Okay, I know some of you are thinking I have lost my mind in the fast paced world we currently live in. Yet, it is true. In many cases, we need to slow down to go fast in a given b2b sales process.
I was first told of this statement by a creative thinker type, who used this term as an example to his clients. In fact, he drew from examples on several fronts – including manufacturing processes. One story sticks in my mind since my wife loves the product.
Seems the maker of the original Tater Tots purchased some new equipment to produce more product in less time. The engineers sped up the production process and created a huge increase in production of Tater Tots.
The only problem was the faster the production line, the less product was being purchased by the consumers! So, market research was done to learn the reason for the decline in sales. Well, seems the new machinery was turning the insides of the Tater Tots into mashed potatoes with no texture.
So, after much arm twisting, the engineers slowed down the machinery and the texture improved. Most importantly, sales increased again and everybody was happy.
Now, that story had a happy ending, yet, most of time the people who continue to just go faster and faster have no clue about what they are creating for themselves in the form of preventable problems.
Here are a few examples…
- Moving too fast in the b2b sales process
To often I see b2b sales people get so far ahead of the buyer or decision maker they have nothing left at the critical stages for negotiation or flexible terms. They used all their variables too early in the process.
- Moving forward without good or current information
Talk about a major mistake. When a b2b sales person meets with a decision maker and has incomplete to little knowledge about the account, they have usually lost the account before opening the door. It is your job to know more about the customer or prospect than they sometimes know themselves. It shows you have earned the right for admission into their busy world.
- Calling on a prospect without doing homework prior to the call
I opened the door to this one in the previous point, however, it is worth a second emphasis. If you have not done your homework – you have not earned the right of entry into the decision makers limited mind space. Decision makers have no time to be answering detail questions only benefiting you. They need focused and penetrating questions into what is keeping them up at night. You get this information by doing your homework and research – including finding others with in this organization to provide the insider point of view.
- Grasping for attention from prospects by talking more rather than listening
Puffing is no longer an effective sales technique, yet, many b2b sales people think it is their duty to use language like – “leading company, best of class, world class, top of the hill, or award winning” – in their early meetings with prospects. Sorry, Charlie! This technique no longer has an mojo. Today, you need to be real and focused upon the prospect or customers issues – using information or success stories to help them – which will ultimately lead to helping you – later.
- Doing a sales “pitch” before building rapport, credibility or purpose.
Killer mistake! Prospects and customers no longer want to be sold – they want to buy from someone they trust and feel will help them the most. Bite your lip, take a pain killer, pinch your finger, or bite your tongue – anything to keep you out of presentation mode. Your goal is to ask questions about the prospects situation, share ideas on ways to fix things – without mentioning your product or service by name – and show examples of how others have dealt with similar issues.
There are several more issues raised by moving too fast in the b2b sales process. Take a moment to reflect upon how you have handled b2b sales situations. Are there times when you needed to slow down rather than go into fast forward mode – only to lose the sales, account or opportunity. These are examples of self-destruction and can be prevented by thinking or reflecting upon your b2b sales situations.
In fact, slowing down to reflect on exactly what is happening with an account relationship is an excellent example of slowing down to reflect. To often the reason given by b2b sales people as to why they don’t know critical factors about a potential customer is – I didn’t have the time!
Make time to insure your b2b sales success. The B2B Sales Superstars always take the time to learn more about their best customers and targeted prospects. You should too.