One thing many B2B sales people seem to forget when pursuing a lead is to stop being a sales person and start being a human. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. Would you want to be continually hounded and repeatedly told the benefits of a product that have nothing to do with why you may be interested in using it? You are not a nameless online shopper filling your e-cart with goods. You are a potential client or customer of the business, using the product or service for your business. So, here it is: the best B2B (or business to business) sales technique you’re not using is the delicate process of getting to know your prospect on a genuine level, listening, engaging, and crafting your sales pitch around that specific person’s motivations to buy.
Invite them to participate.
Whether you’re the owner of a marketing agency looking to close a client, or an affiliate marketer looking to close a new member of the team, one of the advantages of trying to close a B2B deal is that it is much more personal and on more of a peer-level than B2C customers. Invite your prospect to grab coffee or even play some golf. Get tickets to a sports game or a concert and invite your potential lead along to enjoy. The type of activity will depend on the value of the lead being closed, but the idea is to get some face-to-face time alone with this prospect.
Ask them questions about themselves.
The number one priority of this “get together” is to genuinely learn about this prospect and what makes them tick. What inspires this person or drives them to work hard? What is their personality type and what do they enjoy doing? By asking people about themselves, even family and general questions that are unrelated to your business will get them to loosen up, trust you a little bit more, and think of you on a more friendly, less “salesy” level.
Practice engaged listening.
Don’t just ask questions and forget to listen to the answers or respond with follow up questions that show you are interested. By sharing openly with you, your prospect will be giving you valuable insight into the kind of person they are, why they may or may not be looking for your services, and what kind of tactics you should be using to close them. Once you listen and learn from them, you will know what may motivate them to sign on the dotted line. For example, let’s say you are a member of the Domain Cost Club, and part of their affiliate marketing program. After speaking with a prospect in depth, you come to realize that the wholesale domain prices are much more important to this person who is constantly purchasing top-level domains than the affiliate program itself. In this case, you will know to change your sales approach.
Perfect the “soft sell.”
The word “sell” should be used extremely lightly in this post, as the whole idea is to listen and engage, instead of sell. Once you have gotten to know your prospect and learned valuable insights as to why they are interested in your product or service, you can begin to describe the benefits as they relate specifically to this person. Give concrete examples based on information they have told you as to why this product or service will work for them, or how much they stand to gain based on what they told you they were looking for, specifically. Relate all information back to the prospect personally and back to how you, yourself found value from this product or service. Whatever you do, do not push yourself or what you are selling on this person in the first meeting. Simply explain the benefits and allow them to reach back out with specific questions.
Check back in.
You will want to re-engage your lead multiple times throughout this process. First, make sure to thank them for their time and follow up with some anecdotal stories you enjoyed speaking about. Or, perhaps you discussed something else you could help them with or that you could do together. Make sure to keep your word and follow-up with any necessary details. After a week or so, you will want to check back in regarding your product or service. Ask your prospect if they need any further information and/or reading material to help them in their decision. Offer to set them up with a current or previous customer that could give them an unbiased opinion.
At the end of the day, people respond better to making decisions if they feel there is a time constraint attached. If your prospect still hasn’t signed, offer some kind of special deal or discounted membership for one week only. Of course, do not be pushy with this approach, simply let them know you are reaching out in regards to this special, because you know they were interested and this would give them a significant discount (or whatever deal you have offered them.) These kinds of activities will passively encourage the prospect to make the choice and close the deal.
Remember, this approach should continue even after the sale is closed. It is just as important to keep the client or customer once you have closed them. Provide continued support and a consistent communication stream. Your client lists should have a “check-in” calendar in which you take into account the satisfaction level they have in regards to the product or service. This will aid in a high retention rate for your business.
You may think this is an extremely time-consuming process to complete, and you’re right – it is. However, you will close more leads with this approach than you ever will with a “one size fits all,” “throw some stuff at the wall and see what sticks” approach. Time and effort are the marks of a truly successful sales person.
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