It seems that self confidence comes to b2b sales people in different shapes and forms and when the self-confidence level is low – well certain things happen during the first meeting causing a large gap to form between you and the buyer or decision maker.
So I decided to make those of you needing a little more awareness of four major no-no’s during the first visit or meeting.
These items usually create insurmountable gaps between you and the decision maker which makes winning the account or business a low probability. However, I have also found that not knowing things is usually the direct cause of the mistakes. Therefore, awareness is something that strengthens your abilities to handle any situation to your advantage.
The Four Major No-No’s During the First Meeting are…
- Too Much Talking
This is a sign of pure nervous energy combined with an outgoing behavioral style leading to a chatterbox mentality. The sales person does ALL the talking and learns absolutely zero about the customer. Your goal is to become very good at asking good questions to get the customer participating in a conversation with you. This method allows you to learn usable information in order to prepare your sales strategy.
- Looking for Political Dirt
This is like gossip time between grown ups. I have seen sales people go to great lengths to uncover gossip about people in the company – like they are on a mission of destruction. It also has the smell of political energy rather than a more successful approach of dealing with performance related matters. That is wasted energy in my opinion. You need to focus your energy on learning facts about the organization, real business issues, who stands to lose if there is no change, and what have they tried in the past?
- The Handling Objections Trap
Unfortunately, many good b2b sales people have been trained using old school or the traditional model of selling which believes in confrontation and handling objections. And, to top it off, my experience is a large number of current sales managers were also totally versed in the this method and then preach the “skill” of objection handling at every opportunity they have. Unfortunately, every buyer and decision maker has experienced every objection handling technique known to sales and just plain feel offended by these techniques or “skills.” (And, yes I have actually taught these techniques to sales people in the 80’s and 90’s.)
The new rule is to use the Questioning Model of business to business selling to have a dialogue about things influencing the need for b2b sale to take place including change opportunities. During the questioning sequence potential objections are brought up and discussed relative to their importance and impact upon the sale, This method involves the decision maker in solving the issues or objections before the objection becomes a major concern.
- Unleashing a Data Dump
Again, the Traditional Sales Training which uses the Presentation Model for sales has created a major problem for current b2b sales people. When a b2b sales person begins a data dump of information, detail, features and assumed benefits (with no direct tie in to the decision makers concerns) the decision makers eyes will actually glaze over. They are very tried of these endless strings of verbal diarrhea, they usually stop the sales person in their tracks with a notorious question – “how much is it?” or “okay, send me a quote.” This is done just to shut the sales person down and get them out the door.
The key for greater b2b sales success is to engage the decision maker in a question based conversation about “business issues” with no mention of products or services. I know this goes against the grain of most b2b sales people, yet, it is the best method to use for advancing the sale. Learn the key business issues and only share customer success stories related to their issues – then they will want to talk with you some more.
There you have the big four no-no’s and better methods to use in their place. Now you have the awareness, go out and meet with some customer and advance the b2b sales process the right way.
If you know a few additional no-no’s made by b2b sales people please let me know by leaving comment below – I do read everyone’s comments. Thanks.