When we think of board games we tend to think of competitive board games—those with one winner and one (or more) losers. But did you know that there are cooperative board games? There’s also cooperative selling. Shifting from a scarcity mindset (that of a competitive game) to an abundance mindset (that of a cooperative game) can help to reduce the tension you feel as you approach sales conversations.
I grew up playing board games but I didn’t learn about cooperative board games until I was in my 20s. If you’re unfamiliar with cooperative games, they’re games where all players work together to achieve a goal—you all lose or you all win. (Two of my favorites are Pandemic and Codenames: Duet).
I found I enjoyed cooperative board games even more than competitive board games. The shift from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset brought more joy to gameplaying and created increased bonding with fellow players. And the stronger the other players, the more likely we all were to all win.
I had a similar revelation when I learned how to sell in a cooperative manner. Society had taught me that selling was a zero-sum game. The seller won if the price was high and the buyer won if the price was low. I stayed away from sales at the beginning of my career because I believed it was a game based on scarcity.
Once I was finally coaxed into joining sales conversations, I was fortunate to be brought into a team that approached sales from an abundance mindset. The conversations with prospective customers felt like a cooperative game. Sales was like solving a puzzle of how to propose a solution that would create win-win results for both the buyer and the seller.
If you’re reluctant to sell because you believe that sales is a competitive game where your customer is the opponent, you might be relieved to learn you can sell in a way that is a cooperative game where your customer is your partner.
A cooperative sales approach sets you up to create win-win solutions for both you and your customer and makes for a more agreeable sales process for both the buyer and seller.