How to Improve Sales Discovery on the First Call

August 25, 2014

How to Improve Sales Discovery on the First CallThe Insight Sales Process™ is inherently different from solution selling. When considering the first call a sales rep makes, at least three major differences stand out among reps who use insight selling Those reps: 

  • Collect insight data – versus ideas and perceptions
  • Lead with disruptive engagement – versus questions
  • Challenge prospects – rather than presenting to them

Let’s define and explore each of these.

 

Insight Selling Collects Data Versus Ideas and Perceptions

Insight Selling uses processes and interview techniques that collect data, while solution sellers collect ideas and perceptions that are impossible to quantify as they are entered as notes into the CRM system.

 

Consider a solutions sales rep trying to discover a prospect's business problems and pain. He or she might discover the prospect has a problem with high employee turnover … or database issues that isolate and close off information needed to run business efficiently … or any number of others.

 

On determining the nature of the problem the solution sales rep tries to show his solution as the best answer to the prospect's needs. In the process the rep gathers an understanding of needs, preferences, budget, competition and timing– that eventually find their way into the company's CRM. Clearly though, those are not quantifiable or numeric. They are translated by the rep’s subjective assessment of the probability of closing the opportunity. There's no practical way to compare the progress or quality of the discovery from one rep to another, or to reliably forecast the liklihood to close.

 

H. James Harrington, prolific author and internationally known expert in performance management [1] advises that “Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.” [2]

 

And so it is. With Insight Selling your sales representative takes a more effective course to improving sales discovery that will improve sales performance. During the first call she identifies the prospect's business pain using your specific Insight Sale Panel™ [3] which is comprised of all the insights required for your sales process to be effective. Those values can easily be compared across different sales reps and prospects, giving you a clear indication of likelihood to close. This difference alone gives actionable data to use in forecasting and opportunity management.

 

Insight Selling Leads with Disruptive Engagement, Not Questions

We know from research published by the Corporate Executive Board [4] that prospects today complete nearly two-thirds of their decision-making process before ever talking to a supplier. Armed with mountains of information obtained from the web and other research, buyers are sophisticated. They understand their business problems and no longer need a solution sales rep to help them uncover them and “match them” to the vendor's product or service. Instead, buyers invite sales reps from their top tier of potential suppliers to meet. Those reps find themselves having to compete on price because any of the top tier suppliers can meet the buyer's needs.

 

That's why we teach Insight Sellers to lead with disruptive engagement. We replace the usual litany of “what keeps you up at night” questions with insights that disrupt the prospect's customary thinking about business pain and solutions.

 

For example, your sales rep might be meeting with a trucking fleet manager who wants a GPS tracking solution. The prospect has already compiled a list of a dozen benefits to be derived from a GPS tracking service and narrowed the field to three potential suppliers. Your Insight Sales-trained sales rep takes a different approach. She gathers quantitative data using her Insight Sale Panel™ then makes this statement:

 

Mr. Prospect, I see that you've gathered a lot of information and that you understand what GPS technology can do to improve management of your fleet. But there are several new legislative and practical issues that have surprised many new users with unknown costs and risks. I would like to offer you the opportunity to take our GPS Risk Scorecard for you to see how ready you are to tackle these new issues. After that you will be better prepared to buy a system from us or any of our competitors.

 

A discussion like this changes the game and gives the Insight Selling rep an advantage over the competition. She offers to deliver all that the competitors do, plus added value. She won't have to become “column fodder” as the buyer tallies up offers from each solution sales rep. The values she offers stand out conspicuously and uniquely. Your sales rep begins to be seen as a trusted advisor who has the buyer’s interests at heart. (See: 3 Lessons Learned About Customer Insight Selling)

 

Insight Sale Reps Challenges Prospects

Finally, as in the short example above, Insight Sales-trained reps challenge prospects and create a constructive tension. They're not obnoxious or using “in your face” aggressive posturing. But they are assertive. They are respectful. They are polite. They challenge their prospects to consider new ideas, benefits and outcomes.

 

If you're looking for a way to deliver more customer value, generate more sales referrals, improve sales performance or improve sales discovery on the first sales call, The Insight Sales Process™ can take you there.

 

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