You know you do this:
Before you buy certain goods what do you do?
... You research about them online
... You buy them online
... You usually don't bother speaking to a salesperson.
So is it any surprise that B2B buyers are starting to buy the same way.
Don't believe me?
Read on and you'll discover:
1. Research that proves this is the new reality.
2. What selling technique makes BUYERS COME TO YOU (and it works in B2B and B2C).
3. What 12 of the wisest sales pros have to say about it all.
Plus you'll see sales tips you can use right now to grow your sales.
Can you handle the truth about sales?
Because the truth is - the way consumers and B2B buyers buy goods/services is changing.
Yet many salespeople are still using old selling methods from 20, 40, 60 years ago.
You know the ones - the sales tips and tricks you get from grumpy 'been there done it all' sales veterans, where they tell you:
- "Always be closing, look for any opportunity.”
- “Do you know your closes, learn all the closes (Assumptive, Ben Franklin, Half Nelson etc, etc)”
- “It's a war out there with those prospects and it's your job to win.”
A selling technique to help you and the buyer
Well in this article we’ll look at a technique that's a win-win for you and the buyer.
There are actionable sales tips, advice and practical ways on how to put it to use TODAY...
... With the result - sales keep rolling in nicely for you, regardless of digital changes.
So what am I talking about here?
One of the best sales techniques to master in this digital age - is the ability to build good sales relationships with buyers.
Now stay with me on this...
... Because according to this SHOCKING research by Google. The way many sales professionals communicate to B2B buyers and who they are communicating to - is completely wrong for the digital age.
That's because the advice old-fashioned sales managers give salespeople to get sales and build sales relationships, generally goes something like this:
... Here’s a list of companies or here’s your area, go out and sell.
... Set up appointments with the decision maker.
... Be friendly to them.
... Then sell them our goods/services.
Salespeople who succeed do two things very well
But as you know, these days, there's more to selling than that.
Consumers and B2B buyers have access to the Internet.
And as this research showed, B2B buyers prefer to buy via a website and not even speak to a salesperson.
Because like you:
Once a buyer has done their research and knows what they want, they just want to buy it.
It means salespeople who don't add value to the buyer (ie they sell like a machine), will be replaced by software running a machine.
So in an age where most buyers are doing their own research before buying.
What are you to do?
And here's what separates top salespeople from average salespeople.
Top salespeople know you have to show and share your knowledge way before you contact a buyer and before they start their research.
That's so important, I'll repeat it:
It's vital you show and share your knowledge BEFORE you contact a buyer and BEFORE they start their research.
By sharing stories.
Like this one about the Dodo story that includes a message at the end to help their business:
In 1598 Dutch sailors landed on Mauritius and discovered a new bird. It had absolutely no fear and came right up to them.
Less than 75 years later the friendly Dodo bird was extinct.
The Dodo didn't think its survival was at risk so didn't change its habits. This made it easy to hunt. And because it never had to hide its eggs before, the cats and dogs the sailors brought with them easily found its eggs.
And the point of this story?
With the world changing so quickly... we ALL have to be ready to adapt, embrace change and try different ideas and tactics.
Businesses that test and try new ideas are are the businesses that survive, grow and prosper.
With our service we can help you test and try new ideas.
Does any of that makes sense?
Here are 7 simple, actionable sales tips to get you started:
... Send buyers, by post and email, articles you've written. But don't write the articles like an essay, include stories (like I did above) to make them more memorable and build an emotional connection with a buyer.
And when sending by email don't include your article as an attachment. Use Seth Godin's permission marketing technique and put a short summary of the article in your email and ASK them if they'd like the full article.
... Start writing articles for your company blog. This is something you should start doing immediately. But don't start writing every day (you'll burn out).
... Do guest posts. Contact your industry media and see if they accept guest posts. Also do a Google search and see who is writing about your industry and see if they'll take your guest post. (If you need help with this tip drop me an email.)
... Leave comments on industry blogs. Most industry blogs get very few comments. Start leaving insightful comments to get your name known.
... Answer industry related questions on Quora. Depending on what you sell, Quora could be a gold mine or full of tumbleweed. Sign up on the site and do a search on topics related to your industry. If you find topics you could have answered, start using Quora and read this to get you started.
... Pick up the phone and call them. Being personal and helpful always works. Tell them about the articles you've written. Offer to help them with any research and call to see if they have any questions.
