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About This Episode
The discovery call.
It’s that ever important step between a cold call, and a bonafide customer relationship. It’s what takes the relationship from prospect to partner.
But what should the role of the discovery call be? How early should you do one? What kind of work needs to be done before you come out of the gate swinging. What kind of homework do you need to do?
To be sure, there are a lot of questions, and probably just as many answers. Thankfully, we recently had Emily Radkowski, Manager of Sales Enablement & Training at Threat Stack as a guest on The Sales Engagement Podcast and she was kind enough to share some of her thoughts on why authenticity is crucial, how you should be prepping for discovery calls, and how to ask the tough questions.
Preparing for the Call
Imagine a baseball player. It’s the bottom of the ninth inning. The game is tied, the bases are loaded, and it’s the last out. It’s your turn to step up to the plate and bring the game home for your team. But there’s just one small problem: you haven’t a single second in the batting cage since the last game. You’ve not picked up a bat, swung at a ball, or practiced your stance. You’re stepping up to the plate with no practice, hoping to knock it out of the park.
But so often, according to Emily, sales reps go into discovery calls with prospects blind. With no homework done. No batting cage time. No practice swings.
They’ve not practiced what they’re going to say. They’ve not done any role playing with other sales reps They’ve not rehearsed their pitch and delivered it over and over again, getting it absolutely perfect.
And more often than not, those that step up to the plate with no practice under their belts are going to strike out looking. They’ll freeze up under pressure and have no idea what to do when the moment comes.
Ask any athlete and they’ll tell you that the prep work is just as important, if not more important than the actual game. Because the prep is where you get to fine tune your craft. Game time isn’t for practicing. That’s why it’s not called practice.
Anyone can learn to build rapport. Rapport isn’t all that difficult. It’s being likeable and saying the right things at the right time to get the right response out of the right person. What is impressive is someone who knows how to build relationships. Relationship building actually requires you to build real, professional, meaningful friendships. Friendships and rapport are not the same thing.
When you build an authentic relationship, you and your project get to share the good and the bad. You get to have conversations around the “why” not just the “what.” In order to be a dynamite salesperson, you’ve got to learn the difference in rapport and relationships.
You have to set yourself up early as someone who is genuine, trustworthy, and authentic.
Ask the Tough Questions
The tough questions are called tough for a reason. They’re really tough.
Nobody likes to be the one to ask the tough questions. What if you offend the person you’re on the phone with? What if they hang up on you? What if they never take your call again? These are all risks you run when you commit to asking the tough questions. But sometimes the tough questions need to be asked.
One surefire way to ask them?
Ask your prospect, “Hey, do you mind if I ask you a tough question?” They may say yes. They may say no. And you’ve got to be okay with either answer, and move on if the answer isn’t what you want.
But not being afraid to ask the tough questions, and doing it in a respectful way, establishes a level of trust with your prospect that you just can’t find many other places.
The discovery call is one that, if done right, can open up the door to a prosperous and meaningful relationship with a prospect. And if done wrong, can end with the proverbial door slammed in your face.
Don’t let the door get slammed in your face.
This post is based on a podcast interview with Emily Radkowski from Threat Stack. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast. If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.