Today’s connected consumer, a boundary-defying social phenomenon that blurs the lines between consumers, corporate buyers and other external and internal stakeholders, demands highly personalized products and services customized to individual needs. That’s why connected consumers are saying enough to:
The new metaphor: Selling is a puzzle, not a game
The most widely used metaphors in sales are those related to sports, battle or games. The problem with this mindset is that it rests on the assumption that buyers and sellers are adversaries, and that for one to win, the other must lose. But in Same Side Selling, Altman and Quarles overturn this assumption by introducing us to a new metaphor — one that puts buyers and sellers on the same side. Sales, they show us, is less like an adversarial game and more like a collaborative puzzle.
1. Stop playing games
2. Be unique
Collaborative selling is all about differentiation. Even if you’re selling something that’s similar to other products or services on the market, you can be unique in the value you offer by using the Same Side pitch (a clear explanation of the problem the seller addresses and a resolution that gives hope to the right prospects). For example, conventional sales-speak would be: “We’re a company that provides IT outsourcing services.” A Same Side pitch would be: “Companies come to us when they invest a large budget into their IT team but still wonder if they’re keeping up with technology. By taking this concern off their plate, we help them focus on their core business.”
3. Narrow the market
Don’t spend too much of your time and energy pursuing subpar opportunities. Effective qualification begins with understanding why a prospect would buy. Same Side Selling offers the questions and tools necessary to help you get to that “why” quickly.
4. Get to the truth ASAP
When a seller jumps ahead to prescriptive selling without assessing urgency and readiness, a seemingly hot prospect can turn into a costly pursuit. Shorten the sales cycle by getting to the truth in a way that allows you to determine which prospects to move forward with.
5. Be an educator
6. Focus on the fit
Details can sometimes overshadow your message and distract from the overall value of the process. During meetings with potential prospects, capture the right information and keep the discussion on the larger value-proposition and big picture.
7. Don’t force the fit
Pushing a deal forward even when it’s not a great fit can result in short-term pain and impede long-term growth. Practicing restraint when the sale isn’t right for the buyer is the best long-term strategy. It can also be a useful selling tool.
8. Sell value, not price
Despite sales people having good relationships and processes in place, they may still find themselves combatting a “low bid win” mentality. Free buyers from a fixation on the purchase price by putting the initial purchase price into the context of longer-term costs, helping them see the larger value of their purchase.
9. Deliver impact
A signed contract never means that you’ve reached the finish line. The deal isn’t done until the client has realized the outcome and value that propelled their purchase in the first place.
The principles you’ll learn in Same Side Selling apply to any situation where you’re required to “sell.” Whether you’re trying to sell a product or service to a prospect, a new idea or initiative to your organization, a political candidate to your community, your resume to an employer, or simply a home-improvement to your spouse, Same Side Selling can help you do it with integrity and effectiveness. By giving us a new metaphor for understanding and approaching sales, we can replace the adversarial model with a collaborative one that makes sense both in business and in life.