Collaborative selling is working with your customer to identify needs, finding an optimal solution for the customer. It is a side-by-side process instead of the widely used head-on process.
In the field of sales, customer experience has slowly gained priority over the years. Whereas earlier it was all about pushing a product to customers, sellers now focus on creating a positive customer interaction that can aid their business in the long run.
The key focus of every seller looking to make a mark should be to improve customer relations. After all, businessmen, nowadays, know that they cannot stand out only on the basis of their products or prices. Service is a major player in the sales arena.
This realization has developed into the branching of sales in various kinds of selling. To classify broadly, we can say that selling is now of five types.
- Transactional selling
- Solution selling
- Provocative selling
- Consultative selling
- Collaborative selling
These techniques have a unique approach to the sales process. While transactional selling focuses on a quick, single-instance sale, solution selling presents a picture of how the buyer's life will become easier because of their product or service, hence providing a solution.
Provocative selling focuses on the prospect’s pain points and highlights them to ‘provoke’ the buyer into making a purchase. On the other hand, consultative selling caters to solve pain points through constructive data and strategies.
Then comes collaborative selling, which is similar to consultative selling in its focus on relationship development and recognition of the buyer’s needs. However, it differs in the point that gives the customer primary importance in the sales process by listening to their issues and collaborating to develop an optimal solution.
Although all selling techniques have their own pros and cons, collaborative selling has emerged as the go-to strategy for many buyers. We will tell you why.
Why Collaborative Selling Is the Future of Sales
Collaborative selling has become the strategy of choice in many sales channels as it incorporates the customers’ priorities in the sales process during value proposition. In this approach, salespersons are required to remain focused on customer collaboration.
This ensures a fair exchange of ideas and concerns. The goal should be to develop a solution in which both parties benefit. Sales professionals must promise the optimal solution for customers and act to deliver that and more through the whole sales process.
This approach is considered the future of sales for many reasons. First and foremost, it puts the buyer’s needs above anything else. As customer relationship is seen as the key to the sales field’s future, this approach is ideal for your business.
In this kind of interaction, you are bound to acquire customers who are happy with the deal and would choose to return to your business. Some of its other benefits are as follows.
- Loyal customers tend to refer you to other prospects, thereby leading to an ever-growing buyer base.
- You get great reviews and testimonials, both in content as well as photos and videos. This helps develop your website’s review section and instill confidence in future buyers.
- Once you build a relationship, buyers become more open to trying out other products and services.
- The business runs on mutual benefits, thus making it sustainable for the future.
Now that you know the benefits, you might wonder how this process exactly works and how it can be incorporated into your business.
How Does Collaborative Selling Work?
To adopt collaborative selling successfully, sales professionals should be cautious about their behavior during the sales process. Their interaction with customers should reflect transparency and cooperation. The buyer must realize that they will receive support and solution from this transaction.
How to implement it practically depends on the product or service you’re pitching. But in all cases, your goal must be to nurture a cooperative relationship with the lead or customer.
Some of the aspects of collaborative selling include the following.
- Your efforts should be focused on building trust and positive engagement.
- All customer interactions should be honest and effective.
- Don’t shy away from asking questions about the customer’s needs and expectations.
- Address any specific challenges they might have.
- Know what you’re selling in-depth and present the facts in an engaging and educational manner.
- Ensure your customer feels included in the sales process. Ask them for their vision of ideal solutions and incorporate it as much as possible.
- Keep the communication channel open during and after the purchase, to be helpful with other needs in the future as well.
You must remember that there are several factors more important than the price when it comes to attracting customers. In this competitive space, customers get lucrative deals every day. What may draw them towards you is your attitude and relationship-building.
Why Collaborative Sales Drive Success?
Collaborative sales is key to driving success in your sales campaigns. That happens because the buyer works with the sales reps to identify and discover solutions that can optimally address their pain points.
This leads to a sense of ownership over the product. It also builds a connection with your business that compels them to consider you while making future purchase decisions.
Collaboration in making sales decisions reduces misinformation, skepticism, and doubt from the process. It helps customers find confidence in your product.
Research in 2019 said that 89% of buyers admit to gaining “high-quality” information during the sales process. However, 44% of buyers say that they face a huge dilemma because different sales reps provide different information, all of which seem credible and fact-based.
In such a scenario, involving the buyer from the beginning helps to forge a connection built on confidence. When the buyer is encouraged to conduct their own research into the preferred solution, they are more likely to trust your opinion and look at your product in a positive light.
It also helps them to eliminate contradictory information about the pros and cons of the purchase by making a detailed analysis of how it can elevate their life or work. This, in turn, enforces the chief goal of collaborative selling, which is to build long-term relationships with customers instead of focusing on a solo purchase.
Collaboration in the sales process begins with the sales and marketing departments. These professionals must work on their attitude towards customers and share feedback on how to improve the sales process.
A positive first impression works wonders for any business. Following that, you must shift focus towards building a long-lasting business relationship by supplying adequate information, help, and support to prospective buyers.
Inviting customers to collaborate in the sales process ultimately leads to a wholesome customer experience, which strengthens your brand value, increases sales numbers, and broadens your customer base organically.