The Imitation Game, about the development of the first analytical machine, precursor to the computer, spawned an inspiring statement: “Sometimes it’s the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.

In the quest to break the Enigma Code, the leaders at Bletchley Park incorrectly framed the need to decipher within the context of a team of Britain’s most brilliant mathematicians and code-breakers. Commander Denniston was ready to dismiss Alan Turing outright for declaring what was really needed was a machine that could process possible solutions millions of times faster than humans.

During a Discovery session (post-sales opportunity debrief) on a strong win, a client learned an exceptional but unheralded practice of one of their middle-of-the-pack sales reps.

What caused the buyer’s decision?

Every Discovery session (debrief call and more) we conduct probes to determine if the sales team understood the buyer’s business needs. Typically, the need is framed by the buyer, but this can be dangerously limiting.

The competitor in this pursuit worked from the need framed by the buyer and dropped off brochures on the requested solution. Our client’s sales rep, perhaps inspired by Alan Turing, cultivated a strong relationship with the buyer’s consultant, learning the touch points, and taking care not to skip over any points in his eagerness to make a presentation to the buyer. As a result, the rep gained valuable intelligence on nuances of the buyer’s situation, together with the shortcomings of the competitor’s solution particular to this case.

By gathering very granular data on the buyer’s issues over the course of several back and forth question and answer sessions with the consultant, the rep could craft a much more nuanced solution proposal that included something the buyer had never considered, but which improved his bottom line considerably. Everyone came out a winner.

Curiously, these key facts didn’t come out in the post-sale interview with the buyer’s consultant, and the rep hadn’t heralded them to his boss. They were teased out during the conversation between our program consultant and the cohort of client stakeholders, including the sales rep.

What was the outcome?

The action plan crafted to guide other sales professionals in the company: frame your value story around everything you can learn about the situation, taking a 360-degree view. If you rely on the buyer’s pronouncements about the need, you may miss a vital solution feature that will multiply the benefits for the buyer.

This Discovery session uncovered synergies that otherwise would get lost in the weeds of familiarity during typical in-house sales debriefs. Be sure your soliciting feedback from everyone involved in the sales opportunity and you, too, can come out a winner every time.

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