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Bringing Insight to B2B Sales: Sell Like the Winners Do

We've written a lot about our What Sales Winners Do Differently research, in which we studied more than 700 B2B sales purchases by buyers representing $3.1 billion in annual purchasing power. We've shared with you how sales winners don't only sell differently, they sell radically differently from second-place finishers.

Sellers who win have distinct patterns for how they sell. There's a specific combination of behaviors and outcomes they achieve that second-place finishers don't. (See the Top 10 Factors Separating Sales Winners from the Rest.)

We've categorized and labeled these factors in the 3 Levels of RAIN Selling. Winners of B2B sales do these things both more often, and better than, second-place finishers.

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The common thread between the 3 levels? Insight.

The sellers who win provide insight across each of the 3 levels. The most obvious way they do this is in level 3. In fact, the #1 behavior that separates the winners from the rest is they "educate buyers with new ideas and perspectives." But this is just one way sellers bring insight to table.

Here's a breakdown of the 3 levels and how insight applies to each.

Level 3: Collaborate
  • What: In B2B sales, buyers want to be educated with new ideas, and they want to be a part of creating new ideas.

    Your ideas are, literally, the insights you introduce in a sales conversation. When you propose a new idea, and when you involve buyers collaboratively in the process of creating insights, you personally become a source of value over and above whatever it is that you sell.

  • How: Buyers are looking to achieve outcomes and find paths to success. Products alone don't get them there. Buyers need partners to help them see what's possible and to work with them collaboratively to bring ideas to life.

    When you are proactive, responsive, and easy to work with, they'll seek insight and interaction with you. (And when you're difficult, they won't.)

Level 2: Convince
  • Best Choice: Buyers need to make decisions among available options. Your insight throughout the B2B sales process will help them make the right choice. In this way, you as the seller add the value. This will best position buying from you as the right choice.

  • Maximum Return: Buyers need to make the ROI case in order to buy. They often don't make the effort to do it, can't do it, or don't do it well. Your insights into the business case will help them make the right decisions for the right business reasons.

  • Minimum Risk: Buyers seek ROI, but often make decisions based more on fear of loss than potential for return. Your insight into what the risk is, and your insight and efforts to mitigate that risk (including building trust), will give them confidence to invest in what you sell.

Level 1: Connect
  • Dots: In a sea of information, buyers are looking for sellers to help them choose the right direction, select the right options, and take the right actions.

    Their confidence in you grows due to your insight into them and your own knowledge of how you can help. They'll be guided by your insight to help them make the right choice, across their buying cycle.

  • People: Buyers are more willing to interact with, take advice from, and be open to alternative points of view from people they like and trust. They'll accept more insight. They'll co-create more insight.

When you bring new ideas to the table in a B2B sales conversation and work with the buyer to develop them, you're providing a value beyond just the service you sell—and value is the key to winning.

Additional Reading
A New Way to Collaborate with Buyers

The more sophisticated and advanced sellers become, the more they make selling about conversations and collaboration, not presentations and pitching. Even their presentations become interactive collaborations when done right.

Cognitive Reframing: How to Get Buyers Off Auto-Pilot

The classic selling model has taught sellers to uncover needs and craft compelling solutions. It goes something like this: the buyer needs something and asks for it. You provide it. It's straightforward, but buyers are operating in their comfort zone.

What is Consultative Selling?

Since Mack Hanan coined the term in 1970, consultative selling has been the most widely accepted—and most pursued—sales approach. The approach is characterized as understanding buyer needs and positioning offerings as solutions to problems.

While this has been the go-to approach for many sellers, massive changes in buying technology and the vast amount of information on the internet is significantly changing how buyers buy at an unprecedented pace.

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