Earn the Attention of Your Business Prospects in 4 Simple Steps
by: Joe Falkner
The topic is how to market business-to-business. Not a small topic. In fact, it is vast. So let’s paint with a broad stroke and isolate four critical actions that you must take to develop a high-functioning B2B plan.
1. Know what you are about: This is your brand statement. It is a statement of what your product is, of course, but it must also answer the question, “Why should anyone care about or need my product?”
The master of marketing, David Ogilvy says, “It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.”
I don’t know of any way better to fail, than to assume because your product is important to you it should be important to everyone else. So here is your assignment: Boldly state what promises you are making to your target market that would drive them to eagerly seek out your product. If you cannot state this crisply, with clarity and conviction, no other business will care about your business. And why should they?
So write out your brand statement. Then, climb up on to the top of your roof. As loudly as you can, shout out your brand statement. If all of your neighbors say, “Well, the guy on the roof is kind of a nut, but I really like what he is saying.” Then, you’ve got something.
2. Observe your successes. Then, repeat: The ability to observe, draw conclusions and write things down is what separates us from primates and one-celled amoeba. Well, most of the time.
So here is the question. Let’s suppose you are making a sales presentation and your prospect makes a strong, cogent objection. Let’s further suppose you, in a moment of clarity, come up with a brilliant response that gains the day. What are you going to do? Well, you should write down your brilliant response, asap, then share it with your sales team. If you are a one-person shop, still, write it down and every time you make a sales presentation, review your notes. This is called “best practices.” This is called building success.
Wikipedia says, “A best practice is a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark.” Even Twitter (think about that) has a best practices page for creating tweets https://business.twitter.com/best-practices. Amazing.
Write down all of your astute observations and build a Best Practices book. You will be called a genius and you will supercharge your sales efforts by dramatically increasing efficiency.
3. Be pithy-pelling: Do you ever listen to your self? Here is your assignment. Record your calls to prospects for a couple of days. Now listen to it. Not fun, huh. For you to be successful in the world of B2B selling, in your opening statements on the phone or in an email, you must be both pithy and compelling. Pithy-pelling. Everybody is so busy these days, so rushed and so ready to dump your call. If you have something to say, say it. You have 15 – 20 seconds to make your case to get another 15 – 20 seconds.
Who you are, whom you represent, what is your product and why in heaven’s name should your prospect care: This opening statement is a form of the brand statement that we discussed earlier, except that it has been put on a diet. Developing a pithy-pelling opening statement is an art and you will need to work at it assiduously to create the best one.
4. Add the human touch: I know that it is popular even in B2B to emphasize social media in sales efforts. Tweeting someone or texting them is now considered state-of-the-art for communicating with Millennials or Gen X and Y-ers. I could not disagree more.
Yes, use Facebook and Linkedin and a web search to gain information about your next call/prospect. But, nothing communicates better than the human voice as to who you are, what your brand is and why the prospect should trust you. Nothing. In B2B marketing, the human touch is often the first thing to go. There is a good chance your competition is involved to the max in email blasts and twitter feeds. There is nothing wrong with that. But if you want to set your self apart from the crowd, learn to add the human touch. Ask genuine questions, then be quiet…and listen.
In most B2B settings, there is a good chance that you will be talking with that person again, whether they buy from you or not. You have a chance with each call, regardless how short the call may be, to gain that person’s respect and confidence. And that is how you build a business.
The four actions I have discussed above are just the beginning. In building a powerhouse marketing strategy in a business-to-business world, there are many important skills, techniques, practices and traits to be acquired. Each one is important. Each one is difficult to achieve. Be persistent. Julie Andrews, famed actress, said, “Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” Begin today.
President, Joe Falkner Consulting
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