Own it Together RISK

Partnering rather than the traditional supplier-customer relationship is the heart of modern business relationships.

It often sounds like a cliché when we talk about partnering with your customer but done right, it is the heart of good quality long-term business.

Own it together encapsulates that working relationship and you need to have with the people you’re working with at your prospect site. Modern selling puts tasks and responsibilities both on the person selling and on the person/people buying and they need to mutually work together to achieve a result.

It still means that this is a selling process and they are “in market” in a sales cycle with you, so it’s important not to get confused in that regard, but so long as everyone understands the game everybody can work together to make sure that happens.

There are two important elements that you need to bring to the table in that regard: you need to be challenging and you need to be demanding. You need to work the process in a way that the prospect buys into and works with you willingly. If you try to force it, then you are not mutually owning together and this can lead to a poor outcome for you. Likewise, they may try to force it – particularly around when the demo or pricing must occur and that can work out badly for you as well.

So mutual ownership is critically important. In the initial stages, mutual ownership is typically between you and your champion but as the deal progresses, this extends to other members of your team and the prospect’s team.

Amplifying Factors Industry Location

Further reading :

How to Collaborate With Your Prospect to Close More Deals

Working together to reach a deal 

RED – Not interested in our success.

Sometimes prospects simply go through the motions with vendors and don’t take mutual ownership. This may be the personal style of the individual. It may be reflective of their workload. It could also mean that there is more interest in a competitor or your project is not a high enough priority.

AMBER – Facilitating us but neutral.

If this is the case then you can assume the project is a priority, and that they are engaged with you and others, but probably indicative that you’re not clearly ahead at this stage. Often this is reflective of personal style by the prospect and should be treated as neutral unless you are given clear indications otherwise.

GREEN – Aligned and working with us.

This is a good place to be as you have a receptive buyer who will make sure you have a fair shot at the deal. However, this may be personal style, in that they treat all your competitors in the same way and when push comes to shove, they may not be willing to make a decision on a specific product.


Mitigation – what to do ?

Early in the process lay out what works best for you. This needs to be done collaboratively with the prospect. We ask a straight question like “how would you like to proceed?” and then suggest tweaks, beginning with “where we found it successful elsewhere is when together we do the following….”

Open and clear communication is important if you have concerns over your product fit, solution offering, or engagement from the customer side if you simply don’t get enough information to put forward a strong business case. Share your concerns with the prospect. You will frequently be surprised to hear that they’re willing to work to get you the information or the attention that you need.

Work with them as an equal. Quite often, small companies and start-ups have a concern that the larger company won’t treat them as an equal. You need to get over that and work with your prospect in a way that is collaborative and mutually beneficial.

When we talk about being demanding and maintaining control, this needs to be done carefully and in a collaborative style. Challenging means that you simply won’t take what they say and reflected back to them. Challenge them by asking why this is important, what alternatives have they considered, and what other options they arte considering other than your solution. This can help them to understand why they need to work with you. Maintaining control revolves around making sure they follow a sensible process rather than just jumping on pricing demos et cetera the sporadic way. It’s really in their interests. If done right, they can properly evaluate the market and make an informed decision.

Regular communication should increase as the deal progresses. Long periods of silence imply the prospect is not working with you to close the deal in a mutually acceptable timeframe. A mutual close plan is a strong framework to make sure that this happens.

Don’t be afraid to pivot your focus. If it helps progress the deal do so of course in a professional caring way. What I mean is if your initial contact is with an individual who is not giving you the support that you need, you may find another individual at the prospect to work with.

Scroll to Top