With Insight Selling you win complex sales
Geplaatst op 6 november 2017 door Ronald Swensson

Think about someone you seek out when you’re working through a challenge. They help you think things through and see what’s important. They ask the right questions. They listen. They don’t just give you answers— they help you come up with them. And yet, they’re not afraid to tell you what they think, share their ideas, and take a stand when they feel strongly about something. People like this make us better. They help us see what’s possible. That’s why we get so much from interacting with them. That’s why we seek them out again and again. Salespeople who are winning major sales these days are starting to look just like these people. With the rise of the Internet, today’s buyers have a lot of information and choices, but they don’t necessarily have more wisdom or confidence. They need people to discuss quick wins and to share new ideas and help them think these ideas through. Yet this is where so many sellers are struggling, falling short and losing, while a select few are getting it right and winning. How do we know? In our Sales Skills Monitor - an ongoing research project that measures the competence level of Dutch B2B-sales reps - we studied the results of almost 700 B2B-sales reps to find out what winners do differently from those who come in second place. The top six things sales winners do most differently in the sales cycle from second-place finishers is that successful salespeople discuss quick wins and share new ideas with their customers, coach customers to achieve business results, communicate a strong value proposition, work together with people in the customers’ organization, ask for commitment each time and cultivate the relationship. 

Buyers are doing their research on the Internet, and traditional salespeople are getting left behind. It is tempting to throw your hands up in defeat and simply respond reactively to the opportunities your customers give you. This approach can drive intense price competition. To avoid this commoditization, salespeople must create value and shape opportunities. Shaping opportunities requires that a sales rep is able to change the way a customer is thinking about his or her needs. It's all about disrupting the customer’s thinking so that he or she takes a few steps back and reconsider the need or solution. Through building trust and credibility, and through sharing relevant insights - quick wins and new ideas - based on credible research or experience, the sales rep challenges the buyer to think through what’s wrong or what’s missing in his or her prescribed approach. Shaping opportunities creates a win-win because it helps mitigate competition and price sensitivity for the seller while resulting in a better solution for the customer. Creating opportunities requires the sales rep to make the customer aware of a new issue or opportunity or raise the sense of urgency of an issue to act sooner. This is most applicable when the customer is very early in - or not even in - their buying process. The sales rep that engages the customer at this level is trying to provoke a need rather than responding to a request. As in the shape mode, sales reps must build trust and credibility and share relevant insight based on credible research or experience. By doing this, the seller challenges the buyer to think through the risks of not prioritizing and accelerating an initiative. Creating opportunities creates a win-win because it helps mitigate competition and price sensitivity for the seller while helping the customer move forward on an initiative to help them make money, save money, or manage risks.

Is the concept of Insight Selling new? Yes and no! I've been teaching my participants for more than 20 years that they use a 'rabbit-out-of-a-hat' if sales conversations suffering from 'anemia'. And that can occur when customers are frequently being visited. A ‘rabbit-out-of-a-hat’ can be a new product application, market research, customer experiences, etc. It can also be used when a buyer should be doing something and the buyer has little or no idea about it until you bring it up. But there is a second category of insights: interaction insights. Interaction insights are what happens when the seller helps the buyer gain new perspectives on old problems, become aware of opportunities they were previously unaware of and develop bold new ideas for addressing their challenges. The key is that, with interaction insights, it’s the interaction between the buyer and seller itself that leads to the development of the insight.

As mentioned above, creating and shaping opportunities requires the sales rep to leverage insight to challenge the customer’s mindset. Insight is information or ideas that are based on credible research, authoritative content, or relevant experiences and are tailored to a buyer’s challenges and opportunities. When shared, it encourages the buyer to think about their needs in a new way, showing them a path to solve a challenge or capitalize on an opportunity by leveraging the capabilities and differentiators offered by the seller. The Insight Skills training program by Selling, will teach your team exactly what they need to do to succeed with an insight-based approach. They’ll learn how to create conversations with buyers on the premise of ideas and insights, maximize relationship strength based on value, and more. The landscape of buying and selling has changed more in recent years than it has in preceding decades. Buyers are more sophisticated and, thanks to the Internet, are awash in information and research. At the same time, executives are searching - often in vain - for new ways to innovate, compete, and improve their success. When sales reps bring valuable insights and ideas to buyers, they strengthen relationships, differentiate from competition, and win more sales. Insight Skills by Sellingnet teaches sales reps how to create conversations based on ideas, inspire with insights, and set themselves and their companies apart from the pack.

To develop insights download the Insight Selling Map.

Reference list: 
Insight Selling: Surprising research on what sales winners do differently, Mike Schultz and John E. Doer (Rain Group), 2014; 
Insight Selling: How to sell value & differentiate your product with Insight Scenarios, Michael Harris (Insight Demand), 2014; 
The Challenger Sale: Taking control of the customer conversation, Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson (CEB), 2011; 
SPIN Selling Revised, research paper, Ronald Swensson (Sellingnet), 2005;
Sales Skills Monitor, research paper, Ronald Swensson (Sellingnet), 2015. 
Insight Selling Map & Insight Sales Conversation Process: Ronald Swensson (Sellingnet), 2017.
See also our Jan L. Wage Library, click here.


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