Are We On the Same Side of the Table as Our Buyers?

How can we be on the same side of the table as our client? Typically, it feels like us vs them. They have a problem we have the Best solution. They want it for a certain price we want to sell it 3X that price, they want to implement in 6 months we want to recognize revenue now and implement this month.

To work towards a common goal, we must think and act like partners, having each other’s best interests. To do this we have to be sitting on the same side of the table. Easier said than done. Many companies claim to have their buyer at the center of their marketing, sales initiatives etc but they lead with themselves, their product, and the logos they have partnered with. Nothing is more of a turn-off.

Building trust, leading in service, and genuinely wanting to help authentically will be felt by your audience.

The language we use, the actions we take, and how we ask questions and introduce ourselves are all related. Even though our products may be similar, people remember the way we made them feel, this part is within our control.

Let’s start with our email, this is an easy one. Look at the number of “I’s” we have in it. How can we replace this with “You” their name, their company and make it about the customer? This simple activity forces us to look at things through the lens of our prospect.

What about our Value Proposition? when at a trade show, meeting, or client’s office, and we are asked what we do. Most of us start with “I work with, we help, we service”.How about putting the prospect first through storytelling, to create resonance? Paint a picture in our listener’s minds.

"You know how….. (Enter your ICP here) struggle with, are frustrated with, hate doing X (they should see themselves in this before stage), we help them to achieve ( their goals, future state) by using (Our solution)".

A simple reframe puts the client front and center.


Seller 1: Happy to introduce myself and tell you how we can help you.

Seller 2: I would love to tell you more about what we do, but I would be more interested in learning about your company, your team, and your priorities to see if we are able to help you.

When you allow the customer to go first, it is like you are holding the door open for them, they feel respected and a priority.

As a seller, you also have something to anchor your questions, and solutions to as you have some background information. You can use this to determine if this is a good fit while making them feel validated. Win-win.

Adding Value with No Ask

What can you send your client/ prospect that would be helpful with No Ask?

· Interesting report that highlights an area of focus for them. Point them to why this is important. Your point of view and context are important here.

· Referral

· Offer to introduce them to someone in your network

This shows you are genuinely looking to help them, especially if your services or contract has not yet started, or they are completed. This will get noticed and remembered. In the eyes of our clients, all sellers look the same, perhaps one had a red logo and the other had a blue one. How can we put a face to our engagement? become memorable? de-risk situations? educate them? help them see around the corner?

Not trying to overcome every signal objection that comes out of their mouths. Pause and understand where these objections are coming from. What is motivating them to want to speak with another customer who is using your solution?

As Matt Dixon refers to in The Jolt Effect, use Radical Candor. How can we label our customers' emotions? “It sounds like you are still weighing all your options before making your decision” This disarms your client, allowing them to agree, or disagree and add more detail. In their mind speaking to another client is the solution to feeling more comfortable, less risk averse and moving forward” Most other sellers would agree and set up yet another call with a client. Being a trusted advisor using radical candour you know better.

All it will do is provide more of the same and keep them paralyzed in fear. This behaviour is not buyer centric, we are not helping them move forward.

Being the expert, you can confidently let them know, speaking with another client unfortunately will not give them the security they are looking for. However, having dealt with many companies and people in your position, with the weight of the decision on your shoulders you have a better solution.

What if we mapped out a 3–6-month deliverables schedule that clearly shows the range of savings post-implementation? Would this be helpful for you and perhaps to take back to your manager to review? Assure that the system provides the committed deliverables within the proposed timeframe.

Your human side comes out here and you are addressing the underlying issue. The uncertainty and reluctance to move forward in case they have made a mistake. Steamrolling over these feelings and setting up another call keeps you on the surface. Uncertainties and fear remain on top ending in No decision. This is another example of putting the buyer first and looking out for their personal and professional needs as human beings. Calling out what you truly see and offering a better solution.

What will you add or change to your selling engagements to truly become more buyer-centric and get on the same side of the table?

About Karen Kelly

For 20 years Karen has been specializing in the art and science of sales and communication her passion and experience are helping technical sales professionals become more confident and to disrupt with value.

Her dedication to developing and delivering customized sales training programs provide her audience practical, relevant tools  that can be used immediately to break down the barriers in a competitive landscape and separate themselves from the noise.

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