Wouldn’t it be great if there were a silver bullet that would help you close more deals and make the most of your selling efforts? I hate to disappoint, but there isn't one. Sales success takes hard work and commitment along with skill and savvy. The best sellers are fluent in every part of the sales process. While there isn’t a single secret to selling, there are steps you can take to better engage with buyers and boost your win rate. You can start by following these sales tips.
The world of B2B selling looks far different than it once did. Top sellers know they must go well beyond discussing features and benefits. They need to be closely tuned in to the buying process for each member of the buying committee while consistently meeting buyers where they are throughout the cycle. That’s a tall ask, as it turns out. According to Gartner, as many as ten decision makers might make up a B2B buying center. Additional data from CMO Council shows that B2B customers actively research and compare solutions, often completing 50% to 90% of the work before contacting a sales rep. Long story short: complexity is a hallmark of B2B sales.
Differentiation often starts with marketing, but it truly comes alive in the selling process. Even if your company’s products and services are superior to all others, this means nothing if you can’t convey that to your buyers. Differentiating in sales is more than a good pitch—you need to differentiate in the right areas, adapt to your buyer’s needs, and build value.
The best sellers do more than just close sales. They reshape buyer thinking and drive change through the value they provide. We call this insight selling, and it hinges on the concept of cognitive reframing.
Insight selling is the process of creating and winning sales opportunities and driving change with ideas that matter. There are two applications of insight selling: interaction insight and opportunity insight.
The following is an excerpt from our new toolkit for sellers, How to Change the Buyer Conversation with Insight. Click here to access it. >> Think about buyers you've worked with who were trying to move an initiative or agenda forward. You probably heard something like: "We only need support in these areas from you." "The team has decided to engage an outside provider to deliver on X." "We're open to ideas about Y, but don't want to talk about Z." These buyers are in their comfort zone: either comfortable with what they're trying to accomplish or how they're trying to accomplish it. In some cases, there may be a good reason for it. It's possible they've already invested a great deal of time and resources into what they believe the solution should be. But many buyers are headed down paths that won’t serve them well. This is because they don’t know what you know or that something better might be possible. Your job is to help buyers make the best decisions, which often means making different decisions.
At their core, top-performing salespeople are change agents. They recommend, advise, and assist buyers (what is typically known as consultative selling), and they aren't afraid to push when it's in the best interest of their buyers. Indeed, top sellers are Insight Sellers. These people make five cases to ensure the value proposition for each buyer is as strong as it can be. They inspire buyers with new ideas and perspectives, and influence how buyers tackle their priority initiatives. They question the status quo and don't let buyers accept it, thus redefining reality.
Everyone says, "Sell value, drive value, make sure buyers both perceive and receive exceptional value from you, and your sales teams will be more successful."
For years, traditional consultative selling was the approach many sellers used to successfully compete and consistently win sales. Today, it’s no longer enough.
For the last 50 or so years, consultative selling has been the go-to approach for most sellers. In traditional consultative selling, the buyer states a need and the seller positions their offerings as solutions to problems. This used to be enough to win the sale. But today’s buyers often perceive sellers and their capabilities to be somewhat interchangeable.1 This leaves sellers stuck in a capabilities battle, fighting price pressure.
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.
Like anything, insight selling comes with its own potential pitfalls. To help you avoid them, we have outlined the most common insight selling mistakes. Some points are tactical, and others strategic. Download: Your Guide to Insight Selling Success.
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.
There's been a lot of noise the last couple years declaring relationship selling dead. "The Internet has changed everything." "Personal connections don't matter anymore." "Selling is not about relationships." "Throw out everything you thought you knew about sales, Armageddon is coming!" Blah, blah, etc.
In Insight Selling: Surprising Research on What Sales Winners Do Differently, we reveal the results of our extensive analysis of over 700 B2B purchases from the buyer’s perspective. In our research, we found that sales winners consistently exhibit behaviors on three levels: they connect, convince, and collaborate.
You finally got the meeting! Now what? While getting a buyer to say "yes" to an initial sales meeting is a battle in and of itself, much success is determined by what happens in that first meeting. There are many mistakes to avoid, especially when you’re the one setting the meeting, driving the demand for your offerings and when you're hosting virtual sales meetings.
In our What Sales Winners Do Differently research, we found that the number one factor separating sales winners from second-place finishers is this: Sellers educated buyers with new ideas or perspectives. In other words, the seller became known as a source of insight.
Insight selling is an old concept that has recaptured the fancy of the sales world, and rightly so, because it’s about adding value. Specifically, it’s about the seller adding value over-and-above the product or service. Too many folks, however, think insight selling is about educating buyers through presentations. They’re about half right, but without the other half, they’re missing out on the full impact of insight selling.
CONVINCE con•vince Cause (someone) to believe firmly in the truth of something. Persuade (someone) to take action. Building confidence in the validity of an idea. Inspiring action. The sellers who do these best sell the most.