By now, you know that you need to have real and valuable insights to share with your client as a way to create value for them. How do you know when and if the insights are on point and effective? Let the following tests guide the development of your perspective and the advice you offer your clients.
- Do your insights provide your prospective client something they don’t already know? Not everything you share with your client needs to be unknown to them. Still, it is helpful to have insights or a perspective that provides your client with a new way of thinking about their business, challenges, or opportunities through this modern sales approach.
- Do your insights allow you to help make sense of your client’s world, including the strategic outcomes they are pursuing? Your ideas should address the dissonance your contacts feel, their uncertainty, or confusion about how to respond to a world that is increasingly marked by accelerating, disruptive change. Your insights are more valuable if they remove the dissonance and help your clients gain clarity on what they should do now.
- Do your insights provide support for the recommendations you were going to provide your client? All of your insights and ideas need to lead to—and support—the advice you are going to provide your clients. Even though presenting your insights might not seem to make a case for change individually, when combined, the logical conclusion should be the advice you offer. Combined, your insights support your perspective.
- Does data as well as your experience support your insights? One of the challenges we face in consultative sales is that we have done our homework by reading and tracking all the trends and factors that might harm our clients. We also have experience working in our industry to recognize certain patterns that our clients haven’t yet recognized. Because this is true, your insights need to help your clients catch up. The data, the stories, and the proof you provide all need to help your clients see what you see—maybe for the first time.
- Does it provide your prospective client with the perspective that allows them to see their business through a higher resolution lens? Much of compelling change and helping your clients produce better results starts with shaping your client’s lens. What you share with your clients should help them see something at a much higher resolution than they would otherwise.
- Does your insight suggest implications for your clients’ future results? There are many trends and factors you can find interesting, and while novelty is important, if there are no implications for your clients, your insight isn’t valuable to your contacts. Your view and your perspective have to include a rationale for doing something different. If what you share isn’t going to harm or help your clients, it isn’t a useful insight. Different insights and perspectives are useful, as one might be valuable for one client even if it isn’t especially important to another.
- Does it compel change? Compelling change is the practical and tactical sales outcome of insight-based selling. All of what you spend time discussing with your contacts should be designed to compel them to change, take some new action, or do something differently to produce a better outcome, creating a higher level of value (something you can learn more about in Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition).
- Do your insights and the implications lead to advice as to what actions your prospective client takes? You should be leading your client to an understanding that leads to the advice you would provide them. Being consultative means providing advice that you believe to be correct, but there is a difference between being a consultant (one who gets paid for their advice without execution) and being a consultative salesperson (one who offers their advice and provides both the solution and the execution). The distinction here is critical.
- Would your client find your insights valuable enough to pay for them? Perhaps the most important test is whether your client would be willing to pay for your insights, perspective, and advice. This is the ultimate test as to whether your insights and your perspectives are valuable. Because you are in consultative B2B sales, the real test of whether your approach was right is whether your contacts buy from you.
Your real success, however, is largely seen in the results your insights produce for your clients.
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