I keep watching b2b sales people continue to shot themselves in the foot and admire their marksmanship rather than not shooting themselves in the first place. There are several things you should not be doing – that is if you want to win an account and grow your revenues.
Several of these don’t are rooted in the old Traditional Model of Selling which is based in large part on using Presentation Skills to win a sale. Note the difference of my statements – win an account or win a sale. If you are into the short term mindset of selling you will do these things because – well that is how it has been done for decades.
The real winners are the b2b sales people who know they want a long term business relationship some therefore, their game is to win the account. In order to win accounts, these b2b sales people change their old habits and focus finding and developing a business fit between the customer and their company.
So, wondering about the three things that are definite No-No’s in the world of building business relationships?
Here are the three things you do not do in the first or second meeting with a decision maker…
- Presentation of Capabilities
First thing, if you are doing any discussion about you, your company or your products – you are losing the account. Your goal in the early goings of building a business relationship is all about inquiries as to issues, problems, pain, negative consequences and concerns held by the decision maker. This includes learning what is currently working and not working, their beliefs as to how they want to correct the issue, what have they attempted to date and the results, and most importantly – how do they seen their ideal future shaping up. Learn what they business vision is and you will be better prepared to solve their problems and create their future.
- Adding in Additional Discovery or Thoughts
This is not the time to introduce new goals or objectives – or forcing the customer down a own gizmo fixes all issues type of push selling. No, you should be sharing some knowledge, expertise and value as to what could be important in dealing with the process. You could share a customer success story – from the customer point of view – getting them involved in the success story using analogies of how the situation described may or may not match their current situation ( obviously you are looking for a match to the success story – if not you have not planned your strategy very well.)
- Specific Proposals
Hold your horses there Amigo. This is definitely not the time to be offering up specific solutions to their issues, problems and concerns at this point. It is too early and you need to go after more of a conceptual agreement or agreement in theory before even going for a specific solution. And, I would assume you have not had enough time to generate quantifiable value added for any decision to be made. Slow down to go fast in this situation. Be a business peer who is studying the complete situation and looking at all the issues – no just the ones directly related to your product. In fact, some of the most successful b2b sales people today will begin in a joint venture partner to fix areas outside their expertise or product line. Again, welcome to the new “norms” of business to business selling.
The last comment about welcome to the new “norm” of selling is one of the most difficult pieces of the new game of b2b selling to master. It takes time to understand a customer’s total and real current situation – which includes all the political agendas of people involved in the decision making process. It means you need to learn about the insiders view of the customers operation and how it works as well as knowing exactly where the leaders seen the organization going in the future.
If you are the aggressive and fast paced type of sales person, well, it is time to slow down your sales process or you will make a common mistake of finishing your sales process before the customer truly begins their buying cycle process.