Insight selling is a hot topic these days, and I get a lot of interest from clients who want to talk about how to implement the power of selling with insights at their firm or practice. During the course of engagements, I get a lot of questions around the topic as well – because even though Insight Selling is a hot commodity, and firms see the value that insight selling can deliver, a lot of firms continue to struggle with implementation. So with that in mind, I’d like to walk you through two categories of Insight Selling, and spark some ideas in your mind about how you could start implementing insight selling in your practice, in your firm or your business.
Opportunity insights help you stand out as a thought leader
The first category of insight selling is what we call an opportunity insight. An opportunity insight is when the seller proactively brings up a new idea, a new concept or a new approach to the buyer and gets the buyer’s attention.
It’s what happens when the proverbial spark goes off, and buyers start seeing new possibilities, options and approaches they previously had not considered. It’s basically when the seller reaches out and says something along the lines of, “Hey, I’ve got this new approach. I think it will be exciting for you and your firm. Let’s take half an hour to sit down and talk about it, so I can walk you through the entire process.”
The key point here is that it has to be new. It can’t just be something that has been tried-and-tested, or they read about in last week’s edition of Harvard’s Business Review. It has to be something that’s truly new and groundbreaking, and you’ll need to be able to show your client how specifically and exactly it will benefit them – walking them through the process step by step.
Now interestingly, being able to do this has impact on more than just making the sale. Our research at RAIN Group has shown that buyers are three times more loyal to sellers who proactively bring opportunities and new insights to them – in other words, who are selling with insights.
Interaction Insights help you build the relationship
The second category of insight selling is what we call interaction insights. Interaction insights are what happens when you put a buyer and a seller in a room, and they start bouncing ideas off each other. It’s where the seller takes on the role of a consultant or trusted advisor, and walks the buyer through a process, resulting in a highly engaging, valuable interaction for both.
In the process, the seller helps sharpen the buyer’s thinking, enhances their conclusions, and helps them see how they could accomplish an outcome that is significantly better and gets them much closer to their desired result than before. And the buyer helps the seller deliver a more compelling business case, value proposition, or uncover unexpected ways in which their product or service could be used within the client’s organization.
It’s about helping your buyers think outside the box by asking tough questions, by playing devil’s advocate, by interjecting new ideas and new approaches. By playing the role of the creative genius who comes up with this crazy left-field idea that nobody ever considered, but ultimately can deliver results that are dramatically significantly improved from before. In short, it’s about you walking the walk, and exhibiting the behaviors, actions and ideas of a true trusted advisor.
It’s not about one or the other – it’s about combining both
Opportunity insight and interaction insight go together. It’s very hard to do one (educating with new ideas and perspectives) without doing the other as well (acting like a change agent). When combined, they act as a powerful mechanism to help sales winners win more deals, build the foundation for long-term customer loyalty and repeat sales. By driving change with the ideas that matter, true insight sellers ultimately become known as trusted advisors to their clients, their peers and their industry.
Do you have an example of how you were able to leverage the power of selling with insights ? Suggestions as to how to deliver opportunity insights ? Or specific tips for how to build interaction insights into the joint discovery process ?