How To Deliver Insight & Challenge The Status Quo With Questions

Discovery Template & Guide LI-Phoeonix

In the 2012 Harvard Business Review article titled “The End of Solution Selling,” the Challenger Sale positioned itself as the dominant sales methodology by creating a false dichotomy:

  1. Ask information-rich customers generic questions, or
  2. Challenge them with insight.

But what if salespeople asked better questions than “What keeps you up at night?” Could questions rise from the ashes like a phoenix if salespeople traded generic questions for ones that are insight-directed?  

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Insight Selling Map: The Answers Behind The Questions Illuminates The Road To Value

It’s counter intuitive that a list of discovery questions will not help your salespeople lead customers to value until they first know the answers. Without the answers to illuminate the road to value, your salespeople will get lost in a sea of questions, because each customer is unique.

Imagine you’re directing someone to a destination: They’ve misinterpreted your directions, and they are now lost. How are you going to get them back on course when all you have are written directions?

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How Can I Deliver Insight To An Executive With 25 Years Of Experience?

Insight Kid PostToday, most sales and marketing executives would agree that they should deliver insight to customers. But they question how can they deliver insight to an executive with decades of experience? The problem is that they’ve usually set the bar too high for themselves. To deliver insight, they believe they must teach the customer something new about how to run their business. No wonder they can’t do it! Instead of trying to out-think a c-level executive, it’s easier to find insights within the customer’s blind spots; namely, the optimism and status quo biases. Once salespeople discover how fertile blind spots are for uncovering insights, they will finally be able to find and deliver insights.  

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How Video Role Play Can Help Salespeople Articulate Value

Video Role PLayWhen sales messaging is delivered through a video role play platform, salespeople will no longer look at it once and forget it in the heat of a sales call. If they are required to video record themselves delivering the sales message, they will get the practice they need to internalize it, especially when they practice six times before hitting send. But while the video role play delivery platform will ensure that salespeople can deliver the sales message, it cannot ensure that the message will increase sales.

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The Status Quo Bias: Why Customers Deviate From Rational Economic Behavior

Blindfolded businessman

Blindfolded businessmanThe value to buy your product is overwhelming, and yet the customer decides not to buy. Why? The optimism and status quo bias block customers from making the rational choice to buy your product. To help customers see the value of change, sellers can counteract these negative biases by performing a reality check on the customer’s baseline and completing a risk assessment of the status quo. 

Counteract the optimism bias with a baseline reality check

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Can your salespeople articulate value or does it sound like magic?

MagicAfter nine years of working with companies on sales messaging, I have found the number one inhibitor to salespeople articulating value is they don’t create enough contrast between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures of owning their product. And when salespeople fail to make the contrast feel concrete, customers can’t see the value, so it just feels like magic.

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Neuroscience Proves We Buy On Emotion & Justify With Logic & Why Deals Get Stuck In No Decision

Justify emotion with logic (2016_02_12 20_33_18 UTC)The expression that “People buy on emotion and justify with logic” has always made intuitively sense to me, but rationally it seemed like BS.

You could say “so what, who cares.” But did you know that 95% of our purchase decisions, according to Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman, take place unconsciously? And yet, when we seek to persuade c-level executives, we sell almost exclusively to Mr. Rational, and wonder why deals get stuck in paralysis for analysis and end in no decision.

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The Godfather of Insight Selling – An Interview with Geoffrey Moore

BlogProvokeEveryone in technology knows of Geoffrey Moore as the author of “Crossing the Chasm.” His book has sold over 1 million copies, and crossing the chasm has become a metaphor that is universally used by companies with complex products to explain why they struggle to sell to the mainstream market. But not everyone knows that he is also the godfather of Insight Selling. In March 2009, for example, the HBR published his article “In a downturn, provoke your customer.” In this article, Moore explained why salespeople must provoke their customers with insight if they expect to have their products funded in a slow economy. I sat down with Moore to talk about the inside secrets for Insight Selling:

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Geoffrey Moore on Crossing the Chasm with Narrative Based Selling

Blog Chasm

If you work in technology, you know Geoffrey Moore is the famous author of “Crossing the Chasm.” This book has sold over 1 million copies, and crossing the chasm has become a metaphor that is universally used by companies with complex products to explain why they struggle to sell to the mainstream market. But you may not know that he also has a PhD in English literature, and this may explain why he is a proponent of narrative based selling.

Q1: Our first question for our guest is does he believe storytelling could help customers cross the chasm? “I am a huge believer in narrative. And if you think about it, particularly before the chasm, it’s 90% narrative.”

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HBR Article On When To Sell With Facts And Figures, And When To Appeal To Emotions

HBR3I just had an article published in the HBR. It’s neuroscience meets sales, and it bursts the biggest misconception is sales (click here for HBR article).

The article looks at the sales expression that customers “Buy On Emotion, And Justify With Logic” and it turns out that neuroscientists claim it’s 95% correct.

