What Is Insight Selling? Using Data To Coach Buyers & Close More Deals

Insight Selling

There are so many sales methodologies available to salespeople today—however, none focus on the fact that buyers buy from sellers who are a source of ideas. So now everyone’s talking about one sales approach in particular – Insight Selling. Keep reading to find out what Insight Selling is, the different types, our best practices and questions.

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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 a person or thing. These understandings are found through research, experience, data and metrics and aim to develop a stronger relationship with the prospect.

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, so if they can’t easily find or see the value in your product or service – they won’t bother to speak with you. So to get the most out of the Insight Selling approach, you need to understand the two types:

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 help uncover a solution they hadn’t considered.

2. Opportunity Insight

Opportunity Insights focuses on selling a particular idea that is likely to lead to a sale. Therefore, in this instance, you’re not just uncovering a hidden opportunity – but you’re proactively seeking to provoke a response.

What about traditional sales models?

Insight Selling vs Solution Selling

Examples of common solution selling methodologies include:

  • SPIN: The SPIN selling framework takes its names from the first letters of each of the four types of questions that make up the system’s phases. These questions are those dealing with Situations, Problems, Implications, and Need-payoffs.
  • MEDDIC: The letters in MEDDIC stand for the six steps of the customer qualification and acquisition process: Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision criteria, Decision process, Identity pain, and Champion. When you apply each of these steps to a potential customer, you have a consistent way to determine whether a likely lead is the right customer for your company.
  • BANT: is an acronym for a sales qualifying methodology used to determine the lead quality, which you can then use to prioritize leads based on their score. BANT stands for:

B = Budget: Does the lead have a budget to afford what you’re offering?

A = Authority: Does the person you are talking to have the ability or authority to make a purchase?

N = Need: Do they have a need for your product or service? 

T = Timing: Does the prospect have a critical need for your solution now?

Insight Selling vs Consultative Selling

Consultative Selling refers to a selling approach where strong relationships with the customer are at the core with an emphasis for the sales rep to thoroughly diagnose the needs of the prospect to be able to suggest the solution that best meets their needs.

This methodology is ideal when leaders find their teams are falling into the ‘order taker’ trap – only writing up what the customer tells them they want. Instead, by using a Consultative Selling approach, reps are taught to ask questions to uncover problems they can help solve.

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

Level 2. Convince

Next, insight sellers convince buyers that they can achieve maximum return. More so, 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 interact with the product you are selling, have them try it out to see how easy it is, how soft it feels, or how fun it is. When the customer gets involved they can imagine themselves using the product, making it easier for them to buy.

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?

Accelerate your sales career

Sales is a skill that needs to be learnt, practised and mastered. In the Sales Accelerator pack, we teach you the skills all sales professionals, entrepreneurs and small business owners need to sell effectively. Join us to master the sales process, starting with getting the right mindsetdifferentiating from the competitionbuilding strong relationships and delivering compelling sales presentations.

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