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Insight Selling: Surprising Research on What Sales Winners Do Differently Hardcover – 20 Jun 2014

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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  • Insight Selling: Surprising Research on What Sales Winners Do Differently
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  • The Challenger Customer: Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (20 Jun. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118875354
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118875353
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.3 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


“The majority of experienced sellers would agree that while a lot of existing sales wisdom is good, some things have become outdated and must change. The hard part is deciding what to keep, what to change and what to discard. Insight Selling lays out a convincing case for which parts of current practice we should keep, which parts must be tweaked, and which parts must be changed entirely. Whether you’re an experienced seller or just starting out in sales, you stand to learn something useful from this book.”
―Professor  Neil Rackham, author of SPIN Selling

“Wow! Even your most experienced strategic sellers will sharpen their game with these insights. RAIN Group′s research and application to real life situations will educate your team on how to inspire buyers with possibilities and demonstrate the value add for your offerings like never before.”
―Sandy Miller, Partner, Strategic Accounts, Aon Hewitt

“While “solutions selling” isn’t dead, it is now just the price of admission.  In this book, Mike and John provide the fundamentals and techniques around advanced “insight selling” and how you need to become the change agent for the customer to be a true sales winner! After all, in sales the second–place finisher is just the first loser.”
Jim Madson, Vice President, Sales, Tyco SimplexGrinnell

“Professional salespeople a decade ago wouldn’t even recognize the landscape, challenges, and skill sets required today. This content is essential for contemporary sellers.”
Peter Ostrow, VP and Research Group Director, Customer Management, Aberdeen Group

“The recipe for growth today is dramatically different than just a few years ago, yet many sellers have failed to adapt. For those aspiring to elevate their game, you’ve picked up the right playbook.”
Richard Tober, Senior Vice President, Capgemini

“Few sales books are destined to become classics that will make a real difference in the world of selling. This one will join that rare club that will stand the test of time.”
Gord Smith, Partner, Hitachi Solutions

“Schultz and Doerr are truly among the elite sales thought leaders. Insight Selling outlines exactly what you need to do to set yourself apart and find yourself in the winner’s circle. It’s a must read for even the most experienced sellers.”
Jill Konrath, bestselling author of Agile Selling & SNAP Selling

From the Inside Flap

What do winners of major sales do differently than the sellers who almost won, but ultimately came in second place?

Mike Schultz and John E. Doerr, bestselling authors and world–renowned sales experts, set out to find the answer. They studied more than 700 business–to–business purchases made by buyers who represented a total of $3.1 billion in annual purchasing power. When they compared the winners to the second–place finishers, they found surprising results.

Not only do sales winners sell differently, they sell radically differently than the second–place finishers.

In recent years, buyers have increasingly seen products and services as replaceable. You might think this would mean that the sale goes to the lowest bidder. Not true! A new breed of seller―the insight seller―is winning the sale with strong prices and margins even in the face of increasing competition and commoditization.

In Insight Selling, Mike and John share the surprising results of their research on what sales winners do differently and outline exactly what you need to do to transform yourself and your team into insight sellers. They introduce a simple three–level model based on what buyers say tip the scales in favor of the winners:

  • Level 1 “Connect.” Winners connect the dots between customer needs and company solutions while also connecting with buyers as people.
  • Level 2 “Convince.” Winners convince buyers that they can achieve maximum return, that the risks are acceptable, and that the seller is the best choice among all options.
  • Level 3 “Collaborate.” Winners collaborate with buyers by bringing new ideas to the table, delivering new ideas and insights, and working with buyers as a team.

They also found that much of the popular and current advice given to sellers can damage sales results. Insight Selling is both a strategic and tactical guide that will separate the good advice from the bad and teach you how to put the three levels of selling to work to inspire buyers, influence their agendas, and maximize value. If you want to find yourself and your team in the winner’s circle more often, this book is a must–read.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A great read, and a valuable counterpoint to "The Challenger Sale". Funny how both sets of authors managed to get Neil Rackham to write the introduction...

