What are the best practices for conducting a successful discovery conversation? And how do those practices differ from having a successful cold call? On today’s Market Dominance Guys’ podcast, our hosts, Corey Frank and Chris Beall, share their insights into these two distinctly different types of sales conversations. They talk about tone, about call length, and about the practiced performance of a cold call, which has the goal of setting an appointment, versus the slower-paced, getting-to-know-you interchange of information, which has the goal of answering the question, “Does it make sense — to both parties — to proceed further?” Stay tuned to hear the advice and cautions of these two sales experts on today’s Market Dominance Guys’ episode, “Doing Discovery the Right Way.”
Full episode transcript below:
Welcome to another session with the Market Dominance Guys, a program exploring all the high stakes speed bumps and off ramps of driving to the top of your market. With our host, Chris Beall from ConnectAndSell and Corey Frank from Branch 49.
What are the best practices for conducting a successful discovery conversation? And how do those practices differ from having a successful cold call? On today's Market Dominance Guys Podcast, our host Corey Frank and Chris Beall share their insights into these two distinctly different types of sales conversations.
They talk about tone, about call length and about the practice performance of a cold call, which has the goal of setting an appointment versus the slower paced. Getting to know you interchange of information, which has the goal of answering the question, "Does it make sense to both parties, to proceed further?"
Stay tuned to hear the advice and cautions of these two sales experts on today's Market Dominance Guys episode, Doing Discovery the Right Way.
Chris Beall (01:11):
We do something cool here.
Corey Frank (01:13):
Well, you've always had a great tone and we've had many episodes talking about this, how does the tone in a cold call? Because we've talked about that with the surfboard, the surfer and the wave, with the screenplay and the performance. How does the tone differ? What are some of the best practices for that tone in a discovery, that you see different than a traditional cold call?
Chris Beall (01:37):
Well, for one it's softer. So the cold call is a relatively fast precision operation. In 30 seconds, you're going to go from fear to trust. You're going to go from trust to curiosity, curiosity to commitment. And hopefully when they attend the meeting, that's the next step, which is action, right? Well, that happens in 30 seconds.
A discovery call might be 15 minutes to 30 minutes, 15 minutes is what we always say on the calendar, you know a discovery call has gone well when it goes for 30 minutes. It's one of the reasons to set it short, because if it's going nowhere, well, time is valuable to everybody. If it's gone somewhere, who really puts 15 minutes on their calendar and then puts a meeting right after 15 minutes? So you have a little free buffer to express that this is going somewhere, let's explore further, right?
So in fact, that's a big threshold across it's like, "I see we've gone past 15 minutes, that's worth talking about it." They say, "Yes. You've gone a long way into the confessional. You're really talking about stuff then." So it's a slower kind of thing, I mean, I ask those first two questions, I have all the time in the world. That's my view of a discovery type call, I have all the time in the world. Whereas in a cold call, I don't have all the time in the world, it's a pretty clipped operation. On the cold call, you're managing the tone, kind of millisecond, mega millisecond, it's a practiced ballistic act. It has to be. It's a sincere performance but a performance done the less.
Discovery call is more kind of a dance, a slower dance, you might spend five or 10 minutes just getting into it. Now, some people don't have that personality and they're going to cut you off and say, "Okay, so what's this all about?" That's fine. They want to break into the confessional, like the shining knight and can come in with the ax, here's Johnny.
Corey Frank (03:41):
Chris Beall (03:42):
Whatever, that's okay, clearly you're not too apprehensive or maybe they're just being aggressive in order to cover their apprehension. But to me, the real key to discovery calls is, curiosity takes time to be allowed to do its job, to be allowed to unfold. And it requires being in an emotional state where you can afford to be curious, because being curious is incredibly vulnerable.
When you were being curious, so what did I say about some cat, right? You're offering yourself up to see if you have another life, right? Because bad things could happen to curious people, so it's slower. And I like asking for help because it takes a while for somebody to decide to give you some help. And the help is, where are you in the face of our blue whirling planet? And then when everything goes great, how does your thing help that person? How does it change?
Corey Frank (04:36):
We have so many wraps in a lot of our clients, right? I'm sure in the clients that you work with as well. They like to just wing it, they like to just jump right into the questions, try to validate the banter as quickly as possible to get to that heralded POC and next steps. And they lose the romance and they lose all the authenticity that can come from that lack of resistance, that trust that you've built up, that it's a continuity from the cold call to the discovery.
And it sounds like, right, there's a lot of folks reps that don't understand if you have a BDR setting calls for you, when they show up, it's your responsibility to take that baton of trust and have it grow, have it foster. And what I hear you saying, Chris, or even acknowledge it, that there is some trust built up.
Chris Beall (05:33):
Corey Frank (05:33):
Don't water it down or piss it away in the first couple of minutes by, like you said, doing something stupid, like actually trying to sell them so overtly.
We'll be back in a moment after a quick break.
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And we're back with Corey and Chris.
Chris Beall (06:33):
Urgency is the enemy of a good discovery call. If you have urgency, I would compare it to two things, I don't know whether port's analogies or athletic analogies are all always kind of, don't they're not dangerous. But not everybody appreciates them but I'm going to use two of them.
They're two things that, one of which I do reasonably well, the other which I do reasonably poorly, is that they have very similar qualities to them and one is a golf swing and the other is skiing bumps. So in both cases, in a golf swing, you have to have good posture. You've got to have a lot of things that are in the right place. But you have to be very soft in two things at your grip and how your risks work. Otherwise, you can't release the club and the club wants to be released and it'll fight you pretty hard, if you grip it too tight and have tight wrists, right?
