“I’m not a salesperson!” – The catchcry of many business owners, especially those who come from technical or product-based backgrounds.
Everyone knows that in order to generate more revenue, you need to increase sales – especially as the owner. However, labelling yourself a ‘salesperson’ can seem distasteful and often leaves people feeling uncomfortable.
So, how do we reconcile these two positions? You need to be great at sales to generate revenue, but you don’t want to be a ‘pushy salesperson’.
In this blog, I will share with you three ways to improve client satisfaction and close more sales, whilst avoiding pushy, obnoxious selling tactics. With these three B2B selling tips, you’ll soon be creating magic for your customers and your business, while also reducing your personal anxiety about pushing for sales.
B2B Selling Tip #1: The best sales people don’t actually sell.
The best sales people don’t focus on selling, but instead help their buyers to buy.
In the world of business-to-business (B2B) selling, buyers take an extended journey before completing a purchase.
Initially buyers are untroubled and unaware. Then they become troubled and aware of a need, but are unsure what best meets that need. Eventually they find someone that offers a solution to that need. And finally, they make a purchase.
It can be a long and windy road that leads to your door – and many times your buyers get confused or lost along the way. This is why the best sales people act as professional guides. They help the buyers to navigate their journey, earning their respect along the way, and win, as a result.
It is important to focus your selling engagement on understanding your target buyer’s motivation. You need to consider what they are attempting to fix, accomplish, or avoid, and then help them to navigate their buying journey to resolve that motivation.
B2B Selling Tip #2: Don’t focus all your energy on who’s signing the cheque
“Go sell to the decision maker.”
It’s a common expression in sales. At face value it’s reasonable to believe that to be achieving sales, you need to focus on the person who is signing the cheque – also called the ‘Economic Buyer’. However, too much focus on this aspect of the sales process can lead to failure. We know, from years of research by companies such as Miller Heiman and Huthwaite, that the buying process is influenced by more than just the Economic Buyer.
You need to consider the other buyers involved. For example, the Technical Buyer who reviews the specifications of your proposed solution, and the End-User Buyers. Each of these other buyers have the power to say no to your offer. Successful selling requires you to engage all stakeholders – economic, technical and users. You need to engage wide, as well as high.
B2B Selling Tip #3: Social media is not just for kids.
In a 2016 global study, Sales Excellence Benchmarking Organisation CSO Insights, a division of MHI Global, identified a number of behaviours successful sales people executed.
New to their list for 2016, was the concept of social engagement, or social-selling. The study explains:
“One behaviour that may be somewhat surprising comes from the social engagement arena: successfully implementing social media guidelines. While many companies, perhaps most, are still deliberating on the value of social engagement, World-Class Sales Performers continue to outdistance all others by formalizing their sales professional’s social activities. They embrace social engagement to help identify hidden stakeholders—what used to be referred to as “phantom” buying influences. These are the players that come out of the woodwork at the eleventh hour to delay and/or derail sales opportunities.”
While many sales people bemoan the socially aware and Google informed buyers, we need to appreciate the positive outcomes these tools can achieve, when leveraged strategically. Social tools such as LinkedIn, provide access to a wealth of information and allow you to engage potential buyers in ways previously impossible. You can also use these tools to identify target buyers more effectively and efficiently. Understanding these stakeholders and their position in the buying process will allow you to maximise your sales outcomes.
Next steps for mastering complex selling
So those are my 3 secrets to sales success, and I hope your inner sales genie is ready and roaring to go. However, if you really want to drive your revenue and grow sales dramatically, here’s one more treat.
Write down your 3 key sales concerns, and comment on this article, or send them through to me here.
I’ll personally review them and send you some coaching tips, leveraging my own sales knowledge and applying these techniques to overcome your concerns. It’s time to take action and apply what you’ve learnt to your own sales process!