It wasn’t all that long ago that sellers didn’t need to work as hard to pitch their product to potential buyers’ and could simply explain the features and benefits. Buyers often didn’t have the tools to compare their offering to competitors, to determine if it was the best option for their business.

For many years, the core advice given to salespeople has been to identify needs, create the solution, and then communicate that solution in a convincing way. On its own, this doesn’t win sales like it used to.

Most buyers are looking for methods to address the problem behind the problem. They lean toward sellers who can teach them valuable things about their own business.

The world of Internet Search Engines, Business Websites, Social Media and Online Reviews now provides the buyer with significantly more information before making a decision. They are buying through insights. And therefore, we now need to sell with the same strategy.

Mike Schultz defined insight selling as “the process of creating and winning sales opportunities, and driving change, with ideas that matter.” In other words, the salesperson needs to become a consultant that helps a customer navigate the purchasing decision.

According to the Cambrige Dictionary, insight is “the ability to have a clear, deep, and sometimes sudden understanding of a complicated problem or situation”.

When you apply insight to sales, you use data, trends, market research, and experience to help customers work through the relevant information, diagnose the problems, define their needs and eventually, make informed buying decisions.

Sellers who make use of insights aren’t sitting around waiting for prospect customers to jump up and down asking for help. In fact, they identify that the customer may not even know that a problem exists. Instead, the seller proactively brings up a particular idea, engages the customer, and leads the buyer through the process of realising that the idea provides a solution to one of their needs.

People buy from people they like. Your ability to make connections with buyers and build relationships will also be key to your sales development.

5 Tips to Help with ‘Insight Selling’

  1. Build a trusting relationship with your customers by developing a deep understanding of them – the buyer and the business.
  2. Encouraging creative thinking by challenging assumptions. The ‘light-bulb’ moments will soon follow.
  3. Ask open questions and actively listen to the responses.
  4. Remember to position value early in the conversation when encouraging buyers to consider something new, and late on in the sale to close it.
  5. Paint a picture by clearly communicating and evidencing the impact your solution can have.

According to studies cited in Forbes, 79 percent of business buyers say it’s absolutely critical or very important that they interact with a salesperson who is a trusted advisor. Additionally, 94 percent of B2B decision-makers report looking for sales teams that demonstrate specific insight into their organisation’s struggles.

“With insight selling, you come to the table bubbling with new ideas, perspectives, and potentially, data points,” said Wunker. “Insight selling is about becoming a true partner to your customer, not just a salesperson. You need to offer value beyond the research that buyers can conduct on their own.”

If you would like to review your sales strategy and start using insight selling techniques, please get in touch with us at