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Insight Selling: Surprising Research on What Sales Winners Do Differently Hardcover – May 5, 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“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majority of experienced sellers would agree that while a lot of existing sales wisdom is good, some things have become outdated and must change.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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (May 5, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118875354
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118875353
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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