Facilitating Buying, then Mastering the B2B Pitch
Those who thrive will have won new business and if they delight their clients they may reap ‘life time value’ with little migration of customers.
As competitive pressure mounts, recession bites and constraints demand new priorities, the sales cycle and the procurement process changes. It is very difficult for you to have intimate and accurate knowledge of these changes.
Traditionally sales people accept this as the norm – but my approach is
different. It’s highly unlikely that you have any idea of how the Sales cycle and procurement culture changes
You may think you do, because you know the buyer. Maybe you have traded with the company before. You think you know how this business operates and the process they employ to make buying decisions. Here’s a wake-up call – you do not! I am not trying to be rude – but this is a fact of life. We all make assumptions about what we think we know happens
but do we?
I am convinced from sales training that sales people and consultants don’t go into this territory in anything like enough depth. They may know a lot about their products. They can skilfully sell the benefits to a potential client. But they do not have a precise appreciation of the buying culture and their current practises and behaviour.
Generally, speaking, we all make too many wild assumptions. The reality is you can only ever be aware of the people who interact with you. You don't know what happens after you meet them.
Apologies again.....you probably don't know how the potential client will talk with after your meeting. You don’t know what they talk about. You don’t know the agreements they have with the rest of the team who are all stakeholders in buying your services.
Priorities, Constraints and Demands
You don’t know their priorities or budgets, the local politics between the team of buyers and their managers. You don't know what it is they fear about making the wrong decision, or the pain they and their career may suffer if they don’t do things the ‘right’ way. You don’t know the latest good or bad experience with purchasing decisions that they and their team have made recently.
To be honest, you are disadvantaged and largely ignorant of what happens behind the scenes. And it’s not your fault. You were trained to sell not encouraged to get buyers to buy! You probably are not exposed to the procurement process or the key actors who influence events.
There’s a good bet you don't know the values they hold or their beliefs and how this impacts the procurement process and their group and personal decision-making. Again, you don't know their current attitude to risk and how many other projects they are managing. You don't know how your project fits with the buyers other priorities.
I am a successfully published business author and have a strong platform of experience with ‘blue chips’ at senior level and I am equally at home with SME’s and professional services providers.
Only after ‘actively listening’ do I then develop the most plausible series of ideas that link directly to how the client company and the buying team prefer to buy. Only then do I make a pitch.
Supporting My Clients to Win new Clients
So many sales people and account managers try to dominate their prospects or clients. I display patience and build rapport with the buying team.
When the team of buyers are fully comfortable content with me understanding their true wants and needs, is then time to make a credible pitch and presentation that logically and emotionally appeals to them.
You understand you have focus on forming a partnership with the client to then work with them to facilitate their decision-making. And when you it comes about to making a pitch use PowerPoint (if you must) with precision and energy. Avoid death by PowerPoint and Bullet points!
Those who fail, do so because they do not listen nor do they address objections to their proposals, and know little of the psychology of influence and persuasion or their buyers’ preferred method of making decisions.
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