The Sales Fix

Strategies to Power Growth

September 8, 2015

Collaboration Is Easier Than Selling

Collaborating with prospects on their buyer’s journey to help them achieve their business objectives is hard work. But, it’s easier than just selling.

collaborationI’ve written often about the fact that sales is not something that you do to a prospect. It’s a process you go through with a prospect. More than anything, sales is a service that you provide to your prospects.

Done well, selling delivers value to your prospects by engaging them with in-depth conversations that help them develop a better understanding of their requirements and objectives.

Prospects rarely want you to sell them exactly what they think they need. You’re the expert. They want you to help them decide which solution represents the best solution for their requirements.

This collaboration with your prospects is hard work. There’s a reason why the word “labor” is the root of the word collaboration. It’s co-work, or co-labor, that ends up helping your buyer achieve the goals of their buyer’s journey: making a good decision to invest in a solution that helps them achieve their business objectives.

It would be a lot easier to just follow your set sales process and treat all prospects like interchangeable objects. However, successful selling is not about taking the easy path. You may think that you can just copy your sales process from one opportunity to the next. It doesn’t work that way.

Every prospect is unique and needs to be served accordingly.

It starts with the questions that you ask during discovery. They have to engage and maintain the interest of your buyers and challenge their current perceptions of what would be the best solution to meet their needs.

More importantly, your questions have to demonstrate to your prospects that you’re engaged in the collaborative process of helping them move through their buyer’s journey. Too often sales reps have a standard list of obligatory questions that they trot out to ask every prospect. In those cases, your prospects usually know that you’re just going through the motions.

How? Because you don’t have perceptive follow-on questions to ask in response to their answers. Remember, it’s not your first question that demonstrates your value to the prospects. It’s all the questions that follow.

Selling is hard work. Ironically, it only makes it harder if you don’t collaborate with the buyer. The extra work you put into each deal, to engage and collaborate with the buyer to help them define and choose the best solution for their requirements, ultimately will increase your conversion rate. (You’ll win more orders!) And, while that is extra work, hitting your number is a lot easier than taking the “easy” path and not getting the order. After all, chasing quota from behind is no place to be.

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About Andy

Andy is the host of the top-rated 6-day per week podcast, Accelerate!, the go-to resource for the best sales advice online. He is the author of Amp Up Your Sales: Powerful Strategies That Move Customers To Make Fast, Favorable Decisions. Amp Up Your Sales is on HubSpot's list of the 20 Top Rated Sales Books of All Time. He is also the author of Zero-Time Selling: 10 Essential Steps to Accelerate Every Company’s Sales (which won Top Sales World's award as one of the Top 3 Sales & Marketing books of 2011.)

1 Responses to Collaboration Is Easier Than Selling

  1. Nancy Bleeke: September 13, 2015 at 9:48 am

    So true Andy, collaborative selling is not easy. I believe we have to be experts and then use that expertise, expertly during each conversation – right sizing the data, details, relationship, and more for the person and situation.

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