Building Insights

When I first heard about the Challenger Sale and Insight Selling, it made complete sense as a sales rep. It was the equivalent of someone saying, "humans need sunlight," and I thought, "Yes, Yes, They Do!"


The challenge is insight selling is excellent in theory:

  1. Study the client's business.

  2. Come up with an amazing insight.

  3. Teach the client.

  4. Take control of the sale, and then bam, the money starts flowing in.

Unfortunately, a lot of things sound great in theory. Working out is great in theory, but what gets in the way? Netflix and my couch. Eating healthy is phenomenal in theory, but what gets in the way? My two best friends, "Ben" and "Jerry." Even listening to others sounds fantastic in theory, but it's a challenge to listen due to distractions. The only one who can listen is Amazon’s Alexa. She's never interrupted me.


This article will discuss the barriers to insight selling and a simplified 3-step approach to make building insights easier.


What are the barriers to generating insights?

  • When we are busy with work, we feel we don't have the white space needed to develop unique ideas

  • It can be intimidating to think we know more about our client's business than them

  • I feel I have to wait until I find the perfect insight, and perfection slows things down

We have to be like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams. "If you build it, they will come" The insight sellers version of Costner: "if you build insights, they will buy." Building insights will be challenging at first! The first, second, or third insight will be difficult to develop, but it will get easier over time. If you keep at it, you will build confidence, create better ideas, inspire prospects to take action, and selling will become more fun. First, you have to identify the mental barrier that keeps you from developing insights such as fear or perfection. The second step is to simplify the process so it's easier to generate insights. Remember going to the gym is excellent in theory, but when you have to drive to the gym, look up exercises, change into workout clothes, and find childcare, you probably will not work out. However, if there is a treadmill in your house, you will be a lot more likely to work out. We will make insights easier by providing you with a simplified 3 step process, aka a treadmill in your metaphorical house.


Step 1 Identify Challenges You can Connect with Your Clients and Prospects On

In the challenger sale, this is the warmer step, and here is an example of how you would use this. After pleasantries, open the conversation by identifying common challenges you see in the market. State, "the three main things my clients are inquiring about right now are regulatory changes, decreasing funding costs, and streamlining technology. What are you seeing?" Sharing what you see develops business rapport, builds your credibility, takes the pressure off the prospect, and enables you to share your expertise. Here are some topics where you can use to build business rapport with clients and prospects.


Step 2 Deliver an insight or an insightful question.

What is an insight or an insightful question? An idea, thought, or question that is actionable or drives high-quality discussion leading to strategic decisions and action. There are two types of insights.

  1. Business, industry, and market insights. i.e., many companies in the restaurant industry only develop singular forecasting plans rather than multi-scenario plans, putting their business at further risk. Therefore… [you fill in the rest]

  2. Solution insights. i.e., many of your peers fund expansion through cash rather than debt, which creates challenges when navigating a crisis, limits your growth potential, and puts a different type of pressure on the business. However, debt can have a lot of positive impacts, such as… [you fill in the rest]

The most significant barrier salespeople face is the self-imposed pressure to develop the perfect insight. Perfection leads to paralysis. There is no silver bullet! The odds of you providing a statement the client or prospect has never heard before is daunting so do not put that pressure on yourself.

Your goal should be to initiate a high-quality discussion about their business, and if you can't come up with an insight, then ask insightful questions.

  • What are you doing to prepare for regulatory changes that are occurring within the telecom sector?

  • How are you staying ahead of or staving off the impact Amazon is having within your industry?

Step 3 Developing the emotional call to action.

Show the prospect a path to avoid pain or the pain they will face if they do not act.


Avoiding pain: "You can make some simple systematic changes to avoid fines and keep from having to disrupt your work processes."

Ratchet up the pain they will face: "If you do not implement systematic processing by the end of the year, you will be subject to a hefty fine and threats for dismissal from the governing authorities. However, there is a simple way to avoid these fines."

Emotions drive the human experience, so make sure to include the emotional impact during your discussion. If you find insight selling challenging, identify what is holding you back and simplify the process. Take time now to develop common prospect challenges, insights, insightful questions, and an emotional call to action.

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