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Why Success Stories Fail At Selling Change & Insight Scenarios Win

Insight ScenarioSuccess stories are effective to use as proof and reinforcement late in the buying cycle once a customer has already formed a complete buying vision that fully recognizes “why change?” and “why you?”

These stories are easy to tell because you’re providing proof to a customer who has already recognized that he or she has a problem that your solution can solve. Success stories are effective because they gloss over the problem so that they can focus on the solution as proof.

The problem is that the vast majority of customers at any stage of the sales cycle are not yet sold on why they should change or why they should change through you.

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Example of a story that Flops vs. Pops

Win vs FailBy recognizing the difference between an insight scenario (i.e. an insight based story) that “pops” versus one that “flops,” you can see for yourself how your own insight scenarios can be changed so that they inspire prospective customers to buy, instead of providing them with no reason to change.

The mistakes made in the story that flops are common. Because the effects of not having the seller’s capabilities are abstract, the story fails to make the buyer want to change, because the risks do not feel real.

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Insight StorySelling- Lowest Risk & Best Way To Deliver Insight

Insight Selling Paper InciteImagine if your salespeople could shine a light of insight on today’s empowered customers so that they no longer underestimate the cost of the status quo and the benefits of change.

Your salespeople would no longer have to chase these empowered buyers down the road of commoditization and discounting, because they would know how to sell value and differentiate your product.

As your customers discovered the unique value of your product on their own terms, your company would achieve higher win rates, shorter sales cycles, and higher margins.

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Six reasons why Insight StorySelling trumps Verbal Persuasion

Insight Storytelling-11- Puts the customer’s ego to sleep

With an insight scenario, you can deliver insights that will only challenge the customer’s thinking, and not the customer. Because insight scenarios are about someone else, the customer does not feel under attack. A story simply presents a scenario that allows the customer to draw their own conclusions. Without feeling pressured, the customer can now relax and listen to your message, and possibly gain enough insight that they start to tell themselves a new story, where new choices make more sense.

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Why buyers push-back on insight selling & what you can do about it.

No InsightEven though insight is what buyers need, it may not be what they initially want. By the time buyers engage with a salesperson, they may already have an idea of their needs, the solution they believe they want, and what they are willing to pay. So how does the seller use insight to challenge the customer’s thinking without challenging the customer? 

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It’s amazing that 10-20% of salespeople can actually sell value

Love-Salespeople2x2While many companies complain that 80-90% of their salespeople can’t sell value, they are spraying their sales force with product presentations, and praying that their salespeople will be able to figure out why customers should buy their product. But instead of complaining, these companies should feel blessed that they can increase sales by capturing and sharing this valuable tribal knowledge with the rest of their sales force.

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Gartner study- buyers rate sales conversations dead last, but there’s hope- share customer stories

 

No SalesmanImagine running a sales team where the last person that your customers want to speak with is one of your salespeople? That’s the conclusion of a recent Gartner survey where Salespeople came in last place after technical and industrial experts, services and support, and senior executives as “the most influential personal interactions across the entire buying cycle.” (click) 

So what’s the problem?

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Telling A Story That Hooks Audiences

“Colleague Michael Harris wrote this blog post recently, and I couldn’t stop cracking up! I laughed so hard I had to read the story to my husband Tim. He laughed just as hard.

Michael uses storytelling in his sales training, and he uses this story to demonstrate why it works. Just imagine telling this story in corporate language. We’d be bored to tears.

But here’s another way to think about this story. We all have at least one story like this. A story when we screwed up big time. A story about a time we failed. A story about a near miss. A story about good friends who stick around even after misadventures.

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InsightSelling through StorySelling

Insight Selling Paper InciteTrue story. Before a meeting, a potential customer downloads, and then watches 11-videos on SAP’s CRM. So by the time the meeting rolls around, the last thing the potential customer wanted was more information, because they’re drowning in it. All they wanted from the salesperson was insight into three key areas.

So how do you sell value and differentiate your product to these empowered buyers?

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Insight Selling- How to sell value & differentiate your product with Insight Scenarios.

Buy on Amazon click or download Chapter One click

300x300Book Description

Selling value to B2B buyers today can feel like trying to stop a freight train that’s hurtling towards the sales graveyard of commoditization and discounting.

Today, an empowered buyer has done research, has a clear idea of his or her firm’s needs, and how much the firm is willing to pay. This type of buyer does not want a salesperson to talk about features and deliver a series of open-ended questions that delivers no value. What this buyer wants is insight. So, how does a salesperson deliver insight so that it challenges the customer’s thinking without challenging the customer?

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Insight selling- How Microsoft & SAP do it better

InsightSelling CoffeeWith the rise of the empowered buyer, it is no wonder that Microsoft, and SAP have embraced insight selling. But these companies have also learned that there is a gap between theory and the practical application, because insight selling is more than just using data, facts, and brilliance to shock and awe buyers about the error of their ways.

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