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3 Sales Collaboration Tips For Talking With (And Not At) Your Customers


Blasting your sales message at a mass audience doesn’t work anymore. Commercials, printed advertisements and mass emails are just noises in an ever-deafening room full of information. These outbound selling techniques are outdated, ineffective and just plain annoying. 

The Internet added to this change. We completely agree with a great article on SmartCompany that explains how the web has enabled consumers to have conversations with businesses rather than receive one-way messages from them.

“Really effective sales leaders are implementing sales strategies that … move from competition to collaboration; from me to us; from talking at, to conversing with customers,” the article notes. “The old supremacy and dominance sales model, where customers treated suppliers as vendors or minions, has died.” 

So, how do sales reps start talking WITH their customers instead of talking AT them? Here are three sales collaboration tips for starting a conversation with prospects.

  1. Become their business coach: Sales reps have to know their products inside and out, but they also need to know the ins and outs of their customers’ businesses. Thanks to the Internet, people don’t need sales reps to tell them about their products. Prospects already have access to that kind of information. The only real value that reps provide prospects is their expertise in business. They must be able to listen to a customer talk about their problems and say, “This sounds like a workflow issue,” or, “Hey, this sounds like a strategy or process problem. Let me help you with this.” These suggestions create value and a more equal footing between sales reps and customers.

  2. Ask for their opinions: People are often quite liberal with sharing their opinions, as long as you ask them in the proper setting and use appropriate language. Sales reps learn a lot by asking for these opinions because many customers are hesitant to answer the obvious question: “What are your problems?”

  3. Use technology to poll them: Poll questions are an easy way to get additional information about the buyer without requiring a lot of work from them. Use simple questions to get a dialogue going. Of course, finding the questions that cause people to engage isn’t easy. To do this you have to put yourself in the shoes of your buyer. Try to understand what kinds of questions solicit a response and start a conversation.

The Tellwise Nutshell (TTN): When you’re working with prospects, the conversation needs to be less about “this is what my product does” and more about “here’s how I’m able to solve your key issue” (which is hopefully with your solution or product). Build credibility with your buyers by using the above three sales collaboration tips to establish a true partnership. 

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