... Send buyers industry case studies and research. Look for case studies and research you think might interest them and send them over. For example, much of the research I quoted I found by searching for the term - b2b buyers research. (See below)
How to make sure you get the order
The truth is you have to go the extra mile like this.
And this interesting analysis by Dave Kurlan explains why you have to do more if you want to succeed.
Because in today's digital world you can't just rely on old selling techniques, you can't just sit back and do what you've always done.
You need to get your name out on the Internet so when buyers are searching for a solution to their problem, your name keeps popping up.
Do the sales tips above and that will start to happen:
- Buyers will read blogs on the topic and see your name in the comments.
- Buyers will look for answers to their problem and see you've answered them.
- Buyers will look for in-depth articles and see you've written one.
How to keep the party going for your long-term success
And if you want to take your sales efforts up another level, seriously think about doing your own PR.
Because according to PR expert, Dmitry Dragilev, more and more salespeople are taking up his course at PR That Converts to improve their sales outreach.
If you do all of this, you’ll not only make a name for yourself... You'll not only get more sales... You'll also SECURE your long-term future.
Because David Cancel, CEO of Drift, gave this warning at SaaSFest 2016.
In the slides below he explains why companies need to change the way they treat customers otherwise they'll not survive.
It's time to set yourself apart
Now the above is going to happen to some businesses and salespeople will suffer. But you can protect yourself so it doesn't happen to you.
Here try this:
Do a search for a solution to the problem your goods/services solves.
How many articles or answers are there from salespeople?
Go on do it now.
If you don't see one person's name coming up often:
You could own that space.
You see most salespeople don't realise the importance of writing articles, answering questions, responding to blogs etc.
And the results from owning that space...
Once you get your articles out there, you'll be the one who starts getting the calls and emails from buyers.
You won't have to run around as much looking for sales. Your articles will show you know what you're talking about.
And the result - buyers will contact you because they'll see you're not like other salespeople.
And when that happens - again don't sit back:
Foster that relationship…
... Continue to give them helpful advice.
... Tell them about recent news and tips about their industry.
... Find out about new tools that could help their company.
In other words - be a valuable resource to them.
Doing all of this is very important because research by LinkedIn shows if you provide value like this, B2B buyers are 5x more likely to talk to you.
Do all of this and the final step is inevitable.
You get the sales…
... Because you spent the time building relationships, you were helpful and you didn't treat buyers like prospects.
Pearls of wisdom from 12 of the wisest sales pros
Being able to build a strong sales relationship with clients is one of the most important selling techniques to have.
If you can master it in this digital age you'll get the sale and more importantly future sales.
If you're still not sure about all of this.
Look at what the experts say.
Below are 12 articles from the blogs of some of the most respected sales professionals around.
They mention how important sales relationships are. Read and watch these priceless articles and sales tips. There are pearls of wisdom in all of them and they'll definitely help you.
In no particular order, here are the 12 wise pros:
Dave Kurlan has touched on the importance of building relationships in many of his blog posts and articles. And not surprisingly he has it as one of his 21 Sales Competencies.
Why should you listen to him: Dave's been in the selling industry longer than most and his award-winning blog is full of useful information. He's so open and helpful, you really should read his blog.
Read this for enlightenment: Why the Relationship is So Important to the Sales Outcome and then this revelation.
The enthusiasm of Keenan is incredible. Just listen to how he sums all of this up in his 4 minutes Spazz Out video series. As he says, “When your day is consumed with how you can help your customer then you become a badass salesperson.”
Why should you listen to him: Look, Keenan tells it how it is. No holds barred and actionable tips you can put right to work. If you honestly want to get results, listen to what he has to say.
Watch his video for enlightenment: The One Sales Tip I Give Every Salesperson
And watch this short Jill Konrath video. Titled The Death of Relationship Selling, she further expands and explains how you need to be a valuable resource to form successful relations
Why should you listen to her: Jills a prolific speaker and author who's walked the walk. And in her early days was International Rookie of the Year for Xerox. Anyone who knows anything about sales knows what an achievement that is.
Watch her video for enlightenment: The Death of Relationship Selling
Then take a look at Alen Mayer. He's been stressing the importance of relationship building for years. And with his books, CD's and reports you'll find plenty of value on his site.
Why should you listen to him: I dare you to read his blog and books and not come away thinking you've got to implement what you've just learnt. For instance just read this about why so many sales are lost. I'd say most salespeople have suffered from this at one time.
