One of the biggest changes in the world of b2b sales is the FACT – Your Customers No Longer Need Your Information About Products or Services.
Okay, some of you are yelling at me now since this is your world of selling – to do feature and benefit presentations to your targets. (Can’t call them customers or even prospects, just targets for your presentation.) And, it does not matter if you were told by your sales manager to go deliver this presentation. It is time to think about the people you are selling.
Now is the time to begin to set up a strategy for selling the way customers are buying rather than force feed data dumps on these people. Sorry if I’m sounding like a preacher or someone like that – I’m only trying to get a very important message to you – the b2b sales star of the future.
What has caused this change on the part of the buyer? There appear to be a couple of major reasons. These are…
- Lack of Time
Due to the cuts in personnel and positions, must buyers are handling multiple positions at the same time. There is a collective lack of time to do their jobs correctly. Therefore, they do not want a line of sales people standing at their door giving the same type of product centric presentation which usually includes a heavy dose of we are the leading provider of blah, blah, and blah. Make it a habit of not wasting their time talking about your product. Instead, ask them about the business issues and trends they are currently engaged with and work on figuring out what is really important to this individual.
- Efficiency of Time
With the lack of time comes one of humans major flaws – I have no time so I’ll do this myself. Here I’m talking about their belief that they can accomplish this task faster if I just do it myself. Therefore, these time deprived individuals turn to their old friend – Google – to learn about all the products they need to choose from and even get some price comparisons during the process. So, they have used their time to Research Your Products without you being in the room. Here is where you need to check with your marketing department to make sure they are putting up some world class information on the web – using keywords with their products associated with the problems your customer wants to solve. Too many marketers are using old school features and details about your products. They need to focus on what the buyer would be looking for – a solution to their problem not a product detail.
- Lack of Trust
Due to the high number of old school traditional sales people still calling on buyers today, trust is low on the part of the buyers. They – the buyers – do not like to be sold, told or pushed into a decision. What they want is someone they can trust. Then they can share important information to help find or develop a true solution to their issue or situation. Take time to build trust with the individual. The best way is to ask questions and then listen and learn – clarification questions are very good at developing trust with the individual since it shows you are both listening and wanting to understand more.
- Lack of Credibility
This is part of a combination of showing expertise – what you have written about, spoke about at trade shows or other business functions, and industry trends or insider knowledge – or experience – what you can show as similar success stories or word of mouth information from peers or a personal influence regarding your previous success with their issue.
Finally, since the customer or buyer probably knows more about your products and the competitors products – the question you need to ask yourself is…
What do I do now if I’m not sharing product information?
You should be spending more time discussing the following…
- the situation
- what they already done
- what is the desired outcome for the buyer
- learn the important buying criteria
- what is the cost of a no action or no decision
- how will this situation impact the buyer
- is there any political pressure on this situation
- and, who else is involved in this decision
That is a quick list for you to review as to things that are more important for your success in b2b sales. Create a plan for uncovering the answers to these points and you will be winning accounts and relationships with buyers.