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Grow Your Business Sales & Marketing

5 Tips for Selling B2B

Selling business to business (B2B) requires a different mindset that selling to consumers. Yet, many business owners don't know how to customize their sales approach to a business customer.

Mike Whitney, chief learning officer at The Morris Group Inc., an industrial B2B sales company, has 45 years of experience in B2B industrial sales. He gives us advice on what mistakes B2B sales people must learn to avoid.

Thinking cold calls will get business. – There was a time when due to lack of information, cold calls served a purpose in B2B sales.  Not anymore. Before a sales encounter, take the time to do research on the Web and learn whether it is worth your time to pursue an account, how profitable the account might be and what challenges the industry faces. Just these three pieces of information will help you maximize your B2B sales success.  Have at least three good business reasons to meet with an account before doing so. The B2B salesperson that wins the information battle usually wins the order.

Thinking that you are on a sales call instead of a business interview. – The term “sales call” is out of place in successful B2B selling.  No one has time for a social “call” or a drop-in “call” by a salesperson.  However, a business interview is an entirely different matter.  An interview has a business purpose in mind that is clear to all participants.  The term “interview” implies preparation for the interview – both by the interviewer and the interviewee.  Interviews are results-oriented for all parties.  Interviews have a very clear beginning, middle and end no matter where a B2B salesperson is in the sales process.

Thinking that your company will support your B2B endeavors. – Not only do you have competitors for business in the general marketplace, you also have competitors within your own company.  In the majority of B2B sales organizations, you are only one of many voices crying for resources that are needed to help you win orders. One sure way to get noticed within your company is to have a track record that shows that you can turn those resources into orders.

Having no clear vision of what it will take for you to obtain business from your prospect. – Visions are a lot like goals — they are the way you want the world to look after you apply your resources.  When you are in the early stages of a B2B sales process, figure out how your customer wants the world to look after they invest with you and your company.  Once you have this vision clearly defined, then your job as a B2B sales leader is to list the steps required to help your customer reach the world they envision.  Work backward from the desired outcome and list each step sequentially to fulfill that vision.  Your challenge now is to provide that outcome profitably for your company and your prospect.

Forgetting you are working with people, not companies, as you pursue an order. – What do you look for in the people and companies you choose to do business with?  Your B2B sales prospect is probably applying a similar set of criteria to the people and the companies they prefer to do business with.  Certainly companies have challenges that require solutions, but it is the people within those companies that are charged with finding the solutions and putting them in place.  People have emotions, likes, dislikes, biases, preferences, blind spots, irrationalities, and a hundred other things that drive their decision-making process.   B2B sales leaders take the time to find out what makes up the complete personality of a decision-maker at a prospect company.