Read this for enlightenment: 3 Easy Ways to Create Rapport With Anyone
But if you still need convincing then read what Alice Heiman has to say, “Relationships are the key to consistent sales,” in her blog that shares 8 Methods to Maximise Relationships.
Why should you listen to her: If it was just for the awards Alice has won you should listen to her. But she's done so much more and shares it in such an easy style on her blog.
Read this for enlightenment: 8 Methods to Maximise Relationships
And you knew Dave Brock would have something to say. He does in many places but I’ve picked the one where he says - by creating value that's important to a client, it's the client who will want to be your customer because of what you give them.
Why should you listen to him: Dave is recognized as a top thought leader and consultant in sales, sales management, and leadership. Read his blog and it will open your mind to issues you never thought about before.
Read this for enlightenment: Account Strategies, How Important Are We To The Customer?
In his blog post below see how Aaron Ross shows you how to maintain good client relations. And how in tip 4 he mentions about giving them relevant news on their industry.
Why should you listen to him: All that needs to be said here is - by using his system Salesforce grew from $5m to over $100m in recurring revenue. Hat-tip please to Mr Ross.
Read this for enlightenment: How To Make Nurturing Calls Less Awkward
I could have picked any number of the blog posts by Barbara Giamanco where she mentions the importance of relationships. But I’ll close it off with her post: Numbers Don’t Equal Influence. It’s a superb read and as she says, “Collecting numbers is not the same as developing the interpersonal relationships that lead to the influence you need to be a successful seller.”
Why should you listen to her: You know we live in a social media dominated world. If you want to sell effectively in it, you have to start reading Barbara's blog, it's like getting the keys to the cookie store.
Read this for enlightenment: Numbers Don't Equal Influence
Sales tips from more pros
Jim Cathcart's advice is sought out by some of the top companies in the world. And he was talking about relationship selling back in the 1980's. Read his blog it's an opportunity not to miss.
Why should you listen to him: There isn't enough space to put all Jim's achieved. His about section does a good job and this quote he gave me sums it up nicely - “Acquire the traits of the person who would attract the results you seek and the results will find you.”
Watch his TED video for enlightenment: How To believe in yourself
The advice from John Barrows is so obvious you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it. Here’s one of his gems - "If you make cold calls, ask your receptionist about the approaches that work when trying to get through." Genius John and so simple.
Why should you listen to him: Having been a sales exec and now running his own sales training business, john knows how to succeed. This is why companies like Salesforce, LinkedIn and DropBox call on him to train their sales teams. And be sure to scroll through his home page there are some incredible tips there.
Read this for enlightenment: 12 Guiding Principles to Sales Success
Tips, sales advice and insights into various tools is what you’ll get from Miles Austin. And the post I mention below is a perfect example of that as he warns what will happen if you don’t adapt your sales approach with regard to new technology.
Why should you listen to him: Miles is recognized as one of the leading authorities on web tools for sales and marketing professionals. Is often included in best sales blogs categories and having started 2 start-ups he knows what it takes to be successful.
Read this for enlightenment: Salespeople Need Not Apply
Sharing his knowledge is something Mark Hunter loves to do. And he does it in abundance on his blog and in weekly sales tips. Read and listen to his blog posts and you’ll soon realise you can achieve what you didn’t think was possible.
Why should you listen to him: Mark is held in such high respect that he is in constant demand around the world as a speaker, trainer and motivator. With clients such as Cadbury Schweppes, Mercedes-Benz and Sony willing to pay for his advice - you really should listen to what he says.
Read this for enlightenment: Are Your Sales Leads Worth Anything?
So start building strong sales relationships and get those long-term sales.
Now can I ask you something?
From your experience:
Is this all just over- reacting?
Do you think you still need to build close sales relationships when consumers and B2B buyers are buying straight from a website?
And what selling techniques are working for you these days?
Let us know in the comments below.
- Kelsey Snyder, Pashmeena Hilal. The Changing Face of B2B Marketing. March 2015.
- Forrester research. Death of a (B2B) Salesman. April 2015.
- Accenture Interactive. 2014 State of B2B Procurement Study.
- Brian Dean. Backlinko - On-Page SEO: Anatomy of a Perfectly Optimized Page
- Kristi Hines. Kissmetrics - The Marketer’s Guide to Quora. February 2012.
- Seth Godin. Permission Marketing. January 2008.
- Dave Kurlan. Some Truths (You May Not Like) About Relationship Selling. November 2013.
- Alex Hisaka. LinkedIn - 5 B2B Buyer Preferences to Know. September 2014.