If a client has given you the green light to set up a meeting and take a moment of their time, you need to know how to capitalize. Known as a “discovery meeting,” this make-or-break moment is one of the most crucial parts of the sales process. Here, we’ll break down how to set yourself up for success for this moment, starting before you even sit down with your potential new client.

Stage 1: Preparation

Meticulous preparation is the first key to nailing the discovery meeting process. To properly do so you must utilize all available resources to arm yourself with as much information on your potential, including:

  • Using search engines or personal connections to discover the most common struggles similar companies in their industry face.
  • Checking out their website to understand what they do, how long they’ve been in business, and their primary areas of focus.
  • Looking up the team members you will meet with on LinkedIn to see if you have any shared connections.
  • Browsing their social media profiles to see what their marketing can tell you about the company.

The focus here is to find anything and everything that sticks out to you that could be used to break the ice and form a connection. When the meeting starts, and you make introductions, you’ll want to mirror your prospect and quickly gather an understanding of how best to build rapport with them. This will be infinitely easier if you’ve researched and know as much about them as possible.

Stage 2: Determining the Client’s Needs

Once the formalities are out of the way and the introductory banter has settled, you must first recap why you are there to ensure you are starting on the same page. Once the purpose of the meeting is clarified, you can start by asking open-ended questions designed to gather business intelligence.

If there are two of you, have a lead salesperson and a backup. The backup should take copious notes on all non-technical information and only interject when there is a pause, quickly taking a backseat again when their question is answered, or their point is made.

A few helpful questions for the lead salesperson to ask would be:

  • Ask them to put in their own words why they took this meeting. This should help clarify pain points and what solutions they are looking for.
  • Investigate pertinent info on IT infrastructure such as; workstation count, server count, network layout, etc., and inquire whether they plan to make any software changes related to their core business over the next three to five years. This will help you get a full, long-term scope of the work.
  • Utilizing the founding information they provided on their website as a jumping-off point, ask them to define their business strategy for the next one or two years. This will help you determine future plans, such as starting other locations, hiring more staff, or aiming to become leaner. 
  • Try to determine their main goal by asking whether they are primarily trying to grow revenue or profit. If the prospects’ focus is on accelerating revenue, offer to collaborate on strategies to enhance revenue streams through network optimizations and streamlined sales cycles. Conversely, if profit optimization is their immediate goal, offer to center your efforts around generating efficiencies and automations within their IT operations and networks. If they are hesitant to answer or unsure, explain that during Quarterly Business Reviews, you will tailor all your solution ideas to this three-to-five-year goal.

Once you’ve asked your questions, check in and pose the final question, “Is there anything else you’d like to discuss?” to ensure nothing is left unaddressed. Finally, you can expertly transition to your sale engineer by asking, “(Name), do you have any questions on your end?”

Stage 3: Analyzing the Scope of the Work

From here, the sales engineer should take the lead and determine whether you can realistically do the job being asked of you. If unsure, they should tell the prospect that more research needs to be done. One helpful way to do this is to ask, “Before we leave, could we take a quick look at the issue/network?” 

The engineer should focus on providing the lead salesperson with a realistic timeline. You don’t want to get bogged down in a long, drawn-out assessment and explanation here, so use the shorthand “standard” or “complex” to define the scope of the job. “Standard” jobs should be given a timeline of roughly five business days, and “complex” jobs should be given around a ten business day turnaround.

Once they’ve determined the scope, the sales engineer can tell the lead salesperson whether this is a standard or complex job, signaling them to take the lead once again. 

Stage 4: Why Us and Budget Proposals

As you reach the final stage, it’s time to bring your pitch home. Summarize the issues, tying them directly to the revenue or profit-based strategies you discussed earlier. Be sure to relate similar successes from your portfolio to fully clarify why you would be the best choice for the job.

Budget will enter into play here. For monthly recurring revenue (MRR), provide a ballpark range based on your cost per month, positioning the actual figure at the lower end. For example if your cost per month is $2200 say “I think the proposal will come in around $2,000 to $2,500 per month. Is that in line with what you were thinking?”

Make sure to approach the budget question tactfully. Consider their timeline and inquire whether the project was expected before delicately broaching the topic.

Once the meeting concludes, your job isn’t done. Send a thoughtful thank-you email confirming action items and due dates. Include an article relevant to your discussion for that personal touch. Always stay proactive and beat your deadlines, making sure to make connections on LinkedIn to maintain engagement.

Post-meeting debriefing is also essential for maintaining momentum. Afterward always gather your team to ensure everyone is on the same page and promptly address action items to keep the process seamless.

Following these steps should ensure you have a strong blueprint to draw from as you enter this critical phase in the sales process. If you need more guidance, consider contacting us at OSR Manage. As a 100% MSP-focused sales service, OSR Manage can give you expert insight and guidance on how to develop a robust sales process from generating leads to closing new clients.