He looked haggard. I could tell he wasn’t listening to my presentation.
“You look a million miles away,” I said, saying nothing more.
Glancing up at me he replied, “Sorry. I’ve got a lot on my plate at home. Sick family members, tuition due, flooded garage repairs and a whole list of other urgent honey-do’s.”
“How ‘bout we table this for a week? I can come back when you’ve got some stuff ironed out.”
Relieved, he said, “That will work out much better.”
“If you’d like, I can give you the name of a good contractor for your garage. He’s a client of mine and I can personally vouch for his work,” I offered.
He smiled, “That would be a great help to me. Thanks.”
B2B Salespeople often makes the mistake of thinking clients can only be reached while they are at work. This will cost them dearly.
On the surface, selling to a retail client looks very different to selling to a business owner. After all, retail sells directly to consumers, a very broad segment of the population. Consumers are a herd, business people are fewer in number so they are a smaller target, therefore require a different strategy to sell to. Many companies specialise in target segmentation, nestling them into tiers, and a whole lot of other 'sales-speak' categories. They design pitches and presentations to give to business owners in their offices, because that’s where business is done. Except, it isn’t.
Your clients don’t stop being business owners when they go home. They don’t exist in a vacuum, and they certainly don’t stop thinking about how to grow their businesses when they are not in the office. In other words, they can be reached anywhere, by TV, Radio, and print.
In his book, Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads, Roy H. Williams says, “The single greatest mistake made by advertisers today is that they fail to see customers real.”
This is a failure of insight, innocently overlooking the fact that your clients are fully complete human beings. They, like you, are the same people at home that they are at work. They buy cars, clothes, food, and on occasion, rubber chickens.
What this means is they aren’t just a business owner. They aren’t a step towards you meeting your budget. They are a person who has a life outside of business. Just like you, your employees, and your spouse. Build your relationship on that.
In sales we like to spend an awful lot of time talking about 'solutions'. Buzzwords like 'digging deep' and 'finding your client’s pain' are bandied about. Here’s an idea: try helping out your clients in other ways, not just by selling them your product. As a sales professional you are an incredibly valuable resource. You have built relationships with other professionals. Use your connections to help out your clients in ways outside your business relationship. They will not only be grateful, but your help could end up giving you a larger buy when your contract gets renewed. You’re a solution seller. Provide solutions of all types.
By Duel Christian is a freelance writer and owner of Enso Creativ Advertising & Marketing LLC.