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Selling to B2B businesses.
It's always fascinating to me when people ask if I can create strategic messages for their business-to-business companies.
They ask with the thought that while business-to-consumer (B2C) companies sell to emotional consumers, business-to-business (B2B) organizations sell to hard-nosed professionals and no-nonsense committees.
Perhaps you share the same belief.
But here's the thing: regardless of whether you think you're selling to B2B businesses or B2C businesses, you're selling to P2P businesses.
Why? Because no matter what business you're in, companies don't actually buy anything.
Taken further, businesses don't make decisions.
When the people we communicate with get out of bed in the morning, they are human beings, ruled by emotions. Then, when they go to work, they become the CEO, HR professional, purchasing agent, or whatever title is printed on their business cards.
Because they're people first, there are only two factors that will consistently inspire people to agree with our sales outreach:
- Their own personal gain, or
- Their own fear of loss, especially fear of personal loss.
Please note the word “personal.” Sure – there's continuously increased productivity, faster service, better response time, lower prices, functional advantages, or whatever benefits you take pride in providing. But if your new customers are going to buy from you, they are putting some percentage of their careers on the line. And if they decide to switch from another provider to you, they are taking a personal risk because their future advancement might rise or fall based on your company's performance.
If we're going to counter your potential client's personal risk, we must address their individual issues.
Your prospective consumer must see the opportunity of improving their career – whether getting favorable recognition from their superiors, enjoying approval from peers, making their job easier, or freeing them from worry or aggravation.
In the “fear of loss” category, we must demonstrate what this person will lose by not acting. And we also need to illustrate that the buyer who is interested but procrastinates will continue to suffer the same pains as the person who doesn't act at all.
Believe me, I know this idea flies in the face of the typical strategy of talking about how great you are. After all, when you're selling to B2B businesses, you can brag and bluster until you're blue in the face.
But really… who cares? How would doing that separate you from all the other companies with the same messages? Instead, you're just like the little kid standing on the diving board yelling, “Look at me! Look at me! Look what I can do!”
All you're doing is contributing to the vast field of noise.
Until you make your customers feel how you will make their lives better. That's the key to selling to B2B businesses.