Focus on How: Data Mindset and Customer Impact

You’ve investigated the WHY through deep discovery with your client focusing on:

  • Their why – what drives their business? What is the client’s personal and professional why? Why now? Why change? Understanding the layers of ‘why’ behind what motivates the client’s emotional and business perspective is key to navigating the sales cycle
  • Compelling Event
  • Required Capabilities
  • Budget
  • Decision making process
  • Timeline
  • Business Objectives
  • Competitors

You effectively built value in discovery by tying your client’s why to how your solution can align with their objectives. Quality discovery has led the client to continue on the sales journey – requesting a solution presentation and demo.

In this gap between Discovery (The Why) and demonstrating – the ‘How,’ sales professionals often get caught up in the adrenaline of a ‘hot deal’ and jump overboard before they have a strategic and relevant game plan on how they plan to present the ‘how’ in action.

We get caught up in the great rapport and thinking about all the ways ‘we can help’ – the relevant features and commission that in theory we have the PO laid out before we’ve presented anything. Every sales professional has fallen into this trap (myself included).

Often because we overestimate the value we built on the initial call.

Just because a client sees the value – doesn’t mean they are attached to it – that is a longer dance. Think of planting seeds – it takes time for the roots to take hold and assuming just because you planted the ‘value’ – doesn’t mean the value supersedes the status quo/competition.

I bring this up because – in many ways discovery is the most important part of the sales cycle – it helps you truly meet the customer where they are and understand their ‘why’

A hard lesson (and one I still need practice as I preach) is the need to pause (albeit briefly) between Discovery (The Why) and ‘The How’ – Solution Selling (Demo and value negotiation before contract is signed).

Pause. Sales professionals hate that – we want to move forward, but it is important to pause and plan – reflecting on what you learned in Discovery and breaking it down – not from your point of view (happy ears – ready for PO) but the POV of your client.

Step in their shoes – what is their WHY? How can you answer their WHY? What impact can your solution provide? What hesitations would you have about purchasing your product if you were in their position? What are the strengths (positive outcomes), weaknesses (how does your solution fall short – how can you proactively overcome that), opportunities (ability to positively transform their business) and threats (competition/status quo/lack of product understanding/don’t have the budget or right decision maker.)

Reflecting on the discovery having HAVING A DATA MINDSET empowers you to truly bring value in follow-up conversations. You can take what you heard (active listening) and apply that understanding to preparing a relevant and targeted solution presentation that speaks directly to the unique needs of your buyer.

Data Mindset empowers you to reflect and understand the impact of the Discovery/Why – to answer this critical question: How will the customer be different as a result of doing business with us?

The job of a salesperson isn’t to sell – selling is the result of our work – but our job is to build value and connect the customer needs with our solution. This is why the ‘Data Mindset’ step in Focus on HOW is so important in your sales cycle. You need to understand the problems, customer wants and needs and how you can effectively implement meaningful change – to the emotional and objective why.

I am not a data driven person – but being data driven doesn’t mean you are a statistician speaking like a robot – rather having a data mindset means you are willing to truly think about what was said objectively and empathetically and strategically use that information to build a path forward for your client.


  • Take time to relisten to the call and take additional notes
  • Think about the why behind each answer? Why is faxing a problem for the staff when they need to send medical records? Why is the inability to streamline documentation a problem for their business? What is the pain – how is this impacting the champion, DM and their customers
  • How do they make money – how can our ROI impact their bottom line
  • Listen for subtle cues and expressed pain
    • Why is that bottleneck or positive outcome important to them personally? What stake do they have in resolving this ‘Why’
  • What goals do they have and what is the why driving those unique goals?
  • Sync up with team members (Sales Engineer, FSM, Managers) before the solution presentation so you can prepare for the follow-up with intention.
  • Create your own ‘Why’ answering: Why is this important to the customer? Make your why be customer centric – value selling demands that you focus on the client need. Prioritize Intent: your ‘Why’ is simply I want to get commission – the deal will not go smoothly because your priorities are off kilter. Yes commission/quota is important and it will come – but when you focus on your personal goals over the client’s you will not effectively communicate value and end up losing the deal. Align your why with providing a solution that positively impacts the client and their unique goals.

Data Mindset in short: pause, reflect on discovery by listening to understand and formulate and action strategy on how to best communicate how we answer their why. How will the customer be more successful because of our solution and what impact do we bring?

Thanks for your support and look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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