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Are Your Sales Reps Taking a “Show-up and Throw-up” Approach to Sharing Insights?

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“The antithesis of selling with insight,” as one of my colleagues so colorfullly describes it, “is to show up and throw up.”

This negative metaphor illustrates the tendency to join a call or meeting with a prospect (or in trying to broaden an existing relationship) and overwhelm the listeners with information about your business and capabilities, which may or may not be of interest or even relevant to the purpose of the meeting.

Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Would you rather hire the firm that struts in like a peacock and essentially says “Gee whizz, look at us, we’re big and great and can do all of these things and you should hire us!” or the one that turns the focus on you and your needs and opportunities by saying, “This is what we’re seeing in the market from our clients and the impact it has on companies such as yours. This is the solution we recommend, and yes, we have the capabilities to help and would love the opportunity to talk in greater detail if you’re interested”?

There is little choice over which approach would be better received, but you’d be amazed by how few sales reps actually take the time to craft and deliver such a message. It takes effort, time, and discipline to get it right. Yet, most salespeople are guilty of bringing too much to the party in an attempt to impress when it actually overwhelms and disappoints buyers.

Engineering Your Path to Success

At Richardson Sales Performance, we work with our clients to teach their sales reps how to develop and refine insights to be pitched to their clients and prospects. At the core of our Richardson Sales Performance’s Selling With Insights® training is our Insight Blueprint, which is a roadmap to follow as you learn to develop and share your insight with your client in an attempt to connect the client’s challenges or opportunities back to your capabilities and differentiators to trigger an Aha Moment. It is this moment wherein the client realises the value of exploring the issue with you further. The insight is the catalyst that spurs the link between the client’s issue, your ability to help them with that issue, and the client’s desire to explore this possibility further.

A blueprint conjures images of building plans, architects, permits, diagrams, detail, and the like. It can be exciting or daunting depending on your perspective. When working with blueprints, it is ever important to be mindful of scope and scale.

  • Scope: A blueprint for a building is just that — it’s not meant to include an entire block or even adjacent structures. Therefore, be careful to maintain focus on that which is pertinent to this insight, and don’t overload the blueprint with erroneous or distracting information.
  • Scale: Similar to scope, yet different. It’s easy to give in to the temptation to make the issue bigger than it needs to be, as if the topic or insight on its own doesn’t carry enough weight to convince your buyer. (If that’s true, then perhaps you haven’t zeroed in on the best insight or compelling research to help drive your point across.) Keep the scale in check by maintaining a laser-like focus on only things relevant to the insight and nothing more.
Our Insight Blueprint ensures that you stay focused on that which is relevant to the insight for your client and avoids scope and scale creep.

Barriers and the Bottom Line

As you might imagine, building a credible insight takes time and effort. Sales reps (and their managers) who are anxious to dive in and “just get on with it” will have less success than those who apply these tactics (and managers that encourage, coach, and foster a culture of insight selling). We talked about the importance of patience and preparation in a recent post. This culture and mindset represents a gateway or barrier to how successful you’ll be in connecting with clients and moving on to the next phase of the sales cycle — and hopefully being hired.

You need to be able to cut through the daily clutter, noise, and distractions to get an executive’s attention. Personalised insights are intended to create an Aha Moment, capture your client’s interest, and stimulate dialogue. The bottom line is to find the insight that will create the openness to explore more with you.

That is what the Insight Blueprint represents: a tool to align your client’s challenges and opportunities with your capabilities and differentiators and deliver personalised, relevant, and compelling insights through various channels to spark an Aha Moment and gain their interest.

Have you had success using insights? What do you do to prepare for a sales pitch and connect with your prospects? Let us know in the comments below.

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