The Core Tenet of Sales Discovery

The Core Tenet of Sales Discovery

Jeff Mildon

3/26/20243 min read

The Core Tenet of Sales Discovery

There is a philosophical principle known as "Occam's Razor." Occam's Razor is a problem-solving principle that suggests when faced with multiple explanations or hypotheses for a phenomenon, the simplest one is usually the correct or most accurate one. It advises against unnecessary complexity and assumptions when simpler explanations are available.

Sales discovery might sound like a complex puzzle, but at its core lies a simple and profound principle, the first core tenet of sales discovery. According to this law, every business problem boils down to a single number, and whether it's too small and needs to grow or too large and requires scaling down. In this article, we embark on a journey to explore sales discovery, identifying that single number and making it an engaging process for both sales professionals and clients.

The Four Suits in a card deck:

Think about the four different suits contained in a deck of cards. You have Clubs, Hearts, Diamonds, and Spades. The four suits in sales discovery are – Increase Revenue, Decrease Expenses, Mitigate Risk, and Raise Social Profile. These four objectives are the essence of every business executive's goals. Your mission in a discovery session is simplified: identify a problematic number or metric within these categories. By focusing on these key aspects, you set the stage for a meaningful and effective conversation with your client.

Bonus Points for Digging Deeper:

While pinpointing the first business issue is a great start, the real magic lies in going beyond the obvious. Bonus points are earned when you identify multiple numbers and corresponding problems because, as experience suggests, the initial problem discussed is rarely the most crucial one. It's like solving a mystery where the first clue might lead to more significant revelations.

Double Bonus Points for Gathering an Impact:

These needs serve as the foundation upon which a compelling solution can be crafted. However, the true impact lies not only in identifying these needs and finding the magic number, but also in understanding their implications. By exploring the potential consequences of unmet needs, whether they be lost revenue, decreased efficiency, or missed opportunities, this allows a salesperson to show the value proposition of their offering later. This requires a keen ability to connect the dots between the prospect's needs and the tangible benefits that a solution can provide, thereby illuminating a path towards mutually beneficial outcomes.

Determining Priority through Questions:

Scientific research supports the idea that the best way to determine the priority of problems is by asking the client directly. A simple yet powerful question like "Which of these is the most important?" can provide valuable insights. Understanding the client's perspective helps in navigating the intricate landscape of business challenges effectively.

Navigating the Detective Novel of Data Ownership:

The real art of discovery lies in acknowledging that clients may not have all the answers readily available. It's akin to reading a detective novel to uncover who owns the data, how savings or increases are measured, and who assigns monetary value to them. This detective work adds a layer of excitement to the sales discovery process.

Tying Business, Solutions, and Technology Together:

The climax of the sales engineer's job comes in weaving together the strands of business, solutions, and technology. Demonstrating that your solution provides the best and most unique value becomes the ultimate goal. Remember, the customer is buying the solution, not you. Your opinion matters less; what counts is how well you satisfy Care's First Law of Discovery from the customer's perspective.


In the thrilling adventure of sales discovery, uncovering that single number for each business problem is the key. Ask the customer for their insights, and let the journey unfold. Regardless of the sales methodology you follow, the first core tenet remains the heart and soul of discovery. So, embark on this exciting quest, and remember to enjoy the process of unraveling the mysteries of business challenges.