Being memorable in sales translates into making more sales.
This 12-part series on how to be a memorable salesperson includes specific ways you can make yourself stand out to buyers. Each post in this CONNECT2Sell series includes research from a study with 530 B2B buyers and in-field observations from a sales coach.
Collaborating With Buyers Will Help Me Be a Memorable Salesperson?
Think about any project you’ve ever worked on. Which do you remember most: the finished product someone else worked on and presented to you OR the work you did and results you were a part of?
Naturally. We all remember what we, personally, experienced. We recall specific feelings, conversations, trials and tribulations that had an impact on us. We are more invested in the work we were more involved in – that made us more committed to it AND caused us to remember it.
That’s the aim of collaborating with your buyers (video). You want them to be involved in meaningful ways. You want them to work with you, side by side, getting more and more invested as the work progresses.
This will make you and the work you do together more memorable than anything the competition has to offer.
What Can I Do to Collaborate With Buyers in Meaningful Ways?
Don’t make the mistake of doing too many things FOR your buyer. Instead, do more of the work WITH your buyer. We’ve moved out of the service economy and into the experience economy, so you can’t rely on outdated servant selling techniques. What can you do WITH your buyer? Tons! Including:
Dialogic instead of diagnostic needs assessment
Brainstorming for new and innovative ideas
Selecting options for the product or service you sell
Creating a compact for your working relationship
Solving problems and tackling obstacles
Let’s take each of those in turn.
1. Dialogic instead of diagnostic needs assessment
Buyers want two-way dialogue. They want their questions to be answered in a timely manner. They want sellers to ask them about their needs. And they want to be heard and engaged in conversation.
Sounds exactly like what we’d all prefer in conversations! And it is.
Sellers seem to forget basic conversational skills when it’s time to talk about the buyer’s needs. They ask qualifying and canned questions that are boring and one-sided. They race through those questions like it’s some sort of survey, often missing out on subtle cues that they should drill down to get the rest of the story.
The diagnostic needs assessment is no longer effective. It’s time for sellers to conduct dialogic needs assessments. Click here for a webinar that explains the difference and provides instruction on how to make this transition.
2. Brainstorming for new and innovative ideas
I’ve seen it happen dozens (hundreds?) of times. The seller gathers information from the buyer and promises to return with a proposal. Before writing the proposal, the seller brainstorms will colleagues and/or agonizes over options. After settling on the “best” solution, the proposal gets written and taken back to the buyer. Then, despite all that thought and all that work, the buyer’s reaction is meh.
Sellers are stunned. How could the buyer not love the solution?
They don’t love it because they weren’t involved in generating the ideas for it. They didn’t participate in creating what they wanted. Their own imprint isn’t on it. So it’s easy to dismiss it.
You’ve got to get buy in before you ask for the buy. The best way to do that is by working WITH the buyer to co-create insights and ideas.
3. Selecting options for the product or service you sell
The collaboration for generating ideas needs to carry-through to co-creating a solution.
Even if what you sell is not customizable, there are options available that your buyer can be involved in choosing: delivery time or schedule, communication protocols for ongoing service, payment plan… give them options and a voice in selecting them in any way possible.
4. Creating a compact for your working relationship
Another important area for collaboration, one that is often overlooked, is determining how you will work together. Don’t make assumptions here.
Get confirmation about:
- Which phone number they prefer you to use,
- How they like to receive written communications
- What time of day is best to meet
- How often you should check in
You don’t have to make this seem like a formal process. You’re just showing respect for your buyer’s busy schedule when you ask questions about their preferences. They will appreciate it.
5. Solving problems and tackling obstacles
When problems crop up (and they will in any long-term relationship!), don’t try to hide them and do all the work yourself.
Collaboration includes transparency. Tell the buyer what’s going on. Even if you already have a standard way of handling the problem, let them know you’re on it.
Collaboration also includes getting input. Sometimes buyers have great ideas for fixes. Sometimes, the thing we’re trying to fix isn’t important to them or isn’t a top priority.
Finally, collaborating goes both ways. When they have problems, you’ll want to be involved in working on solutions. Buyers may encounter internal challenges to buying, using, renewing, or upgrading your products/services. Partner with them to overcome these obstacles.
How Can I Learn More About Collaborating With Buyers?
In the archive section of The Sales Experts Channel, there’s a Customer Experience section. You’ll find 25+ webinars from global sales experts about ways you can modify your sales approach to collaborate and connect more with buyers.
Some of the best sales books released in 2018 also address this topic. If you haven’t already read Sales Differentiation by Lee Salz, Gap Selling by Keenan, and The Modern Seller by Amy Franko, all include nuggets you can use to collaborate more with your buyers.
And don’t forget to work on additional ways you can become more memorable, too.
Stick with this series to read more about buyer research and field observations with sellers.
Check out this video playlist on the People First PS YouTube Channel with more tips and research with buyers. There are 25 videos there, each one lasting just 3-5 minutes.
Read the book that started it all. DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected is packed with ways you can make yourself more memorable to buyers. It was ahead of its time in bringing research with buyers directly to sellers.
Whatever you decide to do, make a commitment to become more memorable. Standing out in a crowded sea of sellers is a surefire strategy for boosting your sales success.