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How to Improve Partner Relationship Management with Psychology
Successful channel partner sale strategy is a result of several factors.
In today’s ever competitive ‘channel’ realm, distributors/resellers are blessed with an embarrassment of selections regarding which products they can sell.
In the past, channel partners were the ones that had to fight for manufacturers’ attention; nowadays, it’s very much the opposite: manufacturers have to prove to channel partners their solutions, pricing, support, incentives, etc., serves their best interests.
Many channel-driven producers assume channel partner sale strategy and partner relationship management follows a synchronized process similar to this:
1.) Partner onboarding – an efficient and simple web-based process that gives partners all the right tools and information they need to participate as a solutions provider
2.) Sales and marketing material – Partners are provided comprehensive sales content, so new hires can quickly and knowledgeably sell your product
3.) Prompt reimbursement turnaround – channel partners are credited with qualified incentives accurately and quickly
4.) Consultation and support – manufacturers are prompt to reply to partner inquiries (e.g., voicemail, email) in a constructive and consistent manner
5.) Monitored channel conflict – partners that register qualified opportunities via PRM systems are given complete exclusive communication access from direct and indirect sales teams
6.) Incentives – partner reimbursement programs and special pricing requests are tailored toward partners’ needs, customers, pain points, and objectives
7.) New product information – partners depend on manufacturers’ latest solutions to generate new customer interest; product launches and updates are timely and comprehensively communicated via partners’ PRM systems
8.) Deal closing support – manufacturers provide early wins for newly boarded partners to facilitate trust and satisfaction; lower-tier performing partners are given assistance or warm leads to re-engage interest and confidence
Although each of these components serves an essential purpose towards maintaining valuable and successful channel partnerships, there is more than can be done.
In terms of providing unique advantages, teaching partners ‘how to use psychology in sales’ is a great method for differentiating your services from the competition.
Albeit uncommon, this diverse strategy is a great way to strengthen channel partner loyalty, while offering mutually beneficial opportunities for all parties involved.
Channel partner sale strategy to generate more customer interest while closing more deals:
The “What are you Willing to Pay” Principle
When businesses opt to determine their price structure, they frequently gravitate toward:
- How much my competitors are pricing?
- How much can I afford to undercut my competitors’ pricing?
- How much money do I need in order to receive a profitable ROI?
However, rarely do companies structure their pricing around “what customers need” and “how much customers are willing to pay.”
When you have a better understanding of the individual demand of your product or solution, you can use this information to your advantage by focusing on the customer instead of the competition.
This psychological channel partner sale strategy evokes a sense of authority and awareness, where leads are forced to consider your offering as it’s an outlier from the ‘status quo.’
Every customer views products and solutions differently, and some may need your product or solution a lot more than other interested buyers. That’s why settling for the “what competitors price their products” strategy doesn’t always produce a profit.
Experiment with this channel partner sale strategy and set out flexible prices that focus on demand, your services (or “x-factor”), and what customers would be willing to pay for it.
The “Can I Ask for a Favor” Principle
On the surface, asking customers for a favor can seem like a counterintuitive strategy that derails from monetary objectives.
However, this question is a great opportunity to establish a relationship that is oriented around trust and empathy.
When end-customers receive a sales call or email, their impulse usually comes off as defensive and dismissive. To some extent, this is a consequence of “sales fatigue,” where inboxes and voicemails are flooded with sales pitches, product information and promotional opportunities.
However, when company reps are asked to do something as a favor, their reaction is many times welcoming and curious.
The unexpected context of the message compels individuals to, at the very least, know what the favor entails.
Since the message is coming from a non-sales perspective, their impulse is to view the message as genuine and appreciative.
Here are some non-sales questions channel partners might ask:
- Can you give me a recommendation for a service provider you’ve used in the past?
- Would you be open to participating in a Q&A concerning the current state of the channel industry?
- We featured your product in one of our latest blog posts, can you Tweet it out to your network?
- Can you take a 5-question survey on [relevant issue]?
- Do you mind following us on LinkedIn? I think you’ll find the content we post valuable.
Once you establish a non-sales connection with a lead or opportunity, they will be more receptive towards your pitch in the future.
The “Yes” Principle
People, naturally, function their lives around routine and habit. Some obvious examples may include:
- Parking in the same spot every day at work
- Going to bed at a specific hour
- Buying a particular brand of milk
- Taking the same route when driving home
- Using the same path when going on a run
Changing routines don’t happen naturally, and it takes a step back and moment of contemplation before proceeding.
In day-to-day conversation, people also follow an instinctive routine. So why not help channel partners use that to their advantage? During the sales negotiation, a great tactic to use is to get the other person to say “yes” to mundane questions.
- “You’ve worked at [company name] for x years?”
- “Do you enjoy what you do?”
- “Your company is in x location?”
- “You’ve partnered with [company name] in the past?”
This simple psychological channel partner sale strategy may seem small and insignificant, but in reality, it’s a powerful mechanism towards getting to the next stage in the sales process.