Home > Interview > Is the main reason for the fact finding-discovery phase to uncover a problem?

Is the main reason for the fact finding-discovery phase to uncover a problem?

An article I read said that fact finding questions should be based around making the client aware of the downfalls or shortcoming of their current solution. Is that correct? - by realtor
The client may already be aware of the problem and looking for solutions. Or, the client may be in denial that there is a problem.

Either way, asking questions will tell you what is on the client's mind. You'll have to separate his or her answer to determine if there is any pain. If there is pain, then you need to ask further questions to understand the consequence to the client. Stubbing my toe won't send me to the hospital, arterial bleeding will.

You can't make a client aware of their problems, you can ask questions that cause them to think about their issues differently. They'll decide if there are any consequences or not. If there are, then you have an opportunity to sell your solution. - by gstebbins
There is a monumental difference between uncovering a problem and getting someone to see the weakness in their current solution. The answer two either is a resounding NO!

The primary reason to begin asking questions is to build a relationship with your prospect that involves understanding them. If you understand someone, they will have a greater comfort in trusting you.

The purpose of discovery and asking questions is to get a better feeling of:

1. The prospect themselves and what they doa nd how they do it.

2. The organization and its current situation and objectives.

3. What is the status quo and who else may be part of the program.

If you ask questions with the purpose of learning and not getting someone to see, everything else will naturally unfold. The most challenging thing to do is accept that there is not a need, or not a perceived need for your offering and walk away. If there is nothing to gain, walking away saves you time and money. - by karlgoldfield
You can't make a client aware of their problems, you can ask questions that cause them to think about their issues differently. They'll decide if there are any consequences or not. If there are, then you have an opportunity to sell your solution.
Why couldn't you make them aware by bringing a problem to their attention?

There is a monumental difference between uncovering a problem and getting someone to see the weakness in their current solution.
What is the difference? - by realtor
Why couldn't you make them aware by bringing a problem to their attention?
There is a monumental difference between uncovering a problem and getting someone to see the weakness in their current solution.
What is the difference?


Great questions!!

If a person is in denial about their issue, they won't consider the current situation a problem. Basically they won't even see it.

However, you may see it as a problem that can be solved. Asking a person questions will go a long way in helping you understand their point-of-view. If they're in denial they still won't see your point-of-view. So, it's impossible to make them see something else.

Abraham Maslow once said, "If your only tool is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail." If your only tool is use questions to force people to see your point-of-view, then that's how you'll use the skill. Unfortunately a person who does this will miss the opportunity, as you say, to build a long-term relationship.

Making comes from an ego perspective. To be successful in sales, a person needs a reasonably large ego -- just to survive the constant rejection. If you hammer a person with either a pitch or even with questions, they'll pull away.

The hardest thing for many salespeople is to hold their ego back when asking questions. The ego is going to want to jump to conclusions (solve their problem) without hearing the complete story.

Thanks again for your questions.

Greg - by gstebbins
An article I read said that fact finding questions should be based around making the client aware of the downfalls or shortcoming of their current solution. Is that correct?
Fact Finding quetions should be used to determine both positive and negative information. For instance, what the client likes about their present house, which features they could live without or those they consider most improtant. Why they are considering moving--size, location, etc.

By asking questions, you are building a trusting relationship as well as discovering valuable information you will need to make the sale. The client is probably discovering things they haven't thought about prior to your questions which will help clarify in their minds what they want.

By focusing on what the clients says, the sales process should move along more smoothly than if you just ask questions about problems and shortcomings. - by GerryMyers
Fact Finding quetions should be used to determine both positive and negative information. For instance, what the client likes about their present house, which features they could live without or those they consider most improtant. Why they are considering moving--size, location, etc.

By asking questions, you are building a trusting relationship as well as discovering valuable information you will need to make the sale. The client is probably discovering things they haven't thought about prior to your questions which will help clarify in their minds what they want.

By focusing on what the clients says, the sales process should move along more smoothly than if you just ask questions about problems and shortcomings.
One person wrote that questions should be structured to "illuminate any problem areas that might exist in the client's current environment". Isn't that the same as making the client aware of the downfalls or shortcoming of their current solution? Isn't that what you want them to discover? - by realtor
A great question, realtor.

There are three reasons for the "fact-finding discovery" phase of the selling process:

1. To develop rapport and build your relationship. Questions engage the prospect, and its difficult to sell without an engaged prospect.

2. To gather information about the prospect's stated or unstated needs. As other experts have mentioned in this thread, some needs are unrecognized and therefore are unstated, but through the probing process you can often develop an understanding of the prospect's needs that is greater than their own understanding.

3. To pre-qualify the prospect. Are they interested in talking to you further? Are they ready to purchase? What roadblocks are there to a purchase? What budget issues come into play? How will a decision be made? When will a decision be made., Etc.

I hope that helps...

Skip - by Skip Anderson
While uncovering pain is certainly part of the discovery process, there is more you need to uncover before launching into a presentation about your solution. How big is the pain? Does the prospect believe it's worth fixing? Are there other problems they haven't noticed yet?

