For Sales Leaders

Co-Selling: Expectations vs. Reality

When clients first consider collaborative selling, they often have hopes & dreams mixed with reality.


When clients first consider collaborative selling, they often have hopes and dreams mixed with reality. To be extremely effective, we need to sort out expectations and reality. 

To get the results we desire, we must do a meticulous and organized process to get the best results. 

Let's look at how to do this. 

Collaboration is defined as, "the action of working with someone to produce or create something. It comes from the Latin words collaboration(n-) and collaborates meaning 'work.'

Collaborative selling is all about working together, listening, learning, defining, and refining. While sales professionals often secretly believe that they are fantastic at these skills, the reality is we haven't usually been taught how to be truly collaborative. 

Think about it. 

When your buyer wants to buy from you, one of two things may happen. 

They are given a chance to explore, investigate, and share their vision and strategy. They are on the receiving end of giving. 

They are told what to do, informed, pushed, or required to take what is offered. They are on the receiving end of taking.

Giving. Taking. Two completely different methods. 

In the former, they are invited and offered room to explore what will truly serve their needs and future expansion.

In the latter, they have little choice. They may need to make an urgent decision and are required to move forward with little or no leeway.

Since we are living in a world where there is always a competitive company, which one do you think buyers will go for? 

Over the last few months, I've had the chance to explore this in detail with Bill*, a V.P. of sales. He keeps talking about this difference. Here's how he puts it:

"I'm so fed up with 'takers.' You know who I mean—people who take control by taking your attention and time. They do this by taking the lead with their agenda, product, and service. I keep noticing that people are either taking or giving. I only want to work with 'givers.' People who give me room to investigate, explore, and expand our vision."

The key to collaborative selling is to shift our attention from 'taking' to 'giving.' Perhaps the most overlooked action for collaboration is to shift out of a push mentality to actively inviting participation. 

This opens the way to making sales much more human, engaging, and sustainable. 

Now, when it comes to expectations vs. reality, we are looking at similar issues. 

 

Clarify Expectations

Whether you've been in sales for a while, or are just starting, you'll notice that expectations of a new methodology are often sky-high. We want to find the perfect solution, the ultimate tool, and the unbeatable software that will transform every prospect into a loyal customer. 

It would be wonderful, wouldn't it?

Yet, the thing about expectations is that we need to manage them. Otherwise, we'll run off in fifteen directions fully charged, and come back empty-handed. 

The key expectation that can and must be met for collaborative selling is this: make sales more human. Give people a chance to investigate, imagine, explore options, and expand their strategies in ways they may not even have thought possible. 

When we approach collaboration as a natural process of communicating, we're able to sort out fantasy from reality. This is important. 

Collaborative selling is not about turning every single person on the planet into your long time customer. It is about finding the people who are seeking your products, services, and solutions—and making it possible for them to achieve their goals. In short, is about becoming indispensable. 

 

Embrace The Reality

The key reality is: co-selling is a human communication process. It follows specific guidelines and can be instrumental in shortening sales cycles, streamlining sales, increasing engagement, and providing exceptional value to your customers. 

I bet that kind of reality is sounding pretty attractive right now. 

 

5 Steps To Boost Sales Effectiveness

Here are 5 steps to boost sales effectiveness in co-selling.

01. Give Room To Investigate

Open the conversation for collaboration. This can be as simple as a Zoom meeting, email, or exploratory meeting. Explore ideas, share expectations, and goals and get to know each other. Think of this as a time to invite clients to speak about their challenges, needs, and priorities. 

02. Give Time To Imagine 

When potential clients are sharing their vision of the future, what happens? Simply, they are highly engaged. If you are talking with a CEO or a Sales V.P., each one is passionate about their vision for the future. 

How can you support them in sharing what they envision? 

Ask exploratory questions. Imagine the future in 6 months or a year from now. Picture what could happen with a shorter sales cycle, better data, and real-time insights? Explore possible scenarios realistically. What are the obvious obstacles? What could happen without these barriers? What could happen to growth with a new market, a new line of business, or serving an avid niche?

03. Give Space To Explore

Explore what is at the core to translate possibilities into reality. This varies amongst different settings and conversations. However, some points are almost always part of this kind of hands-on investigation. 

    • What is the cost of non-action?
    • How can you make sure past problems won't be repeated?
    • If you had "X" what would happen?
    • How can you gain support from your sales team?
    • How can you prepare for unstoppable success?

04. Give Voice To Value

If you and I were sitting together, this is where we'd have a strong cup of espresso and go for it. We'd fill the walls with ideas. We'd dive into all the ways your company can give value to your clients.

Value is the key to creating the future. If you're having the chance to expand value, this is the time to open up all the doors and windows.

Your client is seeking valuable ways to make their vision real. When your product, solution, and service are part of their strategy…well, you can determine the best ways to expand value. 

05. Give A Taste

There is nothing that can compare to real-time tasting and experiencing. This is why we do product demos. This is why you'll always find people giving samples of what they offer. It might be at a farmer's market or grocery store. It might be a free trial of the software. However, the principle is the same. 

Give a taste. One of the best ways to offer your prospects and clients a 'sample' is to provide a taste. 

At Co-Sell, I've seen this work over and over again. When clients see how easy, fast, and simple it is to make warm introductions, they want much more than a taste. 

A taste is about giving. This is exactly what Bill was speaking about. He, like many busy professionals, want to work with people who are giving. They want to have the time to express their needs, envision the future, explore options, understand the value, and have a taste. By giving, you're creating a powerful path that helps people decide to work with you.

As you collaborate with partners, you'll follow a specific process. This is a way to give actively—and build a lasting, valuable relationship with your clients. 

 

Sum Up

As you focus on 'giving' rather than 'taking', you can set clear expectations and shape reality. As you optimize your virtual sales performance, you can join successful businesses that are shaping the market and realizing significant revenue potential. Partnership Co-Selling is how you can virtually qualify B2B sales opportunity. You can use this to boost sales, expand your network, and grow profitability.

Using a platform like CoSell.io is the simplest way to get your sales team on board. CoSell is a robust platform that makes it easy and fast to automate and scale collaborative co-selling across sales teams. 

If you’d like to explore how partnership co-selling can help you and your team boost sales and win major clients fast - check out our selection of free eBooks.

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