How To NOT Waste Time In B2B Sales

Jacek Bartczak in

Blog/How To NOT Waste Time In B2B Sales

Instead of being a “shark” who sells anything to anybody, maybe it’s better to be a meticulous salesperson who chooses his or her customers carefully? Save time with a different approach to B2B sales.
Most online guides make sales look easy, but that’s a false promise. Everybody that has tried selling a complex service, or a sophisticated product knows that it’s never a piece of cake – unless the cake is full of tiny cards with “NO, THANK YOU, LEAVE ME ALONE” written on them.

The point is that we will never be able to sell to 100% of the people we talk to. Trying to achieve a perfect score is a waste of time, because it’s a goal that’s impossible to reach. Perhaps we should focus more on the customers, and not on raw sales numbers?

The meticulous salesperson, who carefully picks his or her customers, receives less praise at first because the “sharks”, who would sell anything to anybody, are better at making a quick buck. But in the long term, sharks run out of prey to hunt.

And the meticulous salesperson is more of a gardener. If your company were a garden, then you’d want it to be beautiful, with just the right plants, and not a thicket of weeds with a few random flowers. The perfect garden takes a lot of patience and caring, but the hard work always pays off when the flowers bloom.

In that spirit, let’s explore how salespeople can be more meticulous. In this article you’ll see how to remove the weeds, and make your sales garden beautiful again.

1. “Can’t talk now, can you call me after work?”

Sometimes we come across somebody who seems interested, but can’t find time for us during work hours. They always want us to call when they’re out of work.

But do we ever really close deals that aren’t discussed during work hours? I think you know your answer, and ours is a strong, definite NO.

Hearing this from a customer is a clear sign that they don’t care about what we’re selling. It suggests that whatever they’re doing at the moment is much more important than us.

We remove them from our priority list, and we encourage doing the same in similar cases.

2. “That’s all good… but how low does your price go?”

We’re in a pretty competitive market, and because of that we encounter many people who really only care about the prices we offer.

It’s a tricky case. Of course we want the customer, but should we lower our prices to get them?

If you lower prices for one customer, others might get wind of your random discounts. When that happens, you lose credibility. When you have lower credibility, you need to lower your prices again… and so begins the cycle that can lead only to bankruptcy.

It sounds grim and over the top now, but once you consider your business in a few years instead of in a few months, you’ll realise that it’s possible. It might even already be happening.

Price negotiations make sense only in certain cases, for instance if you’re selling bespoke services to enterprise customers.

Whenever we notice that somebody is more preoccupied with lowering costs than with the real value that we can give them for a regular price, we take it as a warning sign.

You might want to get off their case completely, or just throw them in your backlog to contact them again after a few months. The main thing is to take them off your priority list, because you’re probably not going to make a good deal with them anytime soon.

3. “We’ll give you specifications, and you show us what you can do for free, ok?”

Do cooks offer free dinners to every customer in order to get them to buy more? Do builders create test houses for free to show their customer what they’re capable of doing?

No, that would make no sense at all. But somehow this starts making sense as soon as you step into the tech world. Why?

It’s hard to say why a lot of companies still like to do spec work for free, but they do, and there are probably many companies like that among your competitors.

For us, customers that want to receive our work for free are not good business, so they don’t deserve our focus. Simple as that.

If you want to simplify your life, you should adopt the same approach, and stop chasing this type of customer.

4. “OKAY, LET’S DO THIS, NO TIME TO WASTE!”

You contact somebody, and it’s going great. They’re not asking too many questions, and you don’t even need to go through your whole sales script – they’re already in!

Seems like a good, swift win, right? Maybe. Depends on what you’re selling. For us, whenever this happens, the red light on our weed-whacker starts blinking, signalling that we might need to trim that lead from our sales funnel.

The thing is that buying a B2B solution isn’t as easy as going to a shop and picking out your favorite brand of cereal.

If a customer doesn’t have questions now, he or she clearly isn’t taking the time to think things through. But their manager will. Or their teammates. In the end, countless questions, doubts and accusations might end up on your plate instead of theirs – and you won’t be able to do much about it, stuck because you’ve already signed a long-term deal, incentivized by the eagerness of your customer.

Whenever we encounter these customers, we don’t write them off. Instead we take over the initiative in making sure that they understand every upside, and – even more importantly – every downside of what they’re getting from working with us.

They might turn out to be great long-term customers, or you might end up discouraging them from buying – but in this case it’s still a win, because you avoid an unnecessarily troublesome customer in the future.

Be a gardener, not a shark

The perfect garden isn’t easy to maintain. You must pick the right seeds, plant them carefully in specially picked soil, and tend to them for months, helping them grow and removing the weeds.

Maybe the same principles can be applied to B2B sales? Your most prospective clients are seeds of money-trees that need your careful attention, and your least prospective clients are weeds that need to be quickly removed and forgotten about.

Being a shark is overrated anyways – trying to reach the perfect score and sign with 100% of the customers you talk to is a great way to live, but only if you want to earn a heart attack from unnecessary, work-related stress.

Be smarter. Be more zen. Be more effective. Become a gardener

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