Collaborative Sales Practices that Engage Buyers

Collaborative Sales

Selling directly to buyers is a standard business practice that is being transformed into a more collaborative sales process.

Progressive businesses are now working together with customers to create shared experiences by co-creating solutions with buyers to give them what is often greater or more exciting than they would have imagined.

Buyers do not always know the extent of your business capabilities, just as your business may not fully understand their aspirations. Therefore, bringing the two together can often create extraordinary results.

Thus, in addition to ensuring the future relevancy of your business, learning to build collaboration into your sales, marketing, and customer service processes will easily differentiate your business, even in crowded markets.

Here are three customer collaboration practices to consider.

#1 – Take Control and Share It

Buyers want to work with a business that is control, which is one of the primary objectives of your sales process.

Your process gives them confidence that you will take them where they want to go, and if it is collaborative, they can then share that control. It’s truly a beautiful thing.

While most people will not admit it, they want to follow leaders. That’s why they hired you.

They are relying on your expertise and experience.

If at some point during the process they want you to completely take over, which is a signal you have earned their trust, they can just sit back and enjoy the ride.

#2 – Encourage Actions That Earn Trust

When anyone takes action there is risk. Therefore, when you design a process that has your buyers taking actions that reliably lead to favorable outcomes, you instantly earn their trust.

When your buyers are engaged in activities, you have their full attention. When those actions lead to desired outcomes, you progressively earn their trust.

Earned trust is the one quality that consistently leads to more sales. More importantly, trust builds relationships wit customers that become ambassadors of your business brand.

#3 – Nurture Relationships and Brand Advocates

When you help people solve problems and achieve their dreams, they feel good about their relationship with your business and tell their friends about it.

Traditional marketing sought to earn customer satisfaction and loyalty after the sale.

Collaborative marketing and selling seeks to engage the buyer at an emotional level throughout the entire process, such that they become advocates that share the entire experience with their friends and family.

Give them more than they have expected or imagined.

Get them so excited about working with you that they are telling their friends while it is all happening, and hopefully long after that.

In other words, design your sales and marketing to help your buyer feel what they want to feel.

Look for more on that in a future article.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013) 

Memorable Marketing Content is Original, Fresh, and Personal


The practice of repurposing marketing content across multiple channels seems to be not only acceptable, but one that many online marketers encourage.

Is repurposing marketing content really a good idea on a web that is rewarding original work? 

Google Authorship in particular, as well as the periodic freshness updates by the search engine giant, all suggest otherwise. Indeed, this business trend is probably one of the easiest things for Google to check; after all, it is one web.

What’s interesting is that businesses, marketers, and content contributors that would otherwise take exception to their content being scraped by others, are in fact leading the dilution of their own original work.

Focus on Your Customers

Recently, I was asked to speak at an event, and then repeat the presentation 30 minutes later to a new audience. I dreaded the thought, but agreed nonetheless because that is what my client wanted.

While the presentation slides were identical, I discovered from the opening comments that the words and stories were completely different. This wasn’t so much intentional as it was a product of simply focusing on the audience.

When you focus intensely on the needs of your audience, which may be defined as your customers, prospective buyers, or even a larger community, the message will become more personal, and as a result, more memorable.

Getting into the zone only happens when you focus on what you came there to accomplish. If you think “prepared presentation” –  you are dead.

If you think about affecting change, you are more likely to accomplish what you showed up for – delivering a favorable result, something that happens to be memorable.

Keep Your Expertise Fresh

Keeping your expertise fresh is something that happens when you consistently practice it live, thereby regularly creating new solutions from it.

Repurposing the same tired message (or solutions) disengages your business from the process of helping those who depend on it.

How much effort does it take to go just a little bit further to freshen things up? It takes minutes to customize a solution, especially when you consider the particular audience, place, and relevant period of time.

This is what makes the new social media so powerful. Context is the magic for revitalizing content and collaborative efforts that have previously proved their worth –  by making them even better.

Be Your Memorable Self

There are a number of methods for being memorable, and one indeed is to focus on the audience.

As any skilled presenter knows, when you are thinking about yourself your ego takes over, and you then project what you think people want you to be. Instead, focus on them and your unique qualities will naturally come out to make a memorable, human connection.

The better marketers understand that most buying decisions are made on emotion, rather than logic.

Thus, whenever your messaging can be personalized, it stands a far better chance of being memorable.

If you want to make your content social marketing memorable, keep it original, fresh, and personal.

What are your thoughts?   Please share.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – Released April 15, 2013 (Wiley)

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