Buyers Say: ‘Interactions with Sales People Can Add More Value’
‘Insights Selling’ Could Triple Your Sales Success Says New Book
Are Sellers Adding Value? Most buyers say ‘NO.’ The results of research with buyers shows that interactions with salespeople are falling short of what is expected. In particular they are failing to offer new ideas and insights that really help the customer to buy.
A new book by the Rain Group (called Insight Selling) provides sellers with a guide to increasing their usefulness to the buyer. It sets out 3 key strategies to enable the seller to add significant value over and above the products and services they are selling. Most importantly it offers the potential of increasing sales by as much as a factor of 3.
Are Sellers Adding Value?
Look under the list of benefits and features for your solution and you will find that one important source of potential value for the buyer is missing. That is the salesperson!
However according to buyers it is missing from their interactions with sellers too. Our research with buyers clearly tells us that most salespeople are a lot less important to the buyer and the decision making process than they think they are. Now Rain Group’s new book has brought this issue centre stage.
New Research Published
Called ‘Insights Selling‘ the new book highlights some alarming findings:
– 4 out of 5 buyers said that the salesperson did not ‘educate them with new ideas and perspectives.”
– 6 out of 10 meetings that buyers have with salespeople are ‘not valuable, or don’t live up to expectations.”
‘If the salesperson is of limited value then it is not worth wasting time with them’ that is the way buyers think. That puts the salesperson at a real disadvantage because it limits the level of access, engagement and influence with the buyer.
A Formula For Adding Value
Mike Schultz and John Doerr provide a formula for adding value for the buyer while at the same time providing new access and influence for the seller. It has 3 levels, as follows:
1. Connect dots
The 3 levels combined are what the authors call ‘Insight Selling’. It is a clever view of what the best salespeople are doing – a formula that every seller can apply to make themselves more useful to the buyer.
The 3 levels offer the promise of providing the seller with powerful competitive advantage and of course a lot more sales. Indeed, that could be up to 3 times more sales the book suggests.
Let’s examine each level in overview.
Connecting Dots To Add Value
Winning salespeople don’t just connect with the people they are selling to, but more importantly with what they are trying to achieve. They connect the dots between needs and solutions to help a buyer get from where he / she is now to where he/she wants to be.
When this is done well it goes beyond mere solution selling to:
– Focusing as much on aspirations (gain) as afflictions (pain)
– Emphasizing diagnosis of the need less and building and demonstrating understanding of the need more.
Convincing To Add Value
Winners convince buyers of three things:
• The return on investment is worth pursuing
• The risk is acceptable
• The seller is the best choice among the available options.
By doing all 3 the seller helps the buyer to make ‘the right decisions for the right business reasons’.
Collaborating To Add Value
Winners collaborate with buyers educating them with new ideas or perspectives and engaging with them to co-create the solution.
They can get the buyer thinking – having the confidence to say things such as:
• ‘Have you thought about this?’
• ‘That might not work for you,’
• ‘I don’t think you need this size. I think you need this.’
These are the kind of insightful questions that can push buyers ‘out of their comfort zone and into the learning zone’.
The ‘insight seller’ can develop thinking with the buyer to arrive at a better solution, yet they do this in a way that is constructive and helpful. The seller does not want to simply present the buyer with a solution – that limits engagement and ownership. The emphasis is on co-creating the solution, with the buyer and seller arriving at the definition of the ideal solution together.
Value = Insight
Buyers want to talk to sellers, but only if they bring value to the table. That value is what The Rain Group calls ‘insight.’
By bringing new insights the seller becomes a source of value over-and-above what they are selling. The result is that buyers want to engage and interact with them and the seller has new power and influence over the decision.
The book rightly calls into question some false assumptions that have taken hold in the sales community in recent years. It is that sharing content is not enough. It points out that to be really useful – sellers need to bring a lot more than just information to the table.
Sharing insights and educating the customer is far from the norm in selling and that is a real pity. It is a problem that the publication of ‘Insight Selling’ will help to solve. ‘Insight Selling’ will reward the seller who invests the time in reading it – it is packed with useful exmaples and research which can help sales people and professionals develop their effectiveness. We will be adding this book to our recommendation list for 2014. Hope you enjoy it also.
Please note: A message from the Rain Group – If you order your copy by May 10, RAIN Group has some bonuses for you. You’ll receive an exclusive expert interview series What it Takes to Succeed in Sales Today with John Jantsch, Jill Konrath, Charles H. Green, Andrew Sobel, and 5 lessons from Insight Selling and RAIN Selling Online training programs. You will also be invited to join Insight Selling author, John Doerr for an exclusive webinar, What It Takes to Become an Insight Seller. Plus, RAIN Group is donating their portion of book sales during the launch to the American Heart Association to support congenital heart defect research (learn why here).