Everyone is talking about how sales & marketing must now learn how to deliver insights to their customers, because the internet has changed how people buy. So by the time a customer now engages a salesperson, they’re already 60% of the way through their buying cycle, because they’ve done most of their research online. So they don’t need more information from a salesperson. What they need is insight into what the information means.
But what is insight, why is it important, and how do you deliver it?
Why is insight important?
Without a salesperson’s insights, customers are forced to over simplify their purchase, because they’re constrained by both time and expertise. So customers will, for instance, strip out the unique value for each supplier, because it’s just too overwhelming to compare anything other than apples to apples. And now that all products look the same, the only differentiator is price. Unfortunately, this self-service model produces a watered down solution for the customer, and it erodes the seller’s margins.
When Insight Sellers deliver insights, they shock customers by breaking their thought patters, and then they rescue customers by replacing the broken pattern with one that is new and improved. That’s the Aha experience. And it’s also how a salesperson reframes the customer’s buying vision when they’re already more than halfway down the road of their buying cycle.
A marketing company, for example, could reframe their client’s thinking that their biggest competitor isn’t another company, but it is in fact customers who have decided not to buy.
How do you find insight?
Salespeople find insight by trying to figure out what’s counterintuitive about their core sales message? Where’s the gap between what the customer believes today, and what they need to believe to buy your product? An example could be that a salesman generally gears their sales message towards why customers should buy from them vs. the competition. But because it’s counter intuitive that their largest competitor is their customer deciding to do nothing, and not another company, they lose out on a lot of business, because they’re pushing why us and the customer’s wondering why change. The Insight Seller will then offer a way to fix the broken pattern by suggesting that the salesperson’s message first addresses why change, before why us.
How to create insight?
You may discover that you find insight only 20% of the time, and the other 80% of the time when Insight Selling you have to work at trying to create it. We suggest you try to create insight by simply increasing the contrast between hell if the customer remains with their current broken pattern, and heaven if they adopt your new and improved pattern. And then add customer knowledge to make this image crystal clear.
With this approach you’re betting that the customer doesn’t yet have the insight to see this image at its maximum contrast and focus. And this is generally a good bet because customers lack both the time and expertise to do this on their own. And it’s also a good bet because other salespeople are often only able to paint a superficial picture of the problem, such as the customer’s current system is prone to error or lacks timeliness, because they lack the customer knowledge needed to complete the picture.
How to deliver it?
But instead of using a direct approach to challenge the customer, we suggest you deliver an insight scenario™. And because an insight scenario is a customer story about another customer, it’s non-confrontational, so it avoids the potential for the customer to feel attacked, become defensive, and then shut-down.
When the customer listens to your insight scenario, for instance, they begin to realize that they’re no longer ankle deep in problems, but that they’re really drowning in the middle of the lake. And that’s the time, not before, that the Insight Seller completes the circle of insight by offering to rescue the customer with their new and improved pattern.
Insight Sellers reframe their customers thinking so that they can sell value and differentiate their product. They do this by using insights to break, and then fix their customer’s thought patterns. To make sure that their sales bag is always full of insights, Insight Sellers are always looking for ways to find or create insights. And because insight scenarios make abstracts facts and figures feel real, they make customers care. That’s why charity donation letters are able to pull two times the donations when the letter is about one real person vs. facts and figures about many.