We hear from salespeople all the time who think price is the most important factor to buyers, and loyalty from working with preferred vendors and partners no longer exists.
But is this true?
We brought together a panel of buyers for a webinar called Cracking The Buyers’ Code: Having Purposeful Business Conversations where sales professionals discover what it takes to earn their business, build strategies and, ultimately, earn their respect and trust.
According to a global study by CSO Insights of 500 B2B buyers in medium to large sized companies conducted to better understand what buyers wanted from salespeople, there is much more to it than price.
The survey indicated that four areas of unease consistently appeared at the top of all lists: understanding the buyer and their business, demonstrating excellent communication skills, focus on post-sale and providing insight and perspective.
The good news is that these are achievable. The bad news is that we have been focusing on these items in the industry for years and we are still missing the mark.
How do we bridge that gap?
It is clear to us that salespeople today have to be more strategic, proactive and brave!
Focusing on the top four areas from the study, our panel of experienced and insightful buyers gave us many great nuggets of advice and simple things you can do to earn their time and trust to take the conversation beyond price.
Let’s dig in to see what they had to say.
Understanding the Buyer and The Business
Our panel overwhelmingly agreed that, as a seller, you need to do your research to understand your buyer’s business!
Key Take-Aways From Panelists:
- Do the necessary research in advance. That means learning about the buyer, their business and the industry before you ask for the meeting.
- Asking unnecessary questions that you should already know the answer to such as, “Tell me about your business”, shows your lack of research.
- Your research should include the size of the business, demographic, current product offerings, current competition, how it fits into the marketplace and its challenges.
- Understand how millennial buyers differ from experienced buyers and that your approach must address those differences to be successful.
- There is no such thing as knowing too much about the buyer or the business you are approaching!
Demonstrate Excellent Communication Skills
The CSO study indicated two main areas for improvement:
- Prepare for meetings and calls with formal material, not just informal check-ins.
- The buyer’s expectation is that every call is crisp and compelling. Every interaction has to be worth the time which means you must provide value to make it stand out.
Key Takeaways From Panelists:
- We received an overwhelming response from our panel that email is the most effective way to communicate.
- Make emails short and to the point, but powerful with information that differentiates you to create a compelling reason why the buyer should grant a meeting.
- Provide enough value to make your attempt at contact stand out especially in an email that is swimming in the inbox pool.
- Using a referral is one of the best ways to stand out because it instantly gives you credibility in the mind of the buyer.
- Engage in active listening so you can address the buyer’s actual wants and needs rather than what you think they want.
- Provide a business and marketing strategy to showcase how you will address their needs and grow their business now and in the future.
- Freely communicate both the good and bad news to the buyer which builds the buyer’s trust in you and cultivates loyalty.
- Ask great questions designed to extract information from the buyer that can help you come up with a short-term and a long-term vision for their business. Buyers stated they want to share more information about their business’ KPIs. Salespeople are too often afraid to ask business questions. Our panel of buyers encouraged sellers to ask the tough questions about their business.
- Always be prepared, provide pertinent information, and make it easy to work with you.