Insight Selling - Michael Harris

Insight Selling - Michael Harris

Do you want to stand out in the market and increase your profits considerably? Learn how to differentiate your product to achieve success!

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Michael Harris will show you, in the book "Insight Selling", the importance of creating a scenario to connect your product with the customer's needs.

Nowadays, the seller doesn't have to fill the customer with information about the product, the internet already performs this function.

The insight scenario, in turn, complements the customer experience. It allows the buyer to imagine what it would be like if they bought such a product, increasing the chance of purchase.

Following the teachings of Michael Harris, in this summary you will learn to instigate the customer to think, showing them the benefits of buying your product.

Keep reading to know more!

The book "Insight Selling"

The book "Insight Selling: Sell Value & Differentiate Your Product with Insight Scenarios", written by Michael Harris, was published in 2014 by Wiley. It was elected one of the top seven sales books of 2014 by Inc Magazine and published in Harvard Business Review.

It discusses how sales strategies should be from now on, since potential customers have the means to inform themselves about the characteristics of the products and even compare prices.

The key to success is to understand the needs of the buyers and, through a "compelling story", convince them to take your product.

Who is Michael Harris?

Michael Harris is a finance graduate with 12 years of experience at Wall Street, founder, and CEO of Insight Demand, a sales training company.

He lived and worked in New York, London, and Buenos Aires and carries a career full of success and bright ideas.

Why should I read it?

The work "Insight Selling" is recommended for sellers looking to hone their skills, sales managers who want to learn new methods to train their team, and CEOs who need to expand profits and add unique value to their product.

What are the key ideas of the book "Insight Selling"?

  • Buyers no longer need the sellers to tell them about the benefits and features of a product, they need sellers to offer specific and useful insights;
  • With the right questions, the customer will understand the problems they need to solve and the solutions that allow them;
  • Breaking the customer's thinking pattern is necessary to stand out;
  • An insight scenario describes how your product can solve a customer's situation;
  • This type of scenario allows buyers to independently recognize the value of your product.

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[Book Summary] Insight Selling - Michael Harris

Insights, not product details

The profile of consumers has changed over the years. In the past, the customer relied on sales representatives to obtain product information to make a purchase.

Today, with the presence of the internet, information about a product or service is simple to access. It is possible to make price and quality comparisons between numerous products without leaving your house.

According to the book "Insight Selling", consumers are looking for useful insights about your product to confirm their need of buying it.

Since customers want to have a clear vision of the solution to their problems, the insight model encompasses 3 actions:

  • Contrast: this is done by comparing the "before" and "after" the purchase. The bigger the difference, the more value your product will acquire;
  • Listen: the views of a buyer are like movies going on inside their heads. To understand their thoughts and vision, you need to listen to the customer carefully;
  • Clarity: to provoke the consumer to think, the seller should question them to compare the scenarios before and after the purchase.

The buyer is likely to encounter a problem. The seller, in turn, has to help the customer to take a virtual "test drive" of the product and make them think, says the author Michael Harris.

Insight scenario

With the market expanding more and more, the seller needs to convince the customer before someone else does. Insight scenarios make it possible to highlight the value of a product and engage the customer on an emotional level.

Rather than trying to win a debate with the customer, the seller must state rational reasons for purchasing such a product.

The author Michael Harris compares an insight scenario to a Trojan horse. This is because the sales message needs to overcome the defensive barrier of the buyers and surprise them.

As it is affirmed in the book "Insight Selling", emotions are essential in decision-making. Therefore, insights encompass an emotional character to your product or service, bringing you closer to the buyer.

How to get to the insight scenario?

To explain how to create and use insight scenarios, the author Michael Harris brings 7 steps:

Step 1: Why?

You should think of an insight scenario as a flashlight that will illuminate the hidden value of your product.

Why is the consumer not buying your product, for example? And what could you do to make them believe that they need to buy it?

It is essential to show the gap between how the customer operates without your product and how they would operate if they acquired the product or service.

Step 2: Configuration

The author Michael Harris emphasizes that people don't care about companies, they care about people. Use the power of storytelling to awaken real feelings in the clients and move them in a way that they need your product.

Step 3: Complication

This is the most important part of the insight scenario and the main area where it can fail. The common failure occurs when salespeople cover up complications because they don't know product details.

Since the insight scenario is an image that is made through your words, you need to be specific to make it real. One of the most effective ways to help the buyer see this image is to use metaphors or analogies.

Remember to involve your facts in emotions, otherwise, the story won't work.

Step 4: Villain

According to the book "Insight Selling", the buyer is the hero of the story. Therefore, knowing that when you have a hero, there is a villain, this evil force should be something external, such as market conditions, competition scenarios, government regulations, etc.

Step 5: The Tipping Point

The tipping point is the time that the buyer understands that staying in the current state will cost more than purchasing your product or service.

Step 6: Resolution

Demonstrate how, in your story, your product came to be the solution and solved the problem faced by the person/company.

Michael Harris recommends keeping this part of the story brief, just show how your product can be used.

Step 7: Questions

The purpose of the scenario is to capture your buyer's story. The most important part of this story will be the problems you can solve.

Make questions to help buyers discover their story.

Author's lesson and coaching

The author Michael Harris affirms in the book "Insight Selling" that listening to people is the least present skill in the sales business because we all think we do it very well and we don't strive to improve.

He also says that listening is not pure and simply paying attention to what the other person is saying; is to listen without filters and without judgments.

It is said that you are not really listening until you are willing to be changed by what you hear. That is why telling stories with emotion and paying attention to your client are important points.


Occasionally, coaching can mean an informal relationship between two people. One person is more experienced and helps and guides the other one.

It is interesting to train the team with ways to find and fill customer knowledge gaps. Once this investment is made, the selling ability will increase dramatically.

The author Michael Harris says that if we can widen the contrast between the "before" and "after" the purchase of the product, it is also possible to amplify the value in the eyes of the buyer.

Studies show that the benefits of a coach salesperson are incredibly greater. You are twice as likely to be a good financial advisor than just an approved salesperson.

Books about sales

In the book "A Whole New Mind", Daniel H. Pink explains that the art of storytelling helps in decision-making and allows the understanding of elements and vision under other aspects by which the logical vision is unable.

Jeffrey Gitomer, in "Little Red Book of Selling", says that the most important aspect of making a sale is asking questions. Questions are critical because the first personal question sets the tone for the meeting, and the first about business sets the tone for the sale.

Finally, in the work "The 7 Pillars of Successful Sales", Rejiano Vedovatto and César Frazão make it clear that a successful salesperson not only knows that the customer buys a product, but also what value that product adds to the customer.

So, how can I be a better salesman?

  • Ask yourself about the possible factors for your product not being purchased;
  • Analyze the insight strategies you can adopt to leverage your service;
  • Show the difference of your product through the contrast of before and after the acquisition;
  • Listen to the customer;
  • Develop the ability to tell stories to touch the buyer's emotions;
  • Awaken the feeling that the customer's problem will only be solved with your product;
  • Apply the steps to create the insight scenario and increase your buying potential.

Did you like this summary of the book "Insight Selling"?

Are you ready to apply the lessons of Michael Harris? Tell us in the comments, your opinion is very important!

Also, you can purchase the complete book by clicking on the image below:

Book “Insight Selling”