The other day a sales executive shared with me that using insights during the customer conversation is still so hard. I am not surprised to hear such statements. After all we all have been trained for decades on consultative selling and that methodology has become a strong habit. Habits are hard to crack!
So, what is the difference in using the good old consultative approach followed by Features, Advantages and Benefits versus Insight Selling? What, if used very well, is the power of Insight Selling?
In both methods, you need to understand the Customer Situation very well.
- What is their business, how do they make money?
- What are they trying to achieve (objectives, goals, strategy) this year, next year etc.
- What is their set-up with their current supplier or suppliers (your direct competitors)
- You need to know the expectations of the role these suppliers play in achieving what the customer is trying to achieve
For both, you also need to understand the world through your potential customer’s eyes in terms of challenges, issues, and opportunities they are working on
- What is their main challenge; is there an issue?
- Or, through the customer’s glasses, there may be no issues or challenges – in their view, everything goes fine.
The next part, however, is different; in Selling with Insights you need to understand why and how your potential customer believes the current supplier(s) is helping them in achieving what they are trying to achieve. Many potential customers do not necessarily see a difference in using you as the new supplier versus their current supplier. In their world … you are all the same.
- Although they may have issues, challenges, opportunities
- Instead of switching supplier your contact at the potential customer’s organization will first try to fix any issues, challenges with the current supplier
- Because in their eyes there is no guarantee that switching will solve everything
The second step is very simple: you disagree! As specialists in your own field, you need to form and share YOUR opinion.
- Ask yourself, where is the customer/contact in their buying process? Have they already started to identify what exactly needs to improve at the current supplier? Or do they believe there is a good “Service In Place” and there is no need to change?
- Verify you understand what the customer is trying to achieve
- The next is important: Share your view that “the set-up of your current supplier(s) has flaws and achieving your objectives comes or will come with obstacles. The longer you stay with your current choice the more it will cost you (or exposed to risks, missed opportunities)”. Determine and emphasize together with the customer the monetary impact of these obstacles (risk, cost, missed opportunities) .
- And here comes the INSIGHT: Dear customer, with all my respect on the choices you have made please allow me to share with you why the current supplier does not have the capability to meet your requirements. Be careful to stick with the facts. Now you have the customer’s interest.
You have a different opinion than your potential customer. But your opinion is about the flaws of the current supplier. It is not about your company’s capabilities (The Features, Advantages, and Benefits). Be specific about why you believe the current supplier has not the right set-up, product, process, or whatever you think as a weakness which for the customer should actually be a strength in helping them with achieving what they are trying to achieve.
The power of your insight is that it is challenging your customer’s beliefs. You have shared new information the customer was not aware of. As a matter of fact, the sales rep of the current supplier told your customer a different story. Providing you can back up the shortcomings of the current supplier then you have shared thought-provoking information, new to the customer. The result is that your potential customer starts to doubt his or her previous decision and may start to wonder if changing supplier would help their business better.
Now you need to help the potential customer with identifying what they need to change to and share why you and your company are unique and together you are the only one that can meet their requirements to achieve their objectives. The change comes at a higher price – which is fair because you deliver a better service.
Share and explain the ROI for the customer, which can be saving unforeseen cost, gaining more revenue, reducing risks, being exposed to new opportunities. The shortcomings of the current supplier trigger the opposite outcome
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