How to be a good leader

selling with insight

sean spurgin

Black Friday has been and gone!

Hope you got the bargains you wanted. I personally had an interesting experience on Friday. I was buying my son a laptop for Xmas, as he wants to play Mine Craft PC.

I had no time to go to the shops or even if I did have the time, I wanted to avoid the chaos. I was happy doing my shopping online, so off I went to do my research……What I quickly found is you need a certain type of laptop to play games on! Having read many geeky reviews I was none the wiser.

So I decided to pick up the phone to a well-known PC outlet. What I was looking for was some expert advice, someone to provide me with some clarity and simplify things for me.

To my surprise, I actually got this. My call was answered by an upbeat individual who promptly asked some really pertinent questions. He made some great recommendations, but he also challenged my thinking. I was going for ‘cheap’ and this meant I would not pick up a good gaming laptop. He shared some useful information and got me thinking…and in the end, due to the insight, the advisor shared I changed my mind…..

What a great example of service #makeithuman

As customers, we now do a whole lot more research before we buy and the stats show this…

‘89% of people now research online before buying, i.e. through Google’ – Hilliard 2015

In the past, consumers and businesses were often stuck dealing with sales professionals who controlled the conversation.

The more they knew they had what the buyer wanted, the more they could perpetuate the negative stereotypes of sales professionals.

This behaviour may be the reason that so many people don’t have a positive image of the sales profession. Selling does have a bad reputation.

In the past, deception was only possible because buyers lacked information or expertise.

Now, since buyers have reviews, ratings and comparison shopping at their fingertips, sellers have more incentives to be fair and honest. It’s ‘seller beware’ as Dan Pink would say.

Salespeople need to be experts, they need to be problem finders and bring fresh thinking to the table.

Think about someone you seek out when you’re working on a challenge. They help you think things through – see what’s important.

  • They ask the right questions.
  • They listen.
  • They don’t just give you answers – they help you come up with them.

On the other hand, they’re not afraid to tell you what they think, share their ideas and take a stand when they feel strongly about something.

People like this make us better, they help us see what’s possible and that is why we get so much from interacting with them, resulting in us seeking them out again and again.

The sellers who are successful these days are starting to look just like these people. Today’s buyers have a lot of information and choices because of the internet, but they don’t necessarily have more wisdom or confidence. Like me with my laptop!! They need people to share ideas and help them think ideas through. That is where insight selling comes in.

The best salespeople are able to challenge their customers’ thinking and bring fresh insight to the table – what the customer does not know they don’t know.

The term ‘insight selling’ has come about in an era of educated buyers and is now influencing sales strategies everywhere. Since customers can conduct plentiful research on potential solutions to their issues, they no longer turn to salespeople until they’ve got a relatively firm grasp on what their solution should look like. Salespeople armed only with a product or service pitch that might have served them well many years ago will not succeed in this new environment.

A successful sales strategy takes insight (hence the term) to the customer, their specific issues and needs, and what solutions will actually benefit them.

 

Leading with Insight

Salespeople will sometimes need to bring up the idea proactively. It’s the rare customer that calls and says, ‘Hey, do you have any new ideas for me?’ It’s up to the salesperson to create the opportunity and communicate it so that the customer says (or thinks) something like, ‘Very interesting. I didn’t know that was possible. That sounds great.’

Insight also creates customer loyalty. Customers are three times more loyal to salespeople who proactively brought opportunities to their attention.

Educating customers not only share the seller’s expertise but also demonstrates the seller’s willingness to collaborate.

 

Linking to Insight

Great salespeople listen for gifts in conversations that provide an opportunity to share insight. They don’t push or operate on their own agenda. Their mindset is of one of being on the customer’s agenda and, if the opportunity arises, they ‘link’ insight to what is being said in the conversation. They provide value in the form of sparking ideas, inspiring ‘AHA! moments’. You’re not just there to sell them something; you’re there to shape ideas and inspire changes that could benefit them as customers.

The best salespeople help customers think outside the box by asking tough questions, pushing them out of their comfort zones and challenging their assumptions. When they do, customers often come to insights on their own.

Remember:

To sell well is to convince someone else to part with resources – not to deprive that person, but to leave them better off in the end!