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How NOT to sell on discovery calls

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Something interesting happened as I was watching sales call recordings the other day.

This was an initial discovery call, so the discussion was focused on finding out if and how the company and the potential customer could work together.

Discovery calls by the way, are great to watch if you’re a copywriter or marketer looking to find out how prospects perceive your brand and what they know about it/the market.

Anyway, the prospect went over their problems with their current solutions, the alternatives they tried, and their current situation and goals.

Then it was the sales rep’s turn.

The pitch.

And that’s where I think they failed…

Because what they did was to start off with the features.

They talked about how they thought that X and Y features in their platform could be helpful for the prospect’s situation and why. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of times this level of technical proficiency can be persuasive, and with the right audience (namely IT guys) it can hook them.

But here they were talking with the Founder.

Which brings me to my point:

Hook them where they’re at, not where you want them to be.

The problem was that blabbing about the tech was meaningless to the prospect here. They had no idea what those features implied, what actual value they brought, and how they solved their problems.

The sales person instead was dreaming about a world where just mentioning their XYZ architecture could make the guy go “shut up and take my money”.

On sales calls as in writing, it’s important to consider where your audience is coming from, what they know, what they don’t know – and what they need to learn to get where you want them to.

In most cases this means starting the discussion on value rather than features.

Keep it in mind.

Want to get to know your audience better than they know themselves? Get in touch.

Quote and reflection of the day:

“Don’t aim to have others like you; aim to have them respect you.”

  • Kevin Kelly, Excellent Advice for Living

Likability is acquired, respect is earned. There’s a big difference. You can buy your way to being liked without putting in any of the work… just pay the price. But earning respect requires working for it.

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