You have to be easy and patient on the golf swing, being quick is the number one reason that golf swings go awry and that's why golf is a hard sport. Competitively, because when you're under competitive pressure, you get tight and tightness results into rigidity. And rigidity and quickness in turning the swing around too fast, not letting it go through its entire motion is not effective in golf, as I am reminded on a regular basis but actually, I hate to say it, have a pretty effective golf swing.
Skiing bumps is very similar but what has to be soft is your knees. As you get rigid, which it feels like you should, because when you go off that bump and you're going down to the next one, it's like, "I got to get ready for this." And you tighten up but you have to do is soften up. And you've got to accept that it's going to happen. And it may feel fast but the slower it feels like tapening as you're going down the slope. And kind of maintaining your posture but being soft in the knees, the better.
It's very similar and it's a different kind of athletic activity. The cold call is one kind of athletic activity, this is more like, Hey, if you're going to ski an entire bump around, it's not going to happen in, well, maybe it'll happen in 27 seconds. But it's going to feel a lot longer than that, right?
Corey Frank (08:41):
Chris Beall (08:42):
And staying there, staying present, knowing where you're looking, what you're trying to do, being in charge, so to speak but being soft, is really important in a discovery call. And when you're urgent, you're not soft and the other person's going to respond to the urgency. But backing up, you're coming forward with your urgent questions, they're backing up into a safe place called, "I'm going to answer your questions but I'm not getting answer the big question, which is what's my big problem?"
Corey Frank (09:12):
So let's get into this, because we're going to prognosticate a little bit. But again, with the hundreds of thousands of phone calls, I think between us and certainly the millions from ConnectAndSell archives. When you have a rep who says the lead that I got from my BDR is no good. At what percentage do you think that the lead is no good? Because they only validate or they only come to that decision, usually after they've tried to run a process, tried to run a discovery on that prospect.
So what I'm getting at is, the salvageable quotient if you will, by Doing Discovery the Right Way, by looking at from your experience, how many leads that come over from a BDR, a frontier or an SDR team. That go to a typical rep who runs discovery, are really maybe the fault of the discoverer and not necessarily the fault of the BDR and the qualification of that lead.
Chris Beall (10:19):
Well, I'll answer that in two ways. One is in my view, BDR should never qualify. Ambush conversations are really bad places to get the truth out of somebody, qualification requires the truth. The discovery meeting is where qualification and take place.
So, I'll call it the technical qualification, the proforma qualification needs to happen in the creation of the list. The list is, as far as we know, qualified in advance. What are they qualified for? They're qualified to be worth 15 minutes to explore the question of whether it makes sense to do anything further. That's all we do in sales, is we only make one decision, does it make any sense mutually to do anything next, right? That's called next steps all over the place for the most part and that part of sales is probably pretty solid.
So to me, anybody who comes to a discovery meeting is qualified to participate in that discovery meeting, which is the only question that's on the table at that point. It's not like you're sacrificing your firstborn, it's 15 minutes, maybe you were going to do something awesome during those 15 minutes. But I've watched a lot of people work in my life and it's pretty much not going to be something awesome you're going to do in the next 15 minutes.
Corey Frank (11:31):
They're in your TAM, they're in your ICP and they accepted the meeting. In a market dominant theme, if anything we've done in these three years and couple hundred episodes, it's hopefully to get people to understand the basic tenants of market dominance.
Chris Beall (11:47):
Exactly. And then a whole bunch of good things could happen from a conversation. One is, they might understand what it is that you and your company offer. And know somebody else who has the problem that they don't have. Or has the timing that they don't have or whatever it happens to be.
You may discover that there's a timing opportunity, I had somebody reach out to me today and welcome me back from the honeymoon. Because they kept track of the timing issue because last time, they wanted to talk to me, I was headed on a honeymoon. Brilliant. Are they going to sell something to me or not? I don't know. But it was pretty smart to talk to me the first time, so that they knew enough about my situation that they could say, "Hey, welcome back from your honeymoon. I hope it was great."
And then they actually said something specific from the previous conversation and this was in a digital medium but it made the digital medium effective enough, they'll probably actually get a medium with me, so. I don't think I'll buy anything by the way but that's because I know what's wrong with their product. But what if I'm wrong?
There's a lot of good things that can come out of conversations, there's no bad things that can come out of them, other than the worst cases, you spend 15 minutes of your life talking to somebody and not making a deal. Well, you're going to spend a lot of your life doing a lot of things and not making deals, there's nothing magical about this thing, it's kind of like part of the job, right? Does it take you 15 minutes to even get to your home office and get set up? That's part of the job, there's a lot of things that are part of the job.
Sales reps often get that coming home feeling like, "I'm almost there, compared to somebody who looks at the lottery numbers and says, "That, it ended in a one and I have the one that in a two, see, I was almost there."
Like two is closer to one and a lottery ticket, it's not, trust me. Those of you who know a little bit about me know that I have a background in mathematics. And I will assure you, the ink that's on that lottery ticket doesn't know whether it's a one or a two. And then they're not close to each other in some weird way, it's just in your head. But reps, get that like, "I'm almost there." And it's a tragedy if this doesn't lead to a commission check for me.
Well, it's actually just part of the job, part of the job is to hold really great discovery conversations that lead to new insights on both parties.
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