Once upon my career, I was a B2B buyer and met with sales reps on a regular basis. Much like a salesperson’s time, my time was limited. To maximize meetings, I did the research upfront. Before the salesperson walked in the door I already knew what they were selling, what it promised, who was using it and how they liked (or didn’t like) the product. But all too often, a salesperson would come in and spend half of our meeting telling me and my team things we already knew. They’d prepare elaborate presentations with beautiful graphics, hand out promotional items, even bring in baked goods. Despite the clear effort they put into producing what they, the sales reps, felt was a great meeting, we, the buyers, left the meeting with questions unanswered, forcing us to have yet another meeting and extending the buying cycle. And so, at the request of my boss, the following term started making its way into our communications: “please don’t bring us the dog and pony show.”
B2B buyers want to know why your product or service matters to THEM – how do you serve their immediate and future needs? B2B buyers are looking to shorten their buying cycle, which will help you shorten your sales cycle. To make the most out of meetings with potentials buyers, sales should focus on three points:
- Ask open-ended questions before the meeting. Buyers know you can’t read their minds. Ask them what they’re looking for or what problem they’re trying to solve. If you come prepared to talk about “everything but the kitchen sink” you may never get to what they actually need.
- Apply context and relevancy to your messaging. Research the customer to find out what’s happening in their organization, how it is affecting their part of the business and specifically what you can do to help.
- Leave the ‘dog and pony’ show at the door. An elaborate presentation may catch a buyer’s attention, but it may also distract from the sale. Stay focused on the customer’s needs and how you can help them.