The days of the sleazy used car salesmen had a remarkable effect on you, me and the rest of the buying public. Yes, you and the average Joe today, loves to buy but hates to be sold. As a result you and other information empowered buyers are now taking matters into their own hands by practicing Self-serve purchasing. And providers are supporting that urge. Who hasn’t gone to WebMD to self-diagnose an ailment, self-prescribe an over-the-counter remedy and then search for the best deal on that medication at the corner drug store… sidestepping intermediaries at every step? That practice is fairly commonplace. If you have a bad experience doing that you might go to social media or review sites to see what solutions others are recommending. That’s all good but you might soon realize that your needs and your preferences are a little special and differ from social norms. No worries, there either as providers like Amazon are developing algorithms that analyze your preferences and past buying experiences to recommend a next great purchase just for you. In the information age this all works well but for two little problems – you like everyone else, feel you have very little time and very little patience in areas where you don’t have domain expertise to pour over myriads of data and opinions to buy the right thing. Enter the new age of selling – Insight Selling.
Self-serve buyers try their best to simplify and quick cycle the purchase decision making process. Recognizing this is often not in the buyers’ best interests, new age sales professionals are seeing real opportunity for at least three fundamental reasons:
- Buyers often choose mismatched solutions as they regularly fail to identify the real problem to be solved (problem identification)
- Buyers often have a limited and somewhat biased view of their world which has them float bogus assumptions or inaccurately associate cause, problem and impact (implication assessment)
- Buyers are shortchanged often by their lack of knowledge, awareness or appreciation of best fit solutions and the resulting benefits (Solution fitting)
Using the WebMD example as reference, the shortcomings listed above would be analogous to an improper diagnosis, over-reliance on a home remedy and lack of awareness of the latest available treatments / medications respectively. New age sales professionals know that life and business are complicated and buyers don’t always see the true shape and depth of a situation or challenge. As a result, their approach is to serve as an informed and trust advisor who helps size up situations objectively, avoid the pitfalls and connect the dots. This approach is Insight Selling.
In a B2B environment, the problem identification, implication assessment and solution fitting of Insight Selling is executed in three process steps – Discover, Connect and Create.
Discover: Yes, selling today is all about problem solving with a heavy reliance on effective problem finding. Through thoughtful questioning and active listening, an Insight seller helps uncover details and paint a clear picture of the current situation. In this discovery mode he challenges assumptions. He digs deep to flesh out business processes and to pinpoint problems. He explores through structured questioning to appreciate customer value drivers and pain points.
Connect: Challenging paradigms the new age seller uses her pattern recognition talents to patch together discrete pieces of evidence to form a holistic view of the business. She builds on a strong rapport base with the customer to foster likability and trust. She collaborates with the business leader to establish cause and effect. She assesses the impact of problems and evaluates the risks involved.
Create: As an innovative problem solver the new age seller helps tailor solutions to business needs. She is adept at highlighting priorities among urgent, important and high impact issues. She thinks outside the box. She helps clarify the desired future state and is able to articulate the solution and the path to get there.
Today’s business environment is challenging. Entrepreneurs need to be playing a quality game leveraging technology and knowledge to stay competitive. And that is why Insight Selling is so effective — not only are problems solved more effectively but customers also regularly come away with a more complete understanding of their business challenges and opportunities. Indeed, Insight Selling takes Solution Selling to another level.
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