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Updated Dec 01, 2023

The 3 C’s of Driving Sales: Connect, Convince, Collaborate

Successful salespeople use key strategies to boost profits. Learn how to use the three C’s.

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Adam Uzialko, Business Strategy Insider and Senior Editor
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This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

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No matter how hard you promote your brand and how much attention you get, if you can’t sell anything then it’s all pointless. You may be good at persuading customers to look at what you’re selling, but you need a way to have them follow through and buy something. If not, your items will stay in their shopping carts for an extended period of time. 

Mike Schultz and John Doerr, the president and co-founder, respectively, of sales experts RAIN Group found in their research that successful salespeople exhibit specific behaviors at three levels. They explained each one and showed how professionals can incorporate these behaviors into the selling strategy they already use.

Editor’s note: Need a CRM solution for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you with free information.

What are the 3 C’s of driving sales?

In sales, there is a big difference between finishing first and second. First-place finishers make the sale and pocket the money while second-place finishers leave empty-handed.

To understand the characteristics that distinguish sales winners from the rest of the pack, Schultz and Doerr studied more than 700 business-to-business purchases made by buyers responsible for $3.1 billion in purchasing power for their book Insight Selling: Surprising Research on What Sales Winners Do Differently.

“What we learned from these buyers is that winners sell radically differently than second-place finishers,” Schultz told Business News Daily. “We also found that winners exhibit a specific combination of behaviors to achieve better outcomes than other sellers.”

Level 1: Connect

According to Schultz and Doerr, winners connect the dots between customer needs and company solutions. Their products and services exist to fix consumer problems. In the study, buyers revealed that winners both listened to them and connected with them personally more than the sales representatives of other companies.

Focusing on customers’ needs and showing them you care is critical to winning the sale. Don’t robotically secure a transaction and then move on to your next target; treat each person with respect and importance, and assist them throughout the sales process if needed. You need to consider their reasons for seeking out your product or service.

Psychology is a significant factor in closing the sale. Think about the things that have led the prospect to seek you out. A lot of times, price is the driving factor for the buyer. According to the National Association of Sales Professionals, there are three types of buyers. One type is the buyer who has a problem and knows they need a solution to that problem. The second type is the buyer, who is somewhat aware of the problem but doesn’t know how to resolve it. The last type is unaware they have a problem.

Every customer is unique, so adapt your approach to suit their individual preferences and needs. Building a genuine connection is an ongoing process and it requires sincerity and commitment.

Level 2: Convince

Schultz and Doerr said that winners convince buyers of three ideas: They can achieve maximum returns, the risks are acceptable and the seller is the best option. Many sellers struggle to convince buyers of such notions, and some won’t even try to do so. When they can and do, however, data shows they win more sales. Focus on the problem that the person has over anything else. Although price factors into their decisions, buyers are also interested in how the product and service can solve their problems better than any other available solutions.

Level 3: Collaborate

The study found that buyers perceive winners to be responsive, proactive and easy to purchase from. Furthermore, buyers feel that by purchasing goods and services through first-place finishers, they are collaborating with the seller to achieve mutual goals. This collaboration is integral and helps consumers feel supported and understood throughout the sales process. One of the biggest reasons people switch from prospect to buyer is the feeling of validation. The buyer wants confirmation that you understand their needs and will do what you can to meet them.

More tips to boost the sales process

1. Practice the three C’s to find the most success. 

Connecting, convincing and collaborating with customers are crucial in building loyal customers and receiving referrals.

“Those who apply these three levels as a systematic approach to selling ― and apply it well ― not only see themselves in the winner’s circle more often but also maximize client loyalty and generate the most referrals,” Schultz said.

2. Introduce buyers to new things.

Schultz and Doerr also discovered that, out of 42 factors, educating buyers with new ideas and perspectives was the one that separated winners from second-place finishers the most. By doing so, Schultz said, winners share concepts and insights that have a major impact on the buyer’s goals.

“We call this opportunity insight,” Schultz said. “Buyers typically don’t know alternative opportunities exist until sellers take the time to share them but, once they do, it influences the buyer’s agenda for action.”

He said that doesn’t mean sellers should just throw ideas out left and right to see if something sticks; they need to transfer their drive, passion and energy for the possibilities to their buyers’ minds. 

3. Consider investing in customer relationship management (CRM).

CRM software can help you better manage and grow your business’s client list and leads. [Read related: Need help choosing a CRM software solution for your business or interested in seeing what the best CRM software is for this year?]

Did You Know?Did you know
Research showed that 45 percent of companies that used CRM software saw increased sales revenues and 47 percent experienced better customer retention rates, according to Zippia.

4. Pay attention to differentiation and return on investment (ROI).

“To win today, you must also focus on differentiation, ROI and collaboration,” Schultz said. “Do so while leveraging ideas, and you’ll win significantly more often.” 

Differentiation sets you apart from other companies. It creates intrigue and interest, encouraging customers to consider your proposition. Once you have their attention, buyers will see the value of your product or services and the potential ROI once they purchase. 

Collaboration often happens after the customer completes the transaction. When customers feel that you are there to support them with their goals and address their needs, it forms strong customer satisfaction and loyalty. Then, they are more likely to promote your brand to others. 

Go beyond brand awareness 

Successful selling goes beyond generating brand awareness. It’s about converting this recognition into an actual purchase. Connecting, convincing and collaborating with customers provides structure to your sales process to help ensure an actual sale. This approach involves understanding and addressing customer needs, demonstrating the value of your offer and fostering collaborative relationships to secure customer loyalty and referrals. 

Gem Siocon contributed to this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

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Adam Uzialko, Business Strategy Insider and Senior Editor
Adam Uzialko, senior editor of Business News Daily, is not just a professional writer and editor — he’s also an entrepreneur who knows firsthand what it’s like building a business from scratch. His experience as co-founder and managing editor of a digital marketing company imbues his work at Business News Daily with a perspective grounded in the realities of running a small business. Since 2015, Adam has reviewed hundreds of small business products and services, including contact center solutions, email marketing software and text message marketing software. Adam uses the products, interviews users and talks directly to the companies that make the products and services he covers. He specializes in digital marketing topics, with a focus on content marketing, editorial strategy and managing a team.
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