First, start with the pains they have already told you about. Then, drill down on them. Oftentimes, the problem they tell you about isn't the real problem--there's usually something else that's causing it. Here are 2 types of follow-up questions I'll ask to every pain point:

1. CAUSES: What do you think is causing this problem? Or, What do you think is the reason for this?

2. IMPACT: What is the impact of this problem? Is it worth fixing? How much is it costing them? What will happen if it isn't fixed?

You also mentioned earlier that you like to ask questions to help them discover unknown pain. This is a great strategy. I believe that the best salespeople create more opportunities than they find. Here are a few questions that help in this area:

1. What would need to happen for you to be able to (increase profitability, reduce cost in a certain area, compete against certain companies)?

2. A lot of companies I talk to right now are focused on ______. What have you looked at doing in this area?

3. What have you tried doing in the past to (mention desired change or result)? How did it work? - by Jake Atwood
One person wrote that questions should be structured to "illuminate any problem areas that might exist in the client's current environment". Isn't that the same as making the client aware of the downfalls or shortcoming of their current solution? Isn't that what you want them to discover?
The difference between illuminating and making is perhaps a subtle one, but an important one. People believe in things they have discovered for themselves much more strongly than things they have been told. As an example from another field, if a magician says "this is a completely ordinary pack of cards" - they you immediately become suspicious - is it really?. If however, they casually sow the cards, or let you shuffle them, then you "discover" for yourself that the card are completely ordinary and you believe it much more strongly.

In this case, you could use questions to "prove" to them they have a problem, or use them in a slightly different, less aggressive way to help them discover for themselves they had a problem. In the second case, they might never "get it" - but if they do, you are in a much stronger position.

Ian

PS - one other reason for questioning - good questions establish your credibility and knowledge without you having to brag or boast. Again, rather than you telling the client what you are an expert in, or "proving it" by a presentation or whatever - they discover it through the quality of your questions. - by ianbrodie
An article I read said that fact finding questions should be based around making the client aware of the downfalls or shortcoming of their current solution. Is that correct?
Some good thoughts here, but I believe that a great discovery accomplishes 2 primary objectives.

1. You uncover a problem.
2. You determine your prospect's dominant buying motive(s) (DBM.)

Some DBM's
Fear of loss, security, pride of ownership, financial gain, ego, recognition, status, health, family etc. depending on whether you're in a B2B of B2C environment.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, many sales in both B2B and B2C are driven by emotion and justified by logic.

Timepro - by TimePro
In my real estate listing training courses, we call this Qualifying.
We use a four step process that works well:

1. Basic Questions - 'Why are you selling, where are you going, when do you need to be there, are you going to buy another home, do you need the money from this home to buy you next one?' - that type of question. Since there are four basic reasons people sell - Transfer, Retire, Upgrade, and Estate - the questions are tailored to the reason.

Several things happen at once as you ask these Basic Questions: you start developing rapport, building a relationship, showing interest in what they need to accomplish, and demonstrating that you understand the real estate business.

2. Probing Questions - 'What happens if the home does not sell by (on a timely basis) what are you going to do (logic)?' 'How are you going to feel (emotion)?'

The purpose of the Probing Questions is to make the seller think about the consequences of the house not selling on a timely basis. Many people just assume the house will sell and they don't consider the alternative. Probing Questions help us uncover stated and unstated needs. If they say they will just stay put, maybe they are not motivated sellers and maybe you don't want this listing. If they admit to unpleasant consequences, you have the knowledge to help solve their problems on terms they will respond to.

You asked 'fact finding questions should be based around making the client aware of the downfalls or shortcoming of their current solution. Is that correct?' Absolutely yes.

If you are interested, the 3rd and 4th steps in our qualifying process follow.

3. Time Target Questions - 'Would it be in your best interest to have this home sold AND closed in the next 90 days?' The usual answer is yes so we then take away the closing time to make them aware of a bit more urgency than they might have had up to this point. We ask, 'Since it takes about 30 days to close (go through escrow), we must have a qualified buyer on paper in 60 days so you can have the money in 90 days, isn't that right?' The most frequent response is a solid Yes. That sets us up to ask the fourth step.

4.Tentative Committment - 'If you felt you could actually get the most money, the quickest sale, and the fewest problems by listing with me, right now, today, is there any reason you wouldn't do so?' Their answer gives direction for our next step.

Final point: Professional selling is NOT something we do TO people, it IS something we do FOR people. Don't be afraid to ask penetrating probing questions.thmbp2; - by Jerry Bresser
Always appreciate that people buy what they want and not necessarily what they need. Also, please appreciate that they might not have a "Problem" however the odds are that they could have an interest in a Product or Service that compliments what they already have.

Have a "FANTA$TIC" Future!
Stan Billue, CSP - by Stan Billue
This is best thread I think I have ever read!!! I am in awe of how much everyone here knows about selling. Thank you for answering my questions with so much depth. ntwty; - by realtor
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