The term insight selling has come about in an era of educated buyers, and is now influencing sales strategies everywhere. Since buyers can conduct plentiful research on potential solutions to their issues, they no longer turn to salespeople until they’ve got a relatively firm grasp on what their solution should look like. Salespeople armed only with a product or service pitch that might have served well many years ago will not succeed in this new environment. A successful sale strategy takes insight (hence the term) into the prospect, their specific issues and needs, and what solutions will actually benefit them.
Numerous methodologies for insight selling have been developed—from “only approaching companies for which your pitch will work” to “telling a convincing story” to “successfully bridging the gap between what your prospect wants and what your product will do.” While all of these contain some truth and have some usefulness, there are certain basic principles to insight selling that must always be present no matter the specialized methodology used.
#1 Selling a great product or service.
This may seem like something that’s a total “given” that shouldn’t even be brought up. But much of the time a salesperson goes to work for a company, lured by a great compensation plan and benefits, without even taking this into account: are they selling great product or service that will truly benefit companies that purchase it?
If not, you’re probably in the wrong business. Crafty sales pitching might get you a sale, but if you haven’t really helped the customer or provided a needed quality product or service, what good is it? In the end how happy is that customer really going to be? How well will you sell that product or service in the future when its real reputation gets out? But given that your product is actually helpful and will address a customer’s needs, you already have an opening to the sales cycle.
#2 Find out all about the prospect.
That means, be an expert on your prospect’s industry and issues normally encountered within it. Beyond that, make yourself as much of an expert as possible on the prospect company you are approaching. Do as much research as you can before you approach them.
Then after you approach them, listen. Before you launch into your pitch, find out everything you can from your contact or contacts at that company. Gain a great understanding of their needs and wants.
#3 Demonstrate how your product or service fulfills their needs.
After gaining this insight, highlight to the prospect the features of your product or service that genuinely address their issues-that is the key to insight selling. Engage them in dialogue to make sure they understand how your product will really help them. Then fill in other attributes your product has that you see will benefit them, too.
#4 Have readily to hand data about competition, and be ready to strike it down.
If you haven’t fully researched out your competition’s strengths and weaknesses and how your product or service compares, shame on you. At any point during your dialogue with your prospect, a competitor’s name will almost surely come up. You must be fully ready for that—and ready to argue persuasively in favor of what you are selling.
It should be added that generally knocking the competition is usually unsuccessful. When you argue for your product and against a competitor’s, use facts. Above all, don’t lie—nothing will shoot down your sale faster. Being straightforward and even somewhat complementary of a competitor’s product or service shows honesty and a sincere effort to help your prospect and can have a great effect on your overall sales performance.
#5 Insight selling will not work without an adequate CRM solution.
Insight selling mandates that a sales force must keep track of plentiful data about prospect companies before, during and even after a sale. Multiply that kind of data times the number of prospects you’re working—and the necessity to rate that data as to importance and place it in the right stage of the sales pipeline—and you can readily see where salespeople will quickly be groping in the dark without a way to stay on top of each and every detail. Only a leading-edge CRM solution will function as the backbone of insight selling.
With the basic principles of insight selling in place, your sales strategy can gain the full power needed to succeed.
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