How to Get Inside Your Prospect’s Head

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Speed is the friend of Sales. There is definitely something to the idea of the “momentum of a sale.” If you let things languish too long the trail goes cold. Technology has given us some great tools for the Sales Professional. Marketing automation can, based upon your prospect’s behavior, feed them the right information at the right time so when it comes time to sell, they are already chomping at the bit to learn about your company’s products and/or services. Webinars and free video conferencing systems have made distance all but a moot point. You can sell anywhere. Another tool is email—instantly you can send a message or get a prospect a quote or product brochure.

So it is all good right? Not really. Unfortunately human nature takes over and we go with the path of least resistance. We rely on online behavior to tell us what someone wants. We rely too much on the web to communicate instead of picking up the phone or going to see someone in person. We email things, lots of things, in the hope a well written email will take care of persuading someone to choose our product or service. When I’m asked, “how do I know what my prospect is thinking?” I say, “You just have to make sure you look at it from their point of view.”

Stop Guessing

You don’t want to guess what they’re thinking. You need to ask more questions. Check that, you need to ask more good questions. You need make sure that you’re covering every base with your client or prospect, because if you’re guessing about what is driving their decision, when you give a proposal, chances are you’re going to miss something. Chances are they’re going to come back to you with questions or asking for more information–you are lucky. The real likelihood is you email your proposal (don’t get me started on that one) and you never hear back from them again because how do you follow up? You email them asking if there is anything else they need. Chances are you won’t close the business.

Use a Discovery Tool

Have you ever tried using a Discovery Tool? You can actually make your own, it is really easy to do. Often I have Sales Professionals tell me they don’t want to be restricted by a written list of questions or too formal of an approach because it restricts the conversation. These are the same ones who have deep pipelines that hardly ever flow and have opportunities the age of my children.

You want to speed up your sales process? You want to add velocity to a sale? Use a discovery tool. By sticking to a track of questions with your different buyers, you are able to extract the right information. You actually will do a better job of enabling free-flowing conversation by asking the right questions. You will also capture the data in a format that helps you create a powerful story.

What is another benefit? Your prospect or client will be impressed with your organized approach and genuine interest in helping them find the right solution. Instead of wandering aimlessly through a meeting where you might make a lot of friends but not ever bring on a client, you engage them proactively to understand the outcomes they are looking for in a solution.


So you finally have created a good Discovery Tool and are ready to use it for the first time. You are worried about appearing too stiff. Here is all you have to do to remove your fear: ask permission. As you sit down to your meeting and after you have reviewed your agenda. Let the people you are meeting with know you are using a discovery tool for the meeting. You can say something like this:

“I want to let you know I am using a discovery tool to help guide my questions today. The reason I have this is to ensure I keep our conversation on track, get a thorough understanding of your business and your needs, and to honor the value of your time. This way I know the solution I come back to you with is the right one, and is not missing any critical components. Is that okay with you?”

Who is going to say no? If they do, then perhaps you don’t have a good fit as a potential client.

So eliminate the guessing. By using an effective Discovery Tool, you will minimize the need to go back to your prospect and ask additional questions, slowing down the sales process. You also will have a complete view of the opportunity and will be able to make a good decision on whether or not they are a good fit for your product or service. Making the decision to eliminate a prospect early is a great decision because it gives you the time to focus on the opportunities that are the best fit for your product or service.

Take the time to ask all the questions you need in order to close business and you will sell more profitable business more quickly and make your prospect as happy as possible.

Jack Kelly
Jack Kelly
Jack founded the Corlea Group in early 2009 with his first client coming on board in January of that year. Jack loves to coach. He coaches his clients and he helps coach his kid’s teams – it’s his passion and has been for over 25 years as a professional, father and volunteer. Why? Because he likes to help a team succeed.
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