I have sold to and solicited thousands of businesses in my almost two decade long sales career. Have things changed? Absolutely! Has the the buying process changed? Of course! Has social media changed the landscape? Yes! Does your buyer at that major manufacturer or mid sized accounting firm care about what you tweeted yesterday? More then likely not. Do they care if you have a blog? Probably not. Do they care what you post on your Facebook page. Not really.
The cold hard truth in today’s B2B environment is that buyers and prospective buyers want more for less to continually improve their bottom line. They want reliability and vendor/partners they can count on.
So here is a short list of what I have found over the years as to what B2B buyers really want from their vendors and suppliers.
1. A relationship that embraces trust and reliability. Without those two components the buyer-seller relationship is doomed. And that means they will NOT be your customer.
2. Recourse. We all know that in life and in business things can and do go wrong. When they do, how you and your company handle it, is the difference between keeping that customer and your competition acquiring that customer.
3. Your product and or service performance. You might have the best machine for making croissants, but if it breaks and you do not show up for 4 days. You will lose. Make a great product and have great service and you are more then half way there.
4. Availability. When they need you, can they find you? How responsive you are to their calls and emails will dictate your entire relationship. If you or your sales manager has the attitude of “just get the deal done”. I am here to tell you that buyers can smell that a mile away. They want service after the sale. They want assurances that you will be responsive to their needs.
Now can you blog, tweet, and post how you and your company may do this and have done it in the past? Of course. But the key is to demonstrate to your buyer how you have accomplished these tasks in the past, and how you will meet his or her needs in the future.
Don’t get me wrong, selling in today’s world does not live in a vacuum. Social Media is still a powerful way to get your message out to the world. Buyers, like most people, do utilize today’s technology. But making informed buying decisions still requires a competent, polished, sales professional to convey the message(s) that buyers need to hear that can otherwise get lost in a sea of information.
Now, some of you may be asking yourself why are you writing in a blog about why buyers don’t read or care about blogs. Well, good question. The simple answer is that I write for my own self-improvement and enjoyment. I also write to help other sales professionals be better sale people. If a bi-product happens to be a new client or customer, then great. But that is NOT my intention for writing.
So go ahead blog, tweet, and post. But be very aware that there is still a large segment of the B2B buying population that places very little importance on that type of content. Selling is a human interaction. Be human.
Good Luck and Good Selling!