Buyers don’t give a shit about your product if you can’t solve their problem. Plain and simple.

Buyers won’t care about your product if it doesn’t align with their top priority in the moment. Plain and simple.

Stop assuming your buyers give a 💩 about your product.

You want someone to care? Find out what matters to them right now and why.

Then align your offering with their top priority. 

But what’s more—you have to solve their problems and those problems have to be a company-wide top priority.

Sales has long been in fierce competition with other sellers and the status quo, losing customers to other companies and inaction. But today, we’re also up against every department head across our prospect’s businesses. 

With everyone lobbying for a slice of the budget, if the problem you solve isn’t a top priority in your prospect’s business today, you won’t close a sale.

In Ep. 74 of Winning the Challenger Sale podcast, we talk with Collin Mitchell, VP of Sales at Leadium about what it takes to dig deep enough to shape a discovery so well you can take full charge of your sales process.

We discuss:

  • The importance of flexing the curiosity muscle throughout discovery
  • How to unstick the most stuck deals (and avoid them altogether by prioritizing discovery)
  • Understanding and adapting to customer personalities and dismissing all excuses around not understanding your buyer

Listen to “#74: Be Curious in Discovery & Personalize the Sales Process” on Spreaker.


The importance of flexing the curiosity muscle throughout discovery

Product-market fit has long been a focus of business leaders everywhere. But in today’s market, you need more than that to close sales. With high competition, tight budgets and already-jumbled tech stacks, you have to do more than solve your customer’s problems to close a deal. 

“If the problem that you solve is not valued, and you can’t show the value and position it as a top priority, your deals aren’t going to get closed today,” Collin says. 

Sales once had to compete with other sales teams. But now, we’re also pitted against competitors, indecision and every single other problem within the client’s organization. If the problem you solve isn’t the top priority in your potential client’s business, it’s likely budget will be rewarded to solve a more imminent business challenge.

But this doesn’t mean sales professionals are left helpless wondering if their solution is an organizational priority—Collin suggests simply asking about your prospect’s priorities, then determining your respective value. 

Once you’ve found your solution is an organizational priority, you can dig into shaping the discovery process. 

“Discovery is not something that happens once,” Collin says. “The biggest mistake a lot of people make is treating discovery as a box to check.”

There will always be another new person in the room. New information will be revealed as a deal advances. Even the best sellers won’t uncover everything in the initial call. 

“The best sellers are people that constantly dig deeper and find out more,” Collin says.

How to unstick the most stuck deals (and avoid them altogether by prioritizing discovery)

Every seller, regardless of niche or experience level is familiar with the age-old shared frustration of stuck sales. We’ve all learned and focused on the pain of the same versus the pain of the change, but what happens when nothing can quite unstick the stuck deals?

Collin points back to discovery. He offers guidelines for taking control of your sales with personalized discoveries by:

  1. Establishing priorities
  2. Being curious
  3. Learning from lost deals
  4. Creating a discovery playbook

“Did you check the rank of priorities for solving this problem? Did you dig deep enough to see what it means for the prospect to solve this versus not and solving it now versus later?” Collin says. 

Without a sound discovery, deals can get sticky quickly, and often be lost to indecision. Designing a dynamic discovery process can help you to unstick the stuck-est of deals, and ultimately avoid many altogether. 

“I don’t believe in a script,” Collin says. “But hopefully you have a discovery playbook you follow. Discovery is dynamic—you’re working with human beings and real conversations.”

But even with a solid playbook, the best sellers lose more deals than they close. This is where looking back and dissecting lost deals offers a plethora of potential lessons learned.

“Be curious enough to get feedback from deals lost—there are typically golden nuggets that will help you get it back in the pipeline or do better next time.”

While not every stuck sale is salvageable, they all offer opportunities for developing and improving your discovery skills moving forward. 

Understanding and adapting to customer personalities and dismissing all excuses around not understanding your buyer

Buyer’s trust isn’t guaranteed—you’ve got to earn it, and that’s easier said than done. To earn that trust, we return to the golden rule of sales: know your buyer. But the magic really happens when you know and understand your buyer, then adapt to their needs and personalities.

“People are different. People have different learning styles. They care about different things,” Collin says. “If you’re showing up the same way every time, that’s not going to mesh with every prospect.”

Some buyers prefer a deck, others want to roll up their sleeves and dig into the product. Collin says you can find your prospect’s preferences by simply asking. This willingness to personalize your approach and adapt to preferences is a huge differentiator and allows you to truly teach your prospects instead of selling to them.

Today’s buyers are educated, informed and highly capable. They are likely consuming a lot of content and have been in touch with many sellers. They’ve purchased before and know what they’re doing—and oftentimes this is due to a distrust of sellers.

Building trust by getting to genuinely know and understand buyers, adapting your teaching style according to their learning needs and preferences, then engaging them across content and touchpoints in a somewhat neutral manner that informs instead of sells will ultimately set businesses apart. In short, we should be teaching our prospects—not pitching them. 

“Companies that create educational content for buyers to make good buying decisions are ultimately going to win,” Collin says. “The average buyer consumes 13 or 18 pieces of content when they’re in a b2b sale. Do you want to be part of that conversation or not?”

Want to learn more about teaching, not pitching? Listen to the full episode of Winning the Challenger Sale where Collin reveals more about personalizing and prioritizing your discovery process, building trust with modern B2B buyers and addressing stuck deals.

To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the Winning The Challenger Sale podcast on our website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or just search for it in your favorite podcast player.

Andee Harris

Andee Harris is CEO of Challenger. Andee brings more than two decades of experience growing and scaling service and technology businesses. She has previously led multiple companies, both as CEO and Senior Vice President, through periods of rapid revenue growth, critical fundraising, and successful acquisition. These companies include Highground (acquired by Vista Equity Partners), TMBC (acquired by ADP), Syndio and Emerging Solutions (acquired by Emtec).