Posts in B2B Selling

Barry Gets It. In B2B Sales, Face Time Still Matters Too.

April 30th, 2014 Posted by B2B Marketing, B2B Selling 0 thoughts

Met with Barry a few months ago, a prospective vendor from a Milwaukee-area based company. Actually, it’s the third time in the past couple years he’s made a point to call a week ahead and asked for 15 or 20 minutes of my time. He swung by the office for a few minutes of face time to show me some of their latest B2B work that might have relevance to our clients’ needs—with a promise to be respectful of my time. I’ve never actually bought anything—as in awarded a project to him. Yet. But when the right one comes along, he’ll definitely get a shot.

There are at least a dozen local companies and probably more, that provide the same type of business services in our local market, Grand Rapids. Most of them are no more than 15 to 20 minutes away from our office, and yet most I’ve never actually met in person and none have ever actually paid a visit. Even when we’ve put a couple projects out for local bids, communication has been entirely by email and phone—with suggestions that I look at their work on their websites. (News flash. I already did. Before you ever knew I was looking. It’s why you got a call from us in the first place.) (more…)

B2B Illustrated: The Long Sales Cycle

December 16th, 2009 Posted by B2B Selling 1 thought

b2b-long-sales-cycle

B2B Selling. It’s About Relationships, Right?

August 17th, 2009 Posted by B2B Selling 11 thoughts

In short, no.

Growing your existing business with a particular customer or client may very well be about cultivating the relationship, but getting customers in the first place is not. While relationships with referral sources can lead to referrals, relationships with prospects will often only create a sale if everything else is equal.

Consider the following scenario. A prospect you would really like to land is doing business with another company like yours. Common wisdom suggests the first thing to do is establish a relationship with the prospect. Let him get to know your company. Get some face time. Build some trust. Then, you’ll get an opportunity to quote or present a proposal.

So you send him something. You have a telephone conversation. Engage in social media activities. Get a meeting. Have lunch. Take him golfing. (more…)

Profiling by B2B Job Function? At Your Own Risk.

July 14th, 2008 Posted by B2B Selling 0 thoughts

Every July 4th my wife and I partake of the annual picnic at a lakeshore cottage association on Michigan’s West Coast. Same date, same time, same tent rising from the sandy beach beneath the dunes like something out of Ali Baba, same kinds of shared food (I didn’t know you could make potato salad eight different ways!) and mostly the same people. Including some sames who attended their first picnic there during the Coolidge administration. But every now and then a family extends a bit, and there are new members to meet and greet. We always try to take the first step. Because same is so…same…you know.

Last year a new family joined us and I had the opportunity to meet the father of three rowdy assembly line sons ages 5, 6, and not quite 8. A big guy he was, and soon we were talking sports. He’d played college ball himself, was a rabid fan of four pro teams, and coached his kids in a different sport each season. He had an aggressive, hand-enveloping handshake, laughed easily, shared a few anecdotes, and after our chat was complete he moved on to introduce himself to others as if he were the official greeter and everyone else had just arrived. I had to smile at his “knows no strangers” approach that was so refreshingly “un-same”. Later I remembered that I hadn’t asked what business he was in…although I really didn’t have to. I’ve met a lot of sales reps and managers in my time, and had no doubt I’d just met another. Quite likely a really good one, I thought. (more…)

Doing well in a downturn? It’s a (Fe)breeze!

May 21st, 2008 Posted by B2B Selling 1 thought

You’ve seen articles in plenty of places (including this blog) on how to survive the economic downturn. And the advice is interesting, with the messages that different sages are delivering. It seems you should:

  • Curtail spending…or spend boldly to gain share.
  • Focus on your core business…or diversify more.
  • Prospect heavily; potential clients are desperate … or prospect less; concentrate on keeping current customers happy.

See? The answer is simple.

But permit me to throw one more thought on the pile. The fact is, some brands and companies do well during tough times. And B2B marketers might learn a few things if they looked more closely at the sometimes less-than-obvious reasons why. (more…)

Sell to people, not job titles

February 15th, 2008 Posted by B2B Selling 2 thoughts

Maybe you remember the old TV show or the line that it made relatively famous: “Kids are People, Too.” Well, for those of us whose businesses involve selling products or services to other businesses, we might do well to remember, “Job Titles are People, Too.”

Consumer marketers learned long ago that a target audience is far more than a demographic profile. And the more personal and resonant the message, the better the response to it. Those of us in B2B marketing have been a little slow to catch on. (more…)

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