If you're engaged in high-value, complex sales - particularly those which require pro-active need creation or elevation - this is a must for your bookshelf.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Arrived on time and as described. Thank you.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Very ironic, that a book that is claiming to tell us it will be insightful about selling, fails to practice what it preaches in it's kindle sample!

So the kindle sample is to give you an insight into what the book will be like, yet we start at 70% of the sample at a Foreward, that takes up to 83% to a Preface, which takes us to 92% before we hit the first chapter and we are allowed to look at about 5 pages!

When will some publishers learn? In a book shop we can peruse the book to see if we like what it contains, in a proper kindle sample you can! Sadly the publishers and authors of a selling book have a lot to learn about selling on kindle!

Maybe they should make a purchase from Amazon, one of the many books on selling a kindle book!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For a fuller review of this book and comparison against other recent publications documenting insight selling and the shift in B2B buying and selling behaviours, visit newoxfordconsulting.com
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 42 reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First-rate book on how to sell when buyers are sophisticated and demanding 6 May 2014
By Andrew Sobel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are thousands of books on sales. Do we really need another one? Hasn't everything worthwhile already been said? Yes, we do, and no, it hasn't. Here's why: Most sales books are actually mediocre and are based on outmoded practices, old-style selling techniques that today's executives just won't put up with, and so on. Or, they purport to have discovered the equivalent of the cure for cancer--and we all know that when it's too good to be true, it usually is. Insight selling is balanced--the authors do have some good, new data to share, and a clear approach to winning the sale--but they don't trash everyone else's ideas by way of building up their own.

First, what I like is that this book is research-based, and the authors have not manipulated the research to support their thesis. It's pretty straightforward and understandable: Based on interviews with 700 buyers, here's what first-place finishers--the sales winners--do differently than the second-place finishers--the sales losers. In other words, these are the top factors most separating winners from second-place finishers:

1. Educated me with new ideas or perspectives
2. Collaborated with me
3. Persuaded me we would achieve results
4. Listened to me
5. Understood my needs

This research completely resonated with me. I've written seven books on building clients for life, and interviewed thousands of C-Suite executives about their most trusted advisors. And the Insight Selling model rings true. If you think about it, if you get a first meeting with a prospect, you have to convince them it's worth having a second meeting. And today, you do that by adding value in the conversation. "Value," as the authors point out, differs from client to client. But we can make some general statements about it. The great rainmakers educate and inform and enlighten and challenge their prospects. The other person goes away thinking, "That was a useful conversation. I learned something. My thinking has been sharpened." That's why "Educated me with new ideas or perspectives" is number 1. No surprise there.

Second, Shultz and Doerr go on to frame their very useful tools and techniques in the framework of Connect, Convince, and Collaborate. Great salespeople make a connection between the customer's needs and their potential solutions. They also connect on a personal level. New research shows that we make that connection (or not) very quickly. A executive very rapidly--and in part, subconsciously--assesses your warmth and trustworthiness, on the one hand; and your competence, on the other. Convince means convincing buyers that they can get the results you promise, that the risks are acceptable, and that you're the best choice. Collaborate means being responsive, proactive, and easy to buy from. But it's not just about being easy to get along with--it's working very hard with the buyer to help them achieve their goal.

Insight Selling is an excellent and needed addition to your sales library.

(Andrew Sobel, author of Power Relationships: 26 Irrefutable Laws for Building Extraordinary Relationships and six other books on building clients for life.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a book for sales leaders and high performing sales people to buy, read, reread and take to heart. 4 May 2014
By Reg Nordman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
From the experts at RAIN Selling comes a book that is timely, current and essential. It is the result of asking a simple question. "In a world were some sellers are successful and many are not, what do the successful ones do better? " The genius lay in who the questions were directed to? Not sellers but the buyers. Not surprisingly, the answers can differ from many of the "sales books" previously written by successful sales people . This puts Shultz and Doerr againin the forefront of effective sales thinking and training. Reading this immediately after Jill Konrath's "Agile Selling ' and Linda Richardson's "Changing the Sales Conversation" made this a perfect trifecta of innovative sales books. Its simple - Sales leader sell insight into the buyers business. The sales conversation and the sales person are often the deal maker , not the product. Buyers appreciate salespeople who:

Educate me with new ideas and perspectives
Collaborate with me
Persuade me we would achieve results
Listened to me
Understood my needs
Helped me avoid potential pitfalls
Crafted a compelling solution
Depicted purchasing process accurately
Connected with me personally
Overall value from company is superior to other options.

