- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (29 April 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781118875353
- ISBN-13: 978-1118875353
- ASIN: 1118875354
- Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3 x 23.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 363 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Insight Selling: Surprising Research on What Sales Winners Do Differently Hardcover – 29 Apr 2014
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From the Inside Flap
What do winners of major sales do differently than the sellers who almost won, but ultimately came in second place?
Mike Schultz and John E. Doerr, bestselling authors and world-renowned sales experts, set out to find the answer. They studied more than 700 business-to-business purchases made by buyers who represented a total of $3.1 billion in annual purchasing power. When they compared the winners to the second-place finishers, they found surprising results.
Not only do sales winners sell differently, they sell radically differently than the second-place finishers.
In recent years, buyers have increasingly seen products and services as replaceable. You might think this would mean that the sale goes to the lowest bidder. Not true! A new breed of sellerthe insight selleris winning the sale with strong prices and margins even in the face of increasing competition and commoditization.
In Insight Selling, Mike and John share the surprising results of their research on what sales winners do differently and outline exactly what you need to do to transform yourself and your team into insight sellers. They introduce a simple three-level model based on what buyers say tip the scales in favor of the winners:
- Level 1 Connect. Winners connect the dots between customer needs and company solutions while also connecting with buyers as people.
- Level 2 Convince. Winners convince buyers that they can achieve maximum return, that the risks are acceptable, and that the seller is the best choice among all options.
- Level 3 Collaborate. Winners collaborate with buyers by bringing new ideas to the table, delivering new ideas and insights, and working with buyers as a team.
They also found that much of the popular and current advice given to sellers can damage sales results. Insight Selling is both a strategic and tactical guide that will separate the good advice from the bad and teach you how to put the three levels of selling to work to inspire buyers, influence their agendas, and maximize value. If you want to find yourself and your team in the winners circle more often, this book is a must-read.
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Schultz and Doerr are established sales-trainers specializing in business-to-business sales. From 2012 to 2013 their company, Rain Today, surveyed 700 businesses. The aggregate purchases of these businesses was $3.1 billion a year. They also interviewed in excess of 150 corporate buyers.
The results of their survey indicated that the differences between those who won the sale and those who were contenders, but did not get the sale, was clear.
Insight Selling is the authors’ analysis of this rich body of data, and describes a set of conclusions.
If you are the Chief Information Officer of a company and realized you need to make a major investment to improve your company’s effectiveness, what would you do? As a responsible professional, you would do as much research as you could, prior to inviting sellers to give you a presentation of their offering. Your might talk to colleagues and other’s in your field, but you would certainly do appropriate desktop research.
By the time the buyer meets the sellers, the expectations of the meeting are be considerably different to what they would have been in 1970. The seller who uses techniques that were effective forty years ago, is unlikely to be successful.
Selling moved from telling buyers what they need and giving them good reasons why they should buy, to connecting the buyer’s needs to your solution. This is not a subtle shift; it represented a change in the business context. When products were not plentiful, there was a need for a salesman (mostly male,) to inform you of a new product and to explain why you needed it. New products came to satisfy needs that many people did not realise they had, or realise they needed. It became necessary for a sales person to identify the need and connect it to their product. This is known as “solution selling.”
As business becomes even more sophisticated, so must selling.
Shultz and Doerr describe a three-part process that emerges from their comprehensive research. Their process in not the opinions of successful sellers, rather it is an understanding of professional buyers. In fact, when the authors did research on what sellers thought was important to buyers, they found that the sellers misunderstood important issues.
The authors’ identified three Levels in selling, and each is required to give the best chance of success.
The first Level is to “Connect”. This connecting works in two dimensions. The seller is no longer required to diagnose the needs and problems the seller has. To illustrate the difference the authors relate a situation where a buyer sent the seller a statement of their challenges, why the challenges exist, and what they wanted from the seller in order to deal with them.
What the buyer does welcome is a demonstration by the seller of an understanding of the challenges. “Its old news that buyers have a lot more information about everything than in decades past,” stated the authors.
What the buyer prefers is that sellers focus on what the buyer aspires to achieve, rather than the problems the company experiences.
The second dimension of Level 1 selling is that of the relationship. Those who assert that relationships do not matter are in error. Buyers buy from people with whom they feel comfortable. They always have, and still do.
Achieving Level 1 will not get the sale. It will only put the seller “in the game.” The next two levels are required.
The Level 2 is “Convince”. Sellers need to convince the buyer of the three matters.
Buyers are concerned that the investment they are making gives them a return on their investment. Buyer’s remorse in a corporate setting has consequences ranging far wider than that of a retail purchase. Then, buyers must be convinced that the risk they are taking in making the purchase is “acceptable.” No purchase is risk free, so it is up to the seller to show how the inevitable risk falls within the ‘acceptable’ range.
Finally, the seller must convince the buyer that doing business with him “is the best choice among the available options.”
The “convincing” must be articulated; buyers cannot be presumed to know this. The seller needs manage convincing carefully so that it does not impair the relationship element identified in Level 1.
The third level, “Collaborate,” gets to the heart of the process. The authors’ research showed that winners “collaborate” far more often than those who came second.
Buyers want sellers to educate them with new ideas or perspectives. Despite the fact that they know their needs and situation, they want to feel that they have been enriched by the sales conversation.
They also need to work with the buyer so both parties bring what they can to the situation. Together they produce more than they expected.
Shultz and Doerr’s “Insight Selling” will definitely change the way you respond to Requests for Proposals, or present your product or services. The book’s easily accessible model is profound and valuable.
See that everyone is sales reads this.
Readability Light ---+- Serious
Insights High -+--- Low
Practical High +---- Low
*Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy and is the author of Strategy that Works
“Its old news that buyers have a lot more information about everything than in decades past,” stated the authors.
This book does a great job of establishing the benchmarks, based on their in-depth analysis and research that drive strong value selling. You can achieve greater success by aligning with customers at a whole new level. They guide you through a process that helps you understand how you can create insight across three dimensions or levels:
1. Connect – they go beyond just relationship building. Insight selling drives solution building and connecting the dots between key business issues / drivers and value-driven solutions
2. Convince – persuading a decision requires understanding customer risks and what is acceptable, and then bringing solutions that deliver a strong return on investment. This is how you win today, delivering ROI.
3. Collaboration – I like how they establish a new way of thinking about collaboration. It is not just engaging in an interactive discussion, it is about managing the sales process by leading an exchange aimed at getting results. It is about creating demand and guiding an opportunity to a successful close.
They go on to profile the attributes and competencies required for Insight Selling, as well as the mistakes to avoid in selling this new way.
High performing salespeople (and their managers!) would be well served to read this book. Bring your highlighter, you’ll need it.
Schultz & Doerr argue that not only your product, but you as the salesperson needs to offer relevant value to the buyer. This is done by actively inspiring buyers with new ideas and perspectives. This book teaches how to do this in detail and, therefore, it becomes a must-read for any salesperson.
In the past it salespeople could only sell when companies have specific issues they needed to resolve. Insight Selling, however, goes beyond that situation, and opens up opportunities for salespeople to sell their products and services even when no apparent problems exist. This gives salespeople the chance to sell and earn more than before. That idea alone should be enough reason for any salesperson to read the book.