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The Sales Evangelist

Slip Miller, Donald Kelly, M3 Learning, The Sales Evangelist Building value is one of the most essential tasks we have as sellers. In order to do that, you have to make sure the discovery part of your sales meeting is done perfectly. Today’s guest is William “Skip” Miller and he shares with us great tips and strategies you can use during the discovery phase of prospecting.

Skip is the CEO of M3 Learning, a proactive sales management and sales training company that helps companies make their salespeople and sales managers better, qualify and disqualify better, and listen to customers better early on in the sales process.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Skip:

Lesson from Skip’s coolest sales experience when he was the customer:

During discovery phase, stop talking about what you’re selling and focus on the buyer.

What is Discovery in Sales?

Discovery is active listening. It is really understanding, from a mutual standpoint, what is it that the customer wants and here is what you have to offer and how that is going to fit the organization. And finally, realize if there’s a reason for both parties to continue the process.

The buyer/seller process is a mutual process. We talk about what the customers look for and what we do. Then if we agree, let’s take it to the next step.

Why is Discovery Important?

During discovery phase, you’re trying to find how much energy is really behind it. Sales is like a roller coaster. Be able to build up enough energy early in the part of the deal. Find the motivation why they’re calling or taking our calls or answering our emails. If there is a high degree of energy, the deal is going to come to a yes or no.

The “Cause ” Strategy

“Cause” is a nasty word to ask because when you use this word, you will find out somebody’s motivation. So start modifying that word in your early sales pitch and you will find out how much energy this deal has got.


  1. Incorporate the word “cause” to your questions.


  • What has happened in the last few months that caused you to say now’s the time?
  • As you look in the next couple of months, what’s causing you to say you’ve got to change…?
  1. Shut up and listen because buyers want to be heard.

The Biggest Mistakes During Discovery Phase

  1. Failure to ask good questions to get the buyer to start talking
  2. Failure to ask “cause”
  3. Putting some non-qualified deals in your funnel

Most of Skip’s clients have 80-90% forecast accuracy in Stages 4 and 5 because they’ve done good stuff in Stage 2.

The Quantified Cause

Get QC or Quantified Cause because most senior level executives talk numbers all day long. Find the QC and you get a great discovery call because you’ve understood what’s behind the buyer and by how much. Get numbers early in the sales process otherwise you’d be excited doing presentations and then all of a sudden what’s “super” in Stage 2 just turns “okay” in Stage 4.

Quantifying makes the buyer think and it gives you an idea of how much energy there is for this.

Get QC by ranging it.


On a scale of 1-10 (10 being great and 1 being near “we’re closing the doors”), how would you rank it now…

Questions During the Discovery Meeting:

Stage 2 has two value flags which you need to capture:

  1. Below the line

This is where you ask the feeds and speeds because if they want A and B and you sell D and C then there’s no use of you talking. Ask the feeds and speeds to make sure there’s a competitive fit.

  • Why did you call us?
  • What are you looking for?
  • Did you want the latest model or the older model?
  1. Above the line

This is where you find out energy and cause. Ask cause.


  • You’re telling me you’re losing 20% of your revenue for the next six months, you can see this could potentially make a dent in it…

Skip’s Major Takeaway:

Discovery is about asking, not telling. It’s about showing and giving. Ask great questions. Prepare your questions upfront. Know your audience. Prepare below and above the line questions otherwise you’re going to start telling and talking and showing and that’s not discovery. Ask and really care about this profession in sales. Listen. Really care and ask.

Episode Resources:

Know more about Skip on www.SellingAdvantage.net/tse and check out their special offer.

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About the Author The Sales Evangelist

Donald is the host of the popular sales podcast,"The Sales Evangelist". He is the founder of The Sales Evangelist Consulting Firm where he helps small companies develop killer sales process to scale their business and increase growth.

Donald is also an award-winning speaker, sales trainer, and coach. He's a big fan of traveling, South Florida staycations and high-quality family time. Donald has a belief that “anyone” can sell if they have the desire and receives the proper training.

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