This is a book for sales leaders and high performing sales people to buy read and take to heart. No pages are wasted so this makes a good coast to coast air flight read
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Connect, Convince, Collaborate 20 May 2014
By PJ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"...Today’s buyers are harder to reach, buying cycles are longer, and more decision makers are involved in every sale. Buyers are also more skeptical. While the great recession is largely in the rear view mirror, the psychological scars will remain for years to come."

Schultz and Doer's words ring all too true for me, a salesperson in commercial real estate. Cold calling and door knocking are thankless, painful parts of my daily life. Insight Selling has changed that. In three simple ways, a sale is much more achievable: Connect, convince and collaborate. Bringing the pitch down to a basic conversation--a connection--is what the root of the sale. This book shows how to remove the clutter, reduce the brain damange, and close. Based on customers and research, not sales people and schmoozing, Insight Selling is an effective tool for anyone's sales-kit.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Selling evolves. Insight Selling is a Revolution! 31 May 2014
By Bob rickert - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I immediately connected with Mike Schultz and John Doerr’s book when they started out by framing up the world we sell in today. It has changed. One of the big ways it has changed is that you can’t win by simply knowing your customer. As they point out, you have to move beyond diagnosing needs and begin achieving a much deeper understanding of your customer’s business, their aspirations and how they make decisions. That takes more than information; that requires bringing insight to every step of the sales process. They show you how.

This book does a great job of establishing the benchmarks, based on their in-depth analysis and research that drive strong value selling. You can achieve greater success by aligning with customers at a whole new level. They guide you through a process that helps you understand how you can create insight across three dimensions or levels:

1. Connect – they go beyond just relationship building. Insight selling drives solution building and connecting the dots between key business issues / drivers and value-driven solutions

2. Convince – persuading a decision requires understanding customer risks and what is acceptable, and then bringing solutions that deliver a strong return on investment. This is how you win today, delivering ROI.

3. Collaboration – I like how they establish a new way of thinking about collaboration. It is not just engaging in an interactive discussion, it is about managing the sales process by leading an exchange aimed at getting results. It is about creating demand and guiding an opportunity to a successful close.

They go on to profile the attributes and competencies required for Insight Selling, as well as the mistakes to avoid in selling this new way.

High performing salespeople (and their managers!) would be well served to read this book. Bring your highlighter, you’ll need it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Research That Tells an Amazing Tale 18 Sept. 2014
By Robert Terson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book answers the question “What are the winners of actual sales opportunities doing differently than the sellers who come in second place?” To find the answer, the authors began studying actual purchases in industries with complex sales. The results of the study focus on over 700 B2B purchases by a broad sample of buyers responsible for 3.1 billion in annual purchases. This research, from the buyer’s perspective, tells an amazing tale, one that’s going to benefit you greatly. It’s a bit statistical heavy—lots of graphs—and not the easiest read, but the information is important and worthy of your time.

I learned, from the buyer’s point of view, the top ten things that Winners do that separates them from the Second-Placer finishers:

1. Educated me with new ideas or perspectives.

2. Collaborated with me.

3. Persuaded me we could achieve results.

4. Listened to me.

5. Understood my needs.

6. Helped me avoid potential pitfalls.

7. Crafted a compelling solution.

8. Depicted purchasing process accurately.

9. Connected with me personally.

10. Overall value from the company is superior to other options.

I think you’re going to come away with an in-depth understanding of what makes a top-tier professional salesperson, in a way you’ve never seen or heard before. The three C’s—Connect, Convince, and Collaborate—are going to become embedded in your selling lexicon, I promise.
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