Q: What do great B2B salespeople and doctors have in common?
Answer: They both run an excellent diagnostic process.
Have you ever noticed that most salespeople are terrible at running a thorough needs analysis? As someone who has bought millions of dollars worth of software, I've sat through many horrendous starts to a demo. The rep is clearly reading off of a script and seems to be barely listening to my answer before rushing into the demo.
Meanwhile, the best sales professionals build an enormous amount of trust with their prospects by asking thoughtful questions and having deep discussions on their pain points. I had a tough time teaching reps on my team how to do that...until I built a framework that helped tremendously.
Attached is the deck I built to train our new enterprise team on how to run a great discovery call. I'm happy to share this framework with you today:
Top B2B sales professionals run a needs analysis the way a great doctor examines a patient.
When a doctor walks into the room, the first thing they do is build trust with the patient. They put them at ease, make small talk, and build a human relationship.
Next, the doctor asks what they can do to help. Just as healthy people don't go to the doctor, it's typically prospects who have a real problem that are willing to take a sales call on a particular technology. If they are on the line with you, it's because they have a real problem. It's your job to ask them questions in order to uncover what the issues are.
After the patient has explained the issues, the doctor doesn't just take their word for it. If I go to a doctor and say "I have pneumonia, give me a Z-pack" the doctor doesn't just pull out their prescription pad and hand over a script. Instead, they will closely examine the patient, send them for additional testing, and review results. Only then will they offer treatment.
The same is true of great B2B sellers. If a prospect says "My email marketing system sucks, I need a new one!" to a sales rep at Marketo, that might seem like music to the rep's ears. But it's actually fools' gold. The job of the rep is to do a deep examination to understand why the prospect is unhappy with their email marketing tool, what their goals are, and only then offer a suggestion on which provider they should go with. Shortcutting this process is what leads to an erosion of trust.
Lastly, doctors do not walk into an exam room with a predetermined mindset of what medicine they will offer the patient. In the same way, top sellers do not try to force every prospect to buy their technology. Rather, they are open minded about the potential outcome and ensure that only those clients who are likely to be successful with their offerings are the ones they sell to. Maintaining that mindset ensures that the seller takes the needs analysis seriously.
Again, hope you enjoy the deck and that it helps you with your own mindset toward running a great discovery process. It's actually 90% of the sales process, when done right :)