Collaborate The Acceptable ‘C’ Word in Sales
“They collaborated with him on numerous projects’
Join (up), join forces, get together, come together, band together, work together, unite, combine, merge, form an alliance, pool resources and club together
How much do I love selling? Probably as much as I love the film Glengarry Glen Ross! Sales have evolved a bit from that thank goodness. However the process, the negotiations, the finding out, the close, even dealing with objections, it is all pretty magical, not to mention the look on the client’s face when they realise they have made the right choice and genuinely feel delighted. Then of course the real work begins!
That work involves time and effort, lots and lots of effort. You see when the client chooses to purchase, they not only purchase your product or service; they also purchase you. I know, I know the old cliché ‘people buy people’ and yet if we take it further, “people buy people who will help them to make money rather than take money off of them” a wise man told me that, (you know who you are) and it completely resonated with me. From that day I set out to help make my client’s money, if not make it, then certainly attempt to help them save it, by adding as much value as possible. To do this, and it can take time, the client has to trust and trust deeply. This allows the sales person in and what follows is collaboration.
We hear lots of sales people continually talk about the value of building personal rapport and finding out the need or problem, engage as a friend, all good stuff for sure. However, what happens if you are dealing with a buyer, and let’s say they are not interested in building rapport, they just want results. Yes-hard lesson there, some clients don’t want to make friends, real world. While they are at it, they are not particularly forthcoming about a need or problem either, they thought it was a good idea to invite you in for a meeting, see what’s what.
Now I hear you, “they wouldn’t ask you in if they weren’t interested or didn’t have a need.” Ah, and how you can be so sure? Some buyers just like to keep an eye on what is out there, keep their finger on the pulse. Let me ask you, how many times have you been to see a client, they haven’t bought; they just see you now and then? The meetings are quick, you still don’t know them very well as they keep guarded and let’s say 12 months (maybe more) they invite you in yet again, and suddenly something has changed. They still don’t want to build too much personal rapport, however they want to put something out there, just as an idea, pick your brain, see how you respond. What do you do? Well you don’t go for wander down your old fact finding and F&B route that’s for sure, this client is not having that, they know when they are being ‘sold’ to and they seek something different, something more than different, they seek relevance. They seek insight and opinion. They seek something consistent, something committed, and they seek collaboration.
“Alone we are smart, together we are BRILLIANT” Anderson
When clients do this, we have to engage a part of our sales wolf brain (if you have read my other blogs, you will know about my thoughts on sales and wolves, oh and it’s good) a part that understands collaboration means by working together we can be consistent, we can commit and therefore offer real and relevant insight, bringing a deep understanding, and that involves depth of knowledge, experience and context.
Remember that opinion and insight are different, the former is not necessarily based on facts and the latter is. With insight comes knowledge that demonstrates to the collaborative client that you understanding how something works, that you have specific experience as you have done it before and you can bring contextual understanding as you can bring interrelated ideas to the table. This last point may well involve you telling the client what to do. Imagine that, actually having such a level of trust with a client that you can go ahead and tell them what to do, and they will do it. Talk about sales Nirvana! How many clients can you say you have, where the relationship is collaborative, truly? How many clients do you have that would actually allow you to tell them what to do, not just recommend, actually tell them.
This is privileged place to be in and one not to be neglected or abused. Collaboration is more than selling, more than consultancy, it takes time, it is rare and it is pure.
You might be thinking well don’t all clients want this? Well some do of course, some may like the idea of it, the reality could be different, and others simply don’t, they are transactional, just buy it and go. Real world again I suppose.
When you look at your client base ask yourself how you can collaborate more with your clients, it is easier to nurture with those you have a relationship with or have bought from you before. Those clients that are a little cooler in their approach to you may well be seeking something that is more than a need, a want, a desire or an urge, they may well be seeking something more, something that takes time, over the long term, something that involves consistency, commitment and most important, collaboration.
I hope you love selling as much as I do, this is just piece of insight based on my own sales experience and from listening to the countless anecdotes from the people I train, if you find it useful and it helps you win some business then that makes me very happy. Thanks for stopping by.
“Competition makes us faster. Collaboration makes us better” FyreFly
This blog is part of the sales training offered by SerialTrainer7 Ltd. If you would like to get in touch to discuss sales training for your team the contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call me, Simon on 07979 537824.