The worst time to think about the things you’re going to talk about with a prospect is when you’re in a conversation with them.
To solve this problem, many sales teams create a list of discovery questions or call scripts that remind them of the things they need to know about a prospect or their company to make better recommendations.
Unfortunately, many of those scripts and discovery questions go unused. Why? It’s because our prospects’ world changes rapidly and so do their challenges. The discovery questions we learned in sales training or that were created months (or years) ago don’t reflect the world our prospects live in.
When we interviewed Douglas Billings, we learned that the best discovery questions are the ones that are relevant and that actually advance the sale. But how do we create great discovery questions and ensure the ones we’re using are getting us the result we want?
Because we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: Douglas advises that the questions salespeople ask come into play in every conversation, but should be revised as often as needed. Junior and senior salespeople are learning things in every sales conversation that could help other members of their team. To ensure discovery questions are up to date and relevant, salespeople should carve off a portion of every team meeting to review any insights or new discovery questions they innovated since the last meeting.
R – Repeatable: To regularly revise discovery questions in a repeatable way, salespeople should keep a series of questions nearby so they can quickly answer them after sales conversations. Douglas recommends keeping post-call questions short and to the point so they can be quickly answered and made available to sales leaders for compiling and revising the list of discovery questions.
I- Improvable: Static systems quickly become obsolete, even if the system is designed to revise existing processes! To improve the way we gather or revise our discovery questions, Douglas says we shouldn’t limit ourselves to just our sales calls. Courses, podcasts and even salespeople from different industries can all be great sources of new discovery questions that can be built into checklists and scripts.
M – Measurable: To measure the effectiveness of our discovery questions and how well we’re revising them, Douglas believes strongly in the power of creating a record of what questions were asked and what questions were answered. That can be in a CRM, a text message, a notebook or a spreadsheet. More important than where the notes are is that they are captured in a place the salesperson can reference before their next conversation with that prospect.