True 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?
It’s difficult, because buyers have already done their research online. So by the time they engage a salesperson, they already know what they want, and the price they’re willing to pay. And when your product is complex, selling value is especially difficult, because customers lack the time and expertise to form an accurate buying vision on their own. So if salespeople don’t challenge what customers have learned online with insight, then sales will be forced to follow the customer down the road of commoditization and discounting, because the customer has a limited view of the value of your product.
Insight Selling Fail
But insight selling is more than just using data, facts, and your brilliance to shock and awe buyers about the error of their ways.
Picture this. It’s 8:37 am, and one of your salespeople is on the elevator riding up to the 37th floor to see one of your largest potential customers. The 27-years old salesperson is about to sit at the boardroom table with a c-level executive with 25-years of experience, and deliver insight by teaching the executive the error of their ways. How do you think that conversation is going to go?
I call this the ‘black eye and bloody nose’ approach.
Insight Selling Win
Instead of using a direct approach to deliver insight, we suggest an indirect approach. By wrapping your sales insight up in a customer scenario, your salespeople will be able to challenge your customer’s thinking without challenging the customer. Because an Insight Scenario is about someone else, the customer won’t feel attacked. It 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.
And Insight Selling through StorySelling presents companies with a huge opportunity for a big win, because according to Ben Horowitz (one of the most influential Venture Capitalist at Andreessen-Horowitz- investors in Airbnb, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter) “Storytelling is the most underrated skill.”
“If you don’t have a great story… it’s hard to get people to invest in the product.” (source: “Your Story Is Your Strategy” Forbes 4-29-14.).
So through a combination of Insight Scenarios, listening, and questions, we show salespeople how to reframe the customer’s buying vision so that they can sell value and differentiate their product.