Every B2B sale is ultimately an exercise in building relationships. When customers trust you and feel like you understand their problems and can be relied on to keep your promises, they will be more likely to buy from you. When customers feel pressured, or feel like you’re not really listening to them or not fully paying attention to their concerns, they will take their business elsewhere. Even if a new prospective customer has come to you via referral and already has a good foundation of trust in what your company has to offer, your sales team still needs to demonstrate to this customer that you know how to solve their specific problems and win their confidence for a long-term business relationship. Here are a few tips for how every B2B sales team can do a better job of building relationships with customers throughout the sales process:
Think like your customer: Try to get inside the minds of your prospective customer and empathize with their biggest concerns. For example, most new prospective customers are needing to be reassured about a few key concerns: they want to know if you are trustworthy, they want to know if your solution can really help them save time, make money, or avoid hassle. And the biggest question on the minds of every buyer is: “What’s in it for me?” Stay focused on how you can address these key concerns for your customers. Don’t build a sales pitch around your product’s key features; instead, talk with customers and listen to their specific concerns, and look for ways to show them solid evidence of how your solution can help.
Share knowledge with your customers: One of the most powerful tools for building customer relationships is content marketing – broadly speaking, content marketing can include blog articles, videos, podcasts, or any other informative content that you can share with your prospective buyers. Content marketing is not a “sales pitch” about your specific product or service; instead, content marketing shows your thought leadership by sharing expertise about your industry. Content marketing can be as simple as sharing great articles about your industry with your customers, or it can be as customized as delivering case studies (based on real customer success stories) that show the expected ROI of your solution.
Do your research: Before you go into a conversation with a prospective customer, make sure you’ve done your research and you know who this person is, how their name is pronounced, what their job title is, how they fit into their organization, and how you can specifically help them. The more you can do to show that you understand the prospect’s company and you know why your solution is a good fit for their needs, the easier it will be to establish credibility and build a relationship with that customer.
Sales success is not about catchy slogans or brochures or sales pitches; it’s about building relationships. If you have a good relationship with a customer, everything else in the sales process becomes easier – it’s easier to get them to return your calls, easier to get repeat sales, and easier to get testimonials and referrals that can lead to new business opportunities with other buyers. Focus on building relationships first, and the rest of your sales process will become much more effective. This guest post is by Gregg Schwartz, the Director of Sales and Marketing at Strategic Sales & Marketing, an industry-founding lead generation company specializing in major account B2B lead generation.
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