Two Ways for Sellers to get Buyers on Their Side

My first instinct is to take the buyer’s perspective, and that’s what these articles are generally about. But I’m not of the worldview that in order for buyers to succeed, sellers have to fail. In fact, the opposite is true: that when sellers and buyers both do their respective jobs well, it results in more surplus and less waste for everyone.

Stop Playing Games and Get on the Same Side

Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way. Many people on both the buyer side and the seller side have been conditioned to see selling as a game. In Same Side Selling – to be released next week! – Ian Altman and I explain that a far better metaphor for selling is a puzzle

Selling is a not playing a game, it’s solving a puzzle.

The objective when selling or buying is not to ‘beat’ the other side, but to determine whether there is a good fit as efficiently as possible. Two people solving a puzzle sit on the same side of the table – not sizing up their ‘opponents,’ but trying to see if the pieces fit together.

If you like this approach, you can be part of the solution by helping those who sell to you with a couple of insights:

Insight #1 for Sellers: Know Your Limits to get Buyers on your Side

When a seller is convinced they can help before they fully understand the issue, it pushes the buyer away. Consider these two pitches from sellers A & B:

  • A: “I know we can help you. Tell me what the problem is.”
  • B: “We may not be the right team to help with this. Let’s first understand the problem better.”

Would Seller A or Seller B be a better listener? Which one would you implicitly trust more?

A puzzle piece has contours and colors that make it a great fit in the right places, but a terrible fit in most places. A company’s services are like that, too. As a salesperson, embrace the fact that you often are not the right solution. Paradoxically, accepting that you are NOT the right fit makes it more likely that you WILL be the right fit.


Insight #2 for Sellers: Solve Problems to bring Buyers to your Side

We can all get caught up in features & products & qualifications & experience, but those things only matter in the context of solving problems. A seller who is more interested in understanding my problem than showing off his solutions will get much further. This is part of the reason starting a meeting with a “capabilities statement” or six slides of expertise and endorsements can be counterproductive.

The best place to start and finish is with the buyer’s problem. Buyers might be interested in hearing about your snazzy solutions, but they will be committed to solving their big problems. If you want them to spend money with you, connect with the problem early and often.

Proven Success

These insights are not just my ideas from the buyer’s perspective. Ian Altman (of Grow My Revenue) has trained scores of companies using these core principles, and often to spectacular success. It was a privilege to work with Ian over the last 18 months on Same Side Selling, and we’re very proud of the result.

We’ll offer special pricing for the first buyers on Amazon – I’ll let you know more about that next week when we release.

In the meantime, if you’d like to talk about ways to encourage your sellers to start helping you solve puzzles instead of playing games – send me a note and let’s talk!

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