Customer Discovery as Pre-Selling

There’s an old saying that if you want to raise money from investors, go to them asking for advice. There’s a similar element in customer discover (watch the explanation video) where the more time spent with potential customers to get their input, the more likely they are to buy in the future. Put another way, customer discovery is one of the best ways to pre-sell a potential customer.

Here are a few thoughts on customer discovery as pre-selling:

  • Every customer discovery conversation has the opportunity to be a lead in the future
  • Building rapport and trust is a critical part of all relationships, and especially so in sales
  • Customer discovery is a sales process (uncover pain, validate severity of problem, understand desired solution, etc.)
  • One of the main reasons for customer discovery is to validate customer demand before building a product, which is pre-selling a product to be built later

Entrepreneurs that love selling love the customer discovery process. Entrepreneurs that are more product-focused and less sales-focused will find customer discovery a challenge and laborious. When this is the case, it’s important to acknowledge it and plan on adding a sales-oriented person to the team as soon as possible. Nothing happens until something gets sold and customer discovery is a great way to pre-sell a potential customer.

What else? What are some more thoughts on customer discovery as pre-selling?

2 thoughts on “Customer Discovery as Pre-Selling

  1. Customer discovery is HUGE in our sales cycle. Every single demo request that comes through our website triggers an automated email with a link to a pre-demo “Discovery Questionnaire” with five questions. 99/100 prospects complete the short survey before we have our demo or call. If not, we follow-up with a quick phone call to see if they’re really a serious prospect…after all, time is money and as a startup, we’re limited on both.

    I’ve seen analyst reports that say the #1 complaint most of today’s B2B prospects have is that they don’t feel their sales reps are prepared for their first meeting. A solid discovery process makes sure that we’re 100% prepared for every single first call and demo we have. It’s helped our sales process tremendously and accelerated our close rates. I credit our VP of Sales/Marketing for the idea – if anyone would like to check it out, feel free to email me at

  2. I believe that this connects to the experiential economy as well. I am in the process of opening a restaurant and live music venue, and in addition to asking the investor for advice I sold him in the first five minutes explaining the immediate experience the patron would have entering the venue.

    More than painting a picture, I appealed to all of his senses. The second he had a grasp of the experience I was providing, the only other question was: “Whats the return on my investment”. Customers are no different.

    They can get a product anywhere, and probably cheaper. In order to keep that customer after the initial experience I believe fully in engaging as many customers in a dialogue about how to provide even a better, and more unique experience. The integration of technology into every facet of the business holds unlimited potential to maintain and grow customer loyalty and ownership in the business.

    I know that it is a completely different industry, but the biggest parallel that I can draw is that while your sales reps have to be prepared for that meeting, our staff has to be prepared to provided everything needed to create that all encompassing unique experience as well as constantly grow and change with the market and customer expectations. Great post. 🙂

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