NO MIND READING! Advanced Discovery Skill (that builds a ‘case for change’​)

The most successful sales people that I’ve met or coach do something really well that separates them from the rest of their average performing peers. They are masters of asking CLARIFICATION questions. Clarification questions elevate sales conversations to Jedi level.

The very act of asking a good clarification questions creates value for the buyer and connects them at an emotional level with the seller. Here’s how.

Average sales conversations are an exchange of surface level questions and answers between buyer and seller. The salesperson asks basic contextual questions like “how many, how long, what platform, what’s working, what’s not working, what are your pains etc etc.” The issue with these questions is that they DO NOT create value for the buyer, because these are questions that the client already knows the answer to and it doesn’t cause them to think deeply or differently about their business. These surface level questions just get them to regurgitate answers to what they know – answers that are already conscious of (see Neocortex below).

When a client says something to the effect of “our results are not where we want them,” an average sales person will just blindly ACCEPT that statement as self evident (they ‘mindread’ what the statement means from their perspective, not the clients) and move onto the next pre-prepared question on their list to cover off, or shift to PITCHING, leaping on the client’s ‘confession’ with a “we can help with that, let me tell you how we can.”

A top performer will “slow down, to speed up” – asking “what are your results today…and what do you want them to be?” – “in what timescale?” – “what’s the $ value of that difference”? – “tell me, what’s your sense as to the root cause of the results you’re getting?” – “if this is addressed, what would that allow you to do with your business that you can’t do today?” – “and when you say ‘our results’ who else on your team is concerned about this topic?”

In the process, the seller has helped guide the client to articulating THEIR business case (or case for change) and generated thought processes that the client probably hasn’t thought about with as much rigour (Limbic brain) creating trust and value along the way (Reptilian Brain). Oh, and urgency.

In conversations with CEOs and Sales Leaders, most express their frustration that the majority of their sales people can’t or don’t do what I’ve outlined above.

The real issue at hand is that many CEO/Sales Leaders can’t/don’t do it either – and therefore it doesn’t become expected or embedded in the company’s sales approach.

So, if you’re a CEO or Sales Leader reading this and you’ve been seeing, hearing or experiencing this issue for over 30 days and feel that lack of questioning rigour is causing you to lose deals or have longer sales cycles, then perhaps it’s time for a chat?

If you want to learn more, feel free to email me at or call me on +1 647-402-2096.

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Matt Conway

CEO & Principle at Matthew Conway
If you're a CEO or Sales Leader reading this and you want to fill your pipeline with quality opportunities, win more deals and reduce sales cycles by as much as 6x, then perhaps it's time for a chat?

If you want to learn more, feel free to email me at or call me on +1 647-402-2096.
Matt Conway
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