Neuroscience and the b2b sales process

When I began to learn about how the brain works due to the research being used in the neuroscience studies, I began to see the light. Which light is that? The light at the other end of the tunnel indicating a train is coming and I need to pay attention.

Now must b2b sales people are still following the same old sales “tracks” laid down in the last century. They continue to hang in there using these old methods since they did work for the b2b sales people in years past. And, in some industries the old tracks still work with some old school or commodity based buyers.

Yet, the more progressive companies – both sellers and buyers of progressive companies – no longer tolerate the practices of the old b2b sales tracks. They want something new and better for the real world of today.

Okay, what is different you are thinking? A good thought or question. 

The old sales tracks were laid down using the Presentation Model for b2b sales. So the sales person had a memorized “speech” called a sales presentation. It was designed to teach or educate the buyer on their company, their product and finally their offer. Therefore, the vast majority of the time, the b2b sales person was doing all the talking with little engagement by the buyer. A power closing tactics were the name of the game – after bouts of handling many objections.

Usually, this sales process ended with a price reduction to get the sales – not the account. The key point here is persuasion was based in logic, education, focused upon the product rather than the buyer, and was all about making the sale.

Enter the new world of selling, er, actually – buying. Customers today do not want to be sold – they only want to buy.

The neuroscience research has opened our eyes to how the brain processes sales information and thus a new model has become necessary if you want to be successful in your b2b sales efforts.

Step one is welcome to the world of the Questioning Model of b2b Selling. Engaging the customer increases their involvement and thus their commitment to the b2b sales process. What proof do we have for the left brain logical thinkers who need tangible information?

The research tells us we need to be engaged in a diagnosing focus 80% of the time we are with our buyers or decision makers. And, you cannot diagnose while you are doing all the talking. It is time to ask questions, engaging your prospect or customer to tell you more so you can accurately diagnose their issues and concerns (your sales opportunity). So, 80% of your time is utilized asking questions and listening to their answers – then asking more questions to gain more clarity to their answers.

Then the second step is where you begin the selling process which is really showing the decision making part of the brain some simple ideas (rather than complex) using emotional terms (rather than pure logic) showing contrast (rather than only your point of view) along with some tangible proof (rather than “trust me”) and make certain the decision maker understands how they personally win.

Okay, one last look at the new 3 step process for effective b2b selling for the buyer’s brain to get engaged and favorable to your offering.

  1. Diagnosing 80% of your time – asking questions and listening to answers
  2. Selling 15-20% – building rapport, differentiating, emotional influence, and closing
  3. Educating 0 – 5% – little time spent doing any kind of presentation to educate.

There you have the new three step model which is being verified by the neuroscience research and studies. This new information is validating what many of us had been thinking about for several years – especially during the Great Recession period.

In summary, it is time to begin learning a new b2b sales track or your could get left at the station when the new buying express leaves the station. If you don’t know where to begin, use the contact form and ask for a list of reading material on the Questioning Model of b2b selling. I will send you a list of key books that are opening the new b2b sales world to sustainable success.

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Voss Graham

Sr Business Advisor / CEO at InnerActive Consulting Group Inc
Your Knowledgeable Partner for Business Success and Achievement. Dedicated to helping others get to their next level of success. Award winning business advisor; coach to executives and business owners; Business Growth Strategist; and experienced using assessments for hiring & selection, evaluation of teams and improving communication. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.

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