Be Assertive in Sales (Without Getting Fired)
By Mike Schultz


A long time ago, I was fly fishing with a grizzled, old, big company leadership consultant. I asked him what he thought differentiated good consultants from great consultants—those at the pinnacle of the game.

He said, "Let me think."

A little while later, we were in the middle of the river when he turned to me and said, "A great consultant will say what he has to say to the client—what the client needs to hear—but that might get the consultant fired. Though, at the end of the day, the consultant has the interpersonal skills not to get fired."

In other words, great consultants are assertive, but also have a deep well of emotional intelligence.

What makes for a great consultant, in this case, also makes for a great insight seller. In fact, assertiveness is one of the 12 key attributes of insight sellers.

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Is Your Need for Approval Holding You Back from Sales Success?
By John Doerr

ball and chain

How many times have you left a sales meeting and thought, "I should have said that..."?

Or, during a meeting, as you listened to what a prospect was saying, you thought, "That's not right; he will be making a big mistake if he goes down that path," but you never voiced your opinion?

Or, perhaps even more dramatic, you got the sense, "This guy is holding something back. I need to get to the bottom of this." But, again, you said nothing?

In all of these examples, what usually keeps you from saying the things you want to (and should) say is a strong need for approval from your prospects. You want to be liked, and in some cases loved, more than you want to close the deal. Research1 that includes more than 500,000 sellers estimates that 47% of sales people have a need for approval to the extent that it can limit their ability to ask tough questions, disagree when appropriate, and advocate for a point of view that may be disruptive to the status quo.

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Should Buyers Take You Seriously?
By Mike Schultz

insight seller attributes

What do James Franco, Daniel Craig, and Mo'Nique all have in common? They're described as actors who bring gravitas to their roles on the big and small screens.* Another is Sir Patrick Stewart, who embodied gravitas as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Picard had power and authority. He commanded respect. When he spoke, the Enterprise—and everyone else in the universe—listened.

Gravitas is rooted in Latin, meaning heavy, serious, having gravity. In the sales world, gravitas means you're someone to be taken seriously.

When buyers take you seriously, they're more apt to take your advice and buy into your ideas. That's why gravitas is a key quality of an insight seller.

Got Gravitas? What It Means for Winning Sales

Insight sellers possess 12 key attributes needed to succeed in sales. We've divided them into tendencies that drive behavior and qualities that guide those actions. Gravitas is one of five qualities found in sellers who consistently win sales. So what does gravitas look like?

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Do You Have What It Takes to Become an Insight Seller?
By Mike Schultz

insight seller attributes

There’s a revolution underway in sales. What used to work, even just a few years ago, is no longer enough to win major sales today.

As a result, a new breed of seller, who's beating out the competition and winning the sale, has emerged: the insight seller.

Insight sellers share new ideas and perspectives with their buyers, and they collaborate with buyers to develop the best solutions. They don't just sell the value of their products and services, they become the value.

To succeed as an insight seller, we've identified 12 key attributes, which we divide into tendencies and qualities that drive their success. They're divided like the image to the left.

Insight sellers share 7 tendenciesthese are the predispositions that drive how people choose to spend their time: 

  1. Passion for Work and Selling: Insight sellers have a desire for success in general and for selling in particular...


Image source: Schultz, Mike, and John E. Doerr. Insight Selling: Surprising Research on What Sales Winners Do Differently. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2014.

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Neil Rackham's Foreword from Insight Selling
By Mike Schultz

insight selling

Perhaps the most respected voice of all time in sales is SPIN Selling author Neil Rackham. John and I were honored to have him write the foreword for Insight Selling. It's a great commentary on the state of and changes occurring in the world of modern sales. We hope you find it as insightful as we did. Without further ado...

A mixed blessing of my job is that I get to review a lot of sales books. Roughly once a week I receive a manuscript from a hopeful author or publisher, asking me for comments and feedback. Of course, what they are really asking for is a rave review that will help the book sell.

Reading all these expectant winners, looking for good things to say, can be a challenging task. I'm often tempted to reply with the comment often, but wrongly, attributed to Samuel Johnson: "Your work is both good and original. Unfortunately the parts that are good are not original, and the parts that are original are not good."

On the plus side, it does mean that I see a lot of ideas before they become public and I get a good sense of current trends in sales thinking. On the downside, for every book that I can honestly endorse, I kiss a whole pondfull of literary frogs...

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