Collaborating for the Win-Win in Sales Blog Feature
Steve Bookbinder

By: Steve Bookbinder on December 15th, 2015

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Collaborating for the Win-Win in Sales

Sales Tips

For quite some time, salespeople have used the win-win strategy that promotes outcomes where both the buyer and the seller feel as if they’ve gained something meaningful from a given deal. It’s a negotiation theory that assumes that both parties will gain roughly the same number of concessions, as opposed to one side or the other dictating the terms of a given deal.

Win-win is obviously an ideal outcome, but how do we get there in a hyper-competitive, rapidly moving B2B business environment?

Real collaboration between seller and buyer is the key to generating a win-win outcome for a given deal, but more importantly for building a healthy long-term relationship.

The world’s best B2B salespeople are perceived as partners, as opposed to simply sellers, by their clientele. They collaborate with their clients whenever and wherever possible. And their clients consult them about important issues even when there’s no deal in play. So guess who has the advantage against their competition when a deal is pending?

Win-win handshake

Here some keys to maximizing collaboration between seller and buyer:

1. Sharing is caring.

What are you bringing to the table when you connect with your clients? Is it meaningful and useful to them or are you simply wasting their time?

Great B2B salespeople position themselves as givers, not takers—they know that the best deals and the best relationships are built on contributing and providing value.

Projecting the notion of “What’s in it for me?” is a surefire way to lose a given deal and never get close to building a solid relationship with an important customer.

2. Embrace the power of suggestion.

Much like a great restaurant waiter, a solid salesperson knows how to point out the best choices or options for a particular customer.

Making solid suggestions about relevant issues is a terrific way to build trust and credibility. Buyers gravitate to sellers who “know what they’re talking about.”

Refrain from shooting from the hip because that will undoubtedly backfire. If you’re a  student of your respective sales “game”, this will be a relatively easy and repeatable maneuver. And your passion for your product or service will be self-evident to your customers.

3. Ask for constructive feedback.

This is consistent with a desire for open and honest dialogue in both directions. Displaying a genuine interest in what your clients think about what you’re selling will lower his or her defenses—and open the door to collaborating on putting together a deal that makes sense for everybody.

Accepting constructive criticism also conveys a serious level of emotional maturity in you the seller, thereby enhancing your professional credibility.

4. Always recognize collaborative behavior.

Send a clear signal that you appreciate the fact that your client is working with you instead of against you. Failure to do so can undo all of the effort that’s already been invested by both parties. Most people will respond positively to such a gesture and many will want to go even further down the collaboration road.

Your proactive stance will give you a sense of control without appearing to your customer as necessarily being a domineering force—keeping that door wide open for more and better collaboration on the deal at hand.

Collaboration with clients to get a deal done isn’t easy, but the rewards are worth the effort to ensure a win-win. Repeating the process is also a great way to build a lasting and profitable relationship with your key clients.

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About the Author


Buff Parham is a widely recognized thought leader and outstanding coach in the media sales and sales management field. With 35 years of sales experience, Buff has worked at Univision, FOX, Belo, ABC and CBS. He believes that hard work matters and that raising the bar and having greater expectations tend to generate greater results. In his spare time, Buff finds cooking and playing golf to be two of the best therapies for a somewhat hectic existence!

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About Steve Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is the CEO and sales expert at DMTraining. He has delivered more than 5,000 workshops and speeches to clients all over the world and has trained, coached, and managed more than 50,000 salespeople and managers. Steve continuously refreshes his training content to reflect his latest first-hand observations of salespeople across industries and regions. Through him, participants in his workshops and coaching sessions learn the best practices of today’s most successful sellers and managers across industries. Steve understands that sales is a competitive game. To outperform competitors and our own personal best results, we need to out-prospect, out-qualify, out-present and out-negotiate everyone else, not merely know how to sell. Through his specialty programs in Pipeline Management, Personal Marketing, Great First Meetings, 2nd-level Questioning, Sales Negotiating, and Sales Coaching, Steve trains sales teams to master the skills they need to overcome the challenges they face in today’s world… and keep improving results year over year.

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