Talk Sense To A Fool And He Will Call You Foolish

Addressing the knowledgeable

The issue we all have in sales is that we need to address and adjust our pitches and smalltalk to the potential buyers.
If the people in the meeting are specialized, experienced and knowledgeable about the products or services you provide you don’t need to give a generic approach. You will need to go into details of the most important features, advantages or benefits. It’s like ‘Cut The Crap’ as they are probably as well informed – if not better – in the matter as you. So you need to show some respect to them by not treating them as absolute beginners.

Pitching to the Newbies

If you would take the same approach with their CEO or COO, who is not specialized in the matters and issues of the solutions and drawbacks of products or services, then the CEO or COO reaction might be that you are missing the point or you miss providing the appropriate solution. This is likely to result in a lost sales as you haven’t convinced the CEO or COO.

Testing knowledge before starting

All depends on the level of knowledge or experience of the people you are having a meeting with. Hence before you start you should inform yourself of the different people in the meeting and try to figure out what is their level about the issues and problems and the products or solutions you and your competitors are proposing.

Mixed party

In a meeting with a significant difference of knowledge or experience you will need to adjust to the lowest level, still addressing the important more specialized for those who are mature in the matters. This is probably the most difficult as you might go to quickly or briefly for the ‘newbies’ and being too generic or not interesting enough for the knowledgeable people.

Correlate

One situation to avoid at all times is to have the less educated or less informed in the matters look stupid or make them feel as lagging behind.

Talk sense to a fool and he will call you foolish.
Meaning a pitch too complex or specialized for ‘Newbies’ will not have you score the sales as they will impose upon the knowledgeable – especially as they are in most cases from a higher hierarchy.

How do you address a mixed party ?

 

Disaster strikes when your competitor gets funding – Not!

You could think your business comes under pressure when one of your competitors receives several millions of funding from investors. You know you will have to going to battle with a much more powerful competitor, having more resources and possibilities.

However the contrary can happen too:

Pricing and margin

The millions are calculated on their current and near future expenses:
They need to money to keep the company going. Or their pricing is way too low (not enough margin) or their overhead is too high. If your company is running break even and thus self supporting your company is in much better shape.

Marketing increase

They will boost their marketing spending:
In order to have a return on the investment as fast as possible, they will need to grow the company fast. Hence they will have a significant increase of marketing expenses.
Your company can only benefit from this as the efforts of the well-funded competitor will draw attention to your market. All of a sudden your market becomes interesting.
The more noise – the more awareness of the market – the more interest – the more potential customers for your company too.
Before people in companies make a purchase they will or have to get comparable offerings.

Employee increase

In order to grow the company, a large number of employees will be hired. The company needs to deal with all these new employees, train them and keep the culture of the company. Training costs money and time.
More employees brings more management tasks and thus overhead, making the operations of the company more costly. Not sure the margin will increase.

The increase of management and social problems

More employees mean people will get promoted or surpassed.
Those that get promoted can get the Peter Principle – not performing well for the company.
Those that get surpassed by not getting the promotion as an external person is selected will not be happy as they get a new boss in a position they would have liked to have. No doubt they will under perform as they are demotivated.

The pressure from investors

The new investors will put pressure on your competitor to get leads and sales.
The sales people will need to score as fast as possible thus they will engage into sales and ventures that just bring sales, not specifically more net income.
Dumb decisions can be made. Investing in the wrong changes of their products or solutions which might turn out very costly in the long run.

The effects

- The awareness for your products or solutions will increase in the market.
- You will have a hard time to compete with the well funded competitor.
- Internally the competitor has many new problems to deal with management and employees.
- Investor pressure to deliver Return On Investment.

Before you know your competitor is running out of steam or funding and will need to go into a next round of funding.
Whereas your company will grow too at a slower pace hopefully without external life support.

Maybe think twice before your company accepts big funding.

Did you or one of your competitors got big funding ?

 

Why do people still buy contact lists ?

Quality over quality

In an Marketing era ruled by Content Marketing and Social Media, Marketers are still buying lists from list vendors. Instead of buying extensive lists like they did 10 years ago, marketers now seem to buy more targeted and thus less populated lists: seems quality rules over quantity.

Listing success

However chances of addressing an interested party remains low as the message needs to be appropriate and addressing the problems that they currently have. Thus person, problem, timing all have to match which drives down the chances of success considerably.

Caller-ID

Wouldn’t it more successful of addressing only those people in companies that have visited your website and have shown interest by multiple people from this company for a defined issue they have or solution you offer. Likelihood of success should be much higher as you eliminate timing, message and problem for your marketing action. This can be easily done using web services that reveal the companies visiting, their interest and their level of interest in your products or solutions.

No Cure – No Pay lists

Still how well targeted the purchased list is, there is no guarantee from the list vendor for success as he only delivers the list. The vendor takes no risk. In other businesses the rule ‘No Cure – No Pay’ is being used. This could be applied for buying lists from list vendors too by paying them a commission whenever a sales deal is closed or when a first sales meeting is organized.
This would certainly changed the business of buying lists as the list vendors become involved.

Why do you still buy contact lists?

