We’re all familiar with the traditional process of a B2B sale. Identify a potential customer with a need for your service, make contact, and do your best to convince them with logic and charm that purchasing what you have to offer is the best choice for their business.
More and more nowadays, it’s not the big pitch or the sales call that matters. Sure, sometimes that’s going to be what it takes to seal the deal. But as a new generation of business owners become the ones to make the decisions, the way that the people we sell to make their decisions is also changing.
Belief may be more important than your pitch. And here’s why.
Their minds are already made up.
According to research by Gartner, your potential B2B buyer is already 60% through their buying process by the time they decide to engage you.
They are coming into the conversation with a preconceived notion about you, your business, and your offering. They’ve practically decided already. Now, this can either work for you, or against you. But even if your potential buyer’s beliefs are against you, you’re still not completely shut out of the conversation.
In an interview with Inc., Jim Dion, director of Belief Based Selling at Partners in Leadership, suggests that the most useful thing you can do in this situation is ask for feedback. Instead of trying to guess what your customer’s beliefs are, or what they’re going to do next – engage them in an exchange.
Ask them for their opinions of you, your company, and your service. Discover their beliefs, and engage those beliefs in your sales process.
They’re not interested in what you have to say.
In 2014, 46% of potential B2B buyers were millennials, according to a study by Google. Millennials are moving up the ladder and starting their own companies, to become more and more in control of decision-making processes.
And – I’m trying to avoid generalizations, here – for the most part, millennials are not basing their decisions on your sales pitch. The up-and-coming generation relies more on brand loyalty, peer suggestion, and their own impressions of a company, more than they rely on that company’s advertising, product information, or messaging.
So maybe the sales pitch isn’t the best way to sell to millennial buyers.
Meet the market where they are. Keep your company active online, engage them in the ways they like to communicate – most aren’t fans of email – and when it comes down to selling them, sell them on your company, your brand, and your vision, not your product. And please, make sure your website looks good on mobile.
It’s not the pitch that matters.
Sell, sell, sell is no longer the motto. Now, it’s connect, connect, connect.
The nuts and bolts – the numbers and graphs that we show potential buyers to prove success rates and customer satisfaction – are no longer the be-all end-all of sales.
It’s important that we build lasting relationships with our customers, and speak to them on a meaningful level about who we are as a company, what they want for their company, and what we can accomplish together.
So it’s not the pitch that matters. It’s the person. We have to understand the person we are selling to, in order to understand how best to make that connection. Their preconceived notions, their reservations, and ultimately, their beliefs.
Questions to consider:
- How often do you think you change someone’s mind with a really good sales pitch?
- Are a lot of your customers millennials? Have you considered what it means to sell to that generation, as opposed to another?
- How do you make buying decisions? Are you swayed by sales pitches, or have you already made up your mind going into it?