The Power of Insight Selling – Using Questions and Data To Invoke Change

What Is Insight Selling?
What Is Insight Selling?

Insight Selling is a modern sales methodology that focuses on winning deals by the sales representative demonstrating the value of their solution by providing insights into opportunities the prospect might not have thought of or providing tremendous value during sales conversations. It places emphasis on the sales rep being an expert in their field.

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Insight Selling defined

Insight selling is an advanced-level sales skill that requires sales professionals to connect their abilities to a customer’s business issues by uncovering issues in the customer’s strategy to create added value. In simple terms, Insight Selling is the process of using data-based insights to move a prospect forward by speaking directly to their needs—something which traditional sales models do not.

What are insights in sales?

Insights in sales are accurate understandings of your prospect, your prospect’s business or industry. These understandings are found through research, experience, data and metrics and aim to develop a stronger relationship with the prospect.

Infographic on the differences between Insight Sellers vs Solution Sellers

The two types of Insight Selling

Nowadays, buyers are always connected and constantly online, learning more about your company and competitors. Technological advancements alongside social media have changed the buying process and, as a result, the selling process. Buyers are more empowered than ever before, they don’t need to know the features of your product or service, they already know by the time they reach out. So the role of the sales representative changes from informing the customer about the product, to providing valuable insights, the prospect might not have thought about yet.

With the Insight Selling approach, you need to understand the two types of ‘insights’:

1. Interaction Insight

The need and opportunity for Insight Selling can arise through the interactions you have with a prospect as you move them through the sales pipeline. By having valuable conversations about their pains, needs and wants – you can encourage a solution by inspiring change.

With Interaction Insight, the salesperson helps the prospect think of unique business ideas by asking tough questions and pushing them outside of their comfort zones while challenging assumptions. When this is done well, the buyer often comes up with their own insights on how to improve their business using your solution.

2. Opportunity Insight

Opportunity Insights focuses on selling a particular idea or strategy that your prospect might not have thought of, that is likely to lead to a sale. To do this, the sales rep must bring up new ideas that inspire the prospect. The winning formula for opportunity insights is educating your potential customer, while collaborating to create new opportunities for the buyer.

Opportunity insights and interaction insights work together to build trust and maximise loyalty. Whether presenting your potential customer with a new opportunity or simply collaborating with them, by using insight selling reps can invoke change.

Insight Selling vs Solution Selling

Solution Selling is the act of the salesperson acting as a type of doctor who asks questions to uncover and identify the prospect’s challenges. From there, they can suggest and help find the prospect a solution. Whereas, Insight Selling provides valuable insights at every stage of the sales process to prospects who already fully understand their challenge and how to solve it. That’s why many think that Solution Selling is the outdated version of Insight Selling – because most prospects only approach salespeople after they’ve completed some form of research – meaning that they already understand the solution to their needs.

The 3 levels of the Insight Selling model

To successfully use the Insight Selling approach, you must be proficient in the three levels:

Level 1. Connect

Insight sellers connect in two ways:

1. With buyers

2. The dots between the buyer’s needs and their solutions.

Level 2. Convince

Next, insight sellers convince buyers that they can achieve maximum results and that the seller is the best provider among all other options.

Level 3. Collaborate

Finally, insight sellers are responsive, proactive, and easy to buy from – which is precisely why buyers willingly collaborate with them. Furthermore, buyers perceive collaborative sellers to be integral to achieving their goals and solving challenges.

Insight selling questions

Insight selling relies heavily on the concept of cognitive reframing. Which, in simple terms, means creating alternative ways of viewing ideas, situations, and their possibilities for action. That’s why below you can find several questions perfect for insight selling.


“Why” questions are pretty underrated, and if you’re careful enough not to make the buyer defensive by using a tone of inquiry, you can cultivate a feeling of collaborative thinking. For instance:

  • “Why is that your strategy?”
  • “Why do you say that?”
  • “Why do that versus this?”


Next, “How” questions get buyers to consider their reality. You will probably find that buyers always have strong opinions but not strong plans. For instance:

  • “How do you see this working out?”
  • “How do you think you need to proceed?”
  • “How will you avoid common challenges like X, or Y, or Z?”

“Have you considered X, Y, or Z?”

This question is a great way to open up options to buyers who didn’t know they existed – or, if they did, didn’t know there had been an advancement.

“How do you know that?”

Again, buyers will always have strong opinions that may not have a foundation. Therefore by asking for their thinking – you can help the buyer question the basis for their opinions and assumptions.

“What will happen if you don’t act?”

By asking this provocative question, you’ll inspire buyers to consider the negative consequences of their inaction.

4 common Insight Selling mistakes to avoid

Similar to any other sales methodology, Insight Selling comes with its own common mistakes to avoid. For this reason, below, you can find an outline of four of the most common mistakes – so that you don’t make them!

1. Using insight selling as a tactic

Unfortunately, many salespeople think that insight selling is a quick fix or tactic – but it is actually about providing value throughout the entire sales process. For this reason, salespeople adopting this approach need to be genuinely curious, dedicated and empathetic to the buyers they will help.

2. Not collaborating

It’s a fact that buyers disengage when sellers don’t establish themselves as a reputable source of information. That’s why sellers need to conduct collaboration-driven meetings.

3. Poorly executed presentations

No one wants to sit through a boring, static, and endless slide filled meeting – it’s just not engaging. So ensure you have the customer engaged and involved in discussions and sharing of ideas.

4. Not embracing the role of change agent

Insight selling directly involves pushing your buyer out of their comfort zone. Therefore, logically, you need to inspire them to do this with a change agent attitude. Why would anyone buy from a seller who wasn’t confident in their solution and thoughts?

Ready to sell with insights and authority?

The best sales conversations are the ones where salespeople direct the customer to see something they’ve never considered before. While understanding your clients’ challenges and pain points is a crucial sales skill, the next level is about uncovering valuable opportunities and matching your company’s relevant capabilities to specific buyer problems.

Join SOCO’s Insight Sales Training today and start to expertly advise clients with unique insights – a skill needed in today’s competitive market.

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