a key question to ask, when appropriate. The answer to this question may change the entire dynamic of the Discovery discussion and the resulting sales process.

For example, if the customer responds, “Well, we’ve been interested in a new system for some time…,” it may suggest that the customer is not really serious and that solving the problems inherent in the old system is not sufficiently important to change – it is not a Critical Business Issue. This sales opportunity is a good candidate for a “no decision” outcome.

On the other hand, if the customer responds, “Well, the COO has mandated implementing a new system to drive down costs and she wants it in place before we complete an upcoming acquisition…,” then you have identified a Critical Business Issue (“reduce costs”) and a Critical Event (before the acquisition takes place). This sales opportunity is much more likely to end with a completed order.

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.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here