Over the past two years I have noticed a trend getting stronger and stronger in its impact on b2b sales success.
So what is this new trend? In reality it has been an issue for a long time, yet, today it is more common and growing in both intensity and impact upon the sales process.
It is buyers and decision makers have little to no available time to visit with b2b sales people.
Anyone in the sales game today is seeing this impact. There is no time for small talk or old school yakking about sports, family or the good old days. Now it’s about get me curious about your solution or give me some information so I (the buyer or decision maker) wants to learn more about your possible solution. This curiosity will lead to you getting an appointment.
Now the game is on. You must be engaging from the very start – not with worn out sales presentations using feature and benefit tactics – using targeted questions to engage the customer and learn about their specific issues and problems. As you learn about their issues, you will need to ask good questions designed to both get more information and to show your level of experience due to the depth of the questions.
Listen, the game is or has changed. If you are still using old school tactics and techniques you will be in a world of hurt. Prospects and customers expect more and their are looking to buy from knowledgeable, experienced and confident b2b sales people. They no longer have the time to educate you on their systems and processes or even how your product or service works for them. You need to know the issues, problems and expanded consequences for customer situations. Then you will be in a position to assist in solving the issues or problems and showing an accurate return on investment.
Here is your assignment to counter this time shortage.
- Do your homework on your targeted prospects and key account customers.
- If prospects and customers are all in the same industry, then study this industry until you know the trends better than the customer.
- If the prospects and customers are all in different industries, then prioritize your targets and key accounts, take one industry at a time and study it until you know the issues, common problems and current trends.
- Stay in constant contact with the targeted and key accounts using emails, letter (yes, direct mail is priceless today.), fax (different, yet, very effective with many targets) using success stories, implementation advantages, industry related articles using your suggested solution,
- Practice and role play (video your role play and learn) your openings with a prospect or customer. Here you are learning how to be brief, yet effective. How to engage a buyer or decision maker quickly with focused questions to build value and self-discovery of using your solution.
No longer can you afford to “wing it” with no plan or purpose for a customer or prospect visit. Being prepared to show your professionalism is the key to standing out from the thundering herd of b2b sales people knocking on the buyer’s door – every day! Be different and get more accounts to grow your business.