There’s an art to the MSP discovery sales process. You need to use the right approach. Talk to the right people and ask the right questions. For many MSP salespeople, it’s the last part of this equation that can prove the trickiest – yet getting it wrong can completely derail your chances of clinching the deal.

CharTec’s Sales Director, Nick Points, has a tip on how you can get the information you need to close the deal. When conducting discoveries, he instructs his sales team to behave like reporters, not salespeople. This technique is an excellent framing device as it keeps you asking the questions. When they’re out in the field interviewing, reporters aren’t there to talk about themselves and their media outlet’s strengths–just as you shouldn’t fall into the trap of talking about your organization and offering solutions during discovery. You’re there purely to gather intelligence. Your job is to uncover the facts and get all the details you can, then write the story (or, in our case, work on the presentation).

Nick suggests asking global questions reporters might use. When someone identifies a complaint, you want to tease out additional information using probing questions that keep the dialogue flowing, such as, “What do you mean it’s broken? What do you mean when you saynever”? To what extent does that affect XYZ? Can you explain that a little deeper? How much time does that cost you?”

With these types of questions, you’ll keep the other party talking. Your goal during discovery should be to have the other person talking 90 percent to 95 percent of the time. That way, when it’s your turn to say something, you can ask more questions. If you’re doing most of the talking in discovery, you’re doing it wrong.

It will become second nature with practice

You don’t need a background in journalism to excel at this. It’s something that you can easily practice in your daily life, and you’ll get good at it before you know it. When talking to your children, spouse, or family members, try asking these types of questions when they’re telling you about their day.

For example, at the dinner table, ask your kids what happened at school that day. Then ask a series of follow-up questions to glean more information. Here are some examples: After the student did that, what did your teacher do? What happened after that? Has this happened before? How often does it happen? How long did this go on?

To get good at this, you need to incorporate it into your daily life until it becomes second nature.

Be prepared for the MSP discovery sales process

It always helps to have a good starting point, so Points recommends having a handful of diagnostic questions ready to go for each role before you walk through the door. As the answers to these questions hit on business issues, grab your reporter hat and get them to elaborate.

Don’t forget that you’ll want to do this with as many people in the organization as possible. Many salespeople focus on leaders and getting them on board is undoubtedly a valuable part of the equation. But keep in mind that their problems will differ from those experienced by the frontline workers.

Approach your discovery to ensure each person in the organization will have their own selfish reasons for wanting your services. Talking to everyone can help you stand out from the crowd, as it shows a genuine interest in helping everyone succeed and a thorough work ethic.

Here’s a free resource on the Do’s and Don’ts of performing a Discovery

Conducting a discovery is one of the most important parts of the sales process, but do you know what you should and shouldn’t be doing? Take a look at this guide we have put together for you.

The Discovery Do’s and Don’ts

If you aren’t getting the deal, then you aren’t conducting an effective discovery. Come to Sales Lab and learn how to conduct an effective discovery so you get that signature on the dotted line next time.

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