Increase Your Connections to Make B2B Sales

I’ve been observing and reading other sales experts rail on about how the sales cycles are increasing in length, how hard it is to get an appointment with a real decision makers, and how no one is returning a sales person’s phone call these days. Is this true for you too?

Personally, I had seen these things impacting our sales results over the past four years – the Great Recession seemed to accelerate the trend.

Yet, I have noticed one factor that seems to be gaining strength in our world of impersonal attitudes being displaced by the corporate wizards of purchasing.

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Barriers to Overcome to Get Decisions to Buy

To continue the theme of why it is getting harder to be successful in b2b sales today, I thought it would be a good idea to clarify the barriers to decision making for you.

Most of these barriers are connected to the major theme for the decision makers today – job security. With the possible exception of the Great Depression in the 1930’s job security has never been this important – across the board.

Therefore, new strategies and focus must be added to your b2b selling skills box of knowledge. It is a time for wisdom to take a higher position or ranking in the minds of b2b sales people.

So, here is my list of barriers to the Decision Makers…

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Is It Getting Harder to Succeed in B2B Sales?

Seems to be a recurring theme these days when talking with B2B Sales people today. With the exception of a small group who consistently tell me they are doing extremely well.

Why the polar opposite  responses to the same concept? Many b2b sales people are doing poorly while others are doing great.

So, I guess it is time to dig into the reasons for this difference of both opinion and performance.

Here is what I am finding from my research…

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The Lost Art of Qualifying a Prospect

One of the most interesting challenges I encounter with b2b sales people is the Art of Qualifying a Prospect. It does not seem to matter if the b2b sales person is a newbie or an old pro, there seems to be a disconnect with qualifying a prospect.

The key factor is many b2b sales people losing this skill or art if you may – is due to their sales managers telling them that everyone is a customer. They just need to overcome all their objections and they will buy and become customers.

Interesting scenario if you believe the above statement is true.

Actually, this out dated belief comes from the Traditional Presentation Model of Selling since it is all about telling the prospect or customer what they need. Again, you need to unlearn old habits or old training tactics that are causing you more harm than good in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace.

To stand out from the thundering herd of b2b sales people who are calling on your prospects and customers using the same old school sales tactics, you need to revisit the Art of Qualifying a Prospect.

There are several factors or elements to consider while evaluating your prospects and customers.

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How Emotion Wins and Loses Your B2B Sales

Got to thinking about the role of emotion in our b2b sales world. Interestingly, emotion can be helping us win accounts or it can be driving a wedge between us and the decision makers. This is the classic case of a dilemma.

Okay, so we all know that all decisions are 100% emotional and we need to engage the emotional side of the decision makers brain. That is correct and this is an example of the positive side of using emotions in the b2b sales process.

So how can emotion be a problem for our b2b sales success?

Simply when we get too emotional in our sales process.

There are several ways this occurs, so let me review the negative side of emotion relative to our sales success.

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Changes for B2B Sales People to Consider

Well, I’ve been “a-wall” for a few weeks doing the things I’m supposed to do – sell, market and find new things to share with you. So here goes…

First, have you noticed a severe disconnect with most buyers and decision makers lately? It seems to have started around five or six years ago and gained speed since the recession started in 2008.

Second, have you noticed how fast customers and prospects respond to any discussion You start about your products or services. This seems to be the most challenging issue for many sales people (including myself from time to time.). There appears to be Five Factors contributing to this issue for sales people…

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Does Your Mindset Impact Your B2B Sales Performance?

Here is a topic most b2b sales people seem to ignore. It seems to me it is a topic they don’t understand for the most part.

Yet, your actual sales results plus your ability to successfully change to meet the new world “norms” requires an understanding of the impact of Your Mindset upon your results.

For most people this is a subject that appears to be complex and time consuming to fully understand. Then there is the issue of

“okay, I believe mindset is important, but I don’t know how to use it effectively, develop it or change it for increased b2b sales success.”

And, truthfully I was in this school of thought for years. I knew it was important since most of the self-help books in the late 90’s and the decade of 2000’s talked about self-limiting beliefs being the major blocker to success.

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Alert! Your Customer Does Not Need Your Information

One of the biggest changes in the world of b2b sales is the FACT – Your Customers No Longer Need Your Information About Products or Services.

Okay, some of you are yelling at me now since this is your world of selling – to do feature and benefit presentations to your targets. (Can’t call them customers or even prospects, just targets for your presentation.) And, it does not matter if you were told by your sales manager to go deliver this presentation. It is time to think about the people you are selling.

Now is the time to begin to set up a strategy for selling the way customers are buying rather than force feed data dumps on these people. Sorry if I’m sounding like a preacher or someone like that – I’m only trying to get a very important message to you – the b2b sales star of the future.

What has caused this change on the part of the buyer? There appear to be a couple of major reasons. These are…

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Three Things Your Don’t Do in the First or Second Meeting

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?

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Your B2B Buyers Have Changed Tactics – Are You Ready?

Looking into the competitive environment of b2b sales, I began to notice both subtle and major changes in the way our b2b buyers function and treat us. These changes will have an impact upon our b2b sales success in the future.

Have you noticed some of the changes happening in the way your b2b buyers are using your services as a b2b sales person. I know the boomer b2b sales people have seen the changes occurring during the past decade as I have. And, our success has been hampered by these changes – usually in the form of losing old customers and constantly being hammered on price comparisons.

How and Why are these changes happening in our marketplace. How and Why are these changes happening to you? And, more importantly, do you have a sales strategy to change the game?

Here are the Big Seven Changes in Tactics and Methods used by our B2B Buyers…

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