How to Collaborate With Your Prospects

BY Kathy Crosett
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Are you looking for a proven way to get your prospects to say yes to your proposal? In Mike Schultz’s opinion, it’s all about collaboration. As president of RAIN Group, Schultz knows a thing or two about sales. Here’s what he has to say.

In most cases, you’re dealing with a prospect who doesn’t necessarily have to buy what you’re selling. They could opt to take no action regarding their current problem. Or, they could decide to buy a solution from one of your competitors. Your first job is to get prospects to consciously realize they have a major problem, and that the solution you’re selling will solve that problem.

Schultz suggests that you get your prospect actively wondering about a business problem and a potential solution. Maybe the ads they bought in the past did nothing to drive more customers through the door and actually increased costs at a difficult time, budget-​wise. They’re still faced with the same problem – they need more customers, especially if a new competitor has appeared in town.

Ask questions designed to get them wondering about why the last run of ads didn’t work. Did those ads target the right prospects? Did those ads appear at the time of day when the targeted consumers would notice them?

Once the prospect starts answering questions, engagement increases. It’s time to increase the collaborative selling process. You might suggest an ad campaign that encompasses both digital and traditional elements to reach a broader audience. Or, depending on what your prospect is selling, maybe a personalized campaign through email marketing may improve the ROI. Ask the prospect for their opinion.

Refine your pitch based on the prospect’s answer. At this point, you can tell a story or two about a similar client who had success using the approach you’re suggesting. Remain flexible and propose a couple of different solutions to the prospect’s problem.

Schultz is spot-​on when he recommends letting the prospect come to the right conclusion. Don’t jump in and say something like, “I knew it all along.” Remember, your role isn’t to be the hero in the collaborative process. Let the business owner keep that role. You can be the hero back at the office when you ring the bell for closing the biggest deal of the month.