 

Addictive Services vs Just Useful Services: Free vs Marketing

Business-To-Business Services

Even in Business-To-Business there are several kinds of services: those that are needed or required and those that are interesting or fun but not really necessary.
Still the biggest differentiation is the not the usefulness or benefits but whether the service is addictive or not.

Addictive services

If your service is addictive then you are able to give it away for free as a trial to as many people as possible. Due to the addictiveness people will start missing the service once the free trial has ended. Just like cigarettes, alcohol and drugs an addictive service will generate its’ own demand. In this case hardly any marketing is needed to stimulate sales.

Useful services

If your service is not addictive but just useful then you will need a lot of marketing efforts consisting of advertising, content marketing and the all important references as without these people just won’t purchase as they don’t see the immediate benefit for them selves.
If you give your useful service away as a free trial, people will find it interesting but not more. Maybe they will miss it if they see a real value for your service.
Supported by your advertising and content marketing people will start to believe your useful service could be important and beneficial seen the amount of interest in the media.

By additionally presenting references the basic interest can turn into a desire to have the service in order:
- To be part of the group
- To be considered as a leader
- Not to lag behind on the rest

Are your services addictive ?

 

Building online trust by the photo of the building ?

The early days of the company website

In the early days of the Internet, when companies just discovered the Internet and when Google was still a start-up, these companies didn’t know what to do with their web presence. What content to publish.
In order to confirm their existence in the virtual world they proof their physical presence by putting the image of their building (or buildings) on their website.

Large and tiny companies all have a website

Nowadays you cannot distinguish major companies from mini companies as a small company can have an impressive quality website with interesting content whereas the market leader can present itself with a mediocre website with plain vanilla content. Just the brand name will make the difference.
A website and content is all about time, investment, effort and dedication which both large and small companies can invest in.
Of course the larger companies are known for their brand name, but how to differentiate as a visitor between a medium sized and a small company in the same industry as they both can have an impressive website.

Website differentiators

Customer references and named case studies on a website are a big plus as it shows the legacy of the company. It is not just the references, but the effort and time put in to get these customers agree upon becoming a reference or a case study. Most customers don’t agree or won’t commit to become a reference or case study. So even a larger company can have less or no references or case studies on their website than their smaller competitor that just got lucky with a few customers that were willing to be a reference as the underdog can get more support or sympathy.

Showing the faces of the management team with their names and function will enhance the level of trust as these people aren’t hiding behind a company name. However small and medium sized companies all do have a management team and all can have great looking pictures of well dressed well behaved people. Thus again that won’t make the difference.

Putting the image of the building on your website can help to build additional trust, just like in the old days. Large building, especially nice looking, still impress people and show the importance or scale of the company. However it will not make your website interesting or bring content quality. The image of the building can help to generate some trust and convince certain decision makers / takers to be on the short list or to have a look into your proposition.

How do you achieve trust on your website ?

 

Can marketing Inflate Sales Price In B2B Too ?

Consumer impulse buys

In consumer business it is almost all about perception of products and brands fueled by marketing in order to be able to sell at higher prices. People buy products of brand names without much rational or reasoning. Many purchases are actually impulse buys and with large ticket buys (like cars) the options are certainly driven by other drivers than real needs.

B2B rational

However the purchase process in Business-To-Business much more rational and reasoning is involved for several reasons:
- Several people from different departments are involved in the purchase process
- A budget has been set previously leaving less room for subjective purchases.
- A purchase decision can weigh on the career of the decision taker (positively or negatively)
- Fear for the risk related to the purchase decision

Marketing influences Sales Price

Still the sales price is influenced by the marketing for the product or for the company brand. Thus even if there are almost two identical products or solutions, the company that influenced the perception with better marketing for the brand or product is likely to be able to sell at higher prices than the competitors.
Through adequate marketing over several years a brand name can become more trusted and obtain the perception of being reliable which allows this company to sell at a higher price as the marketing has created confidence which takes away a part of the decision fear.
It is unlikely people will buy from unknown or lesser known companies due to the fear of risks involved in their buying decision. Instead they will have the tendency to buy from brands that have build the perception of a quality and trusted company.

Hence Marketing does influence the sales price in B2B.

How much does your marketing influence your sales price ?

 

Content Has Five Seconds To Catch Or To Click Away

Content marketing hype

Since several years Content Marketing is the hype of Marketing and the hope of many marketeers. Hence the competition between content to grab your and potential customers’ attention is fierce.

Headers drive the attention

Both quality and bad content have the chance to obtain an initial interest by the catchy header and headlines. Not necessarily the quality content will get the longer attention span as the real quality content is buried under the header, headlines and paragraph headers as they catch most attention. These compelling headers drive the visitor into your content. Somehow they lure the visitor into the content.

Lean and mean content

Only one message per content piece is required in order to avoid confusion. People do read fast and in most cases in an “F-pattern” starting from top left and moving down. Hence your text has to be lean and mean as confusion kills your messages.

Attention span

Too short and you are not taken seriously.
Too long and nobody reads your content entirely – they will get stuck at the first paragraphs. Then skip to the end if they still find it interesting.
In most cases people hardly read your content.

Summary required

At the bottom give a summary in order to to have their take aways without the need for reading your entire content.
Make sure something amazing, incredible or exciting is included as this will push your readers to forward or re-publish your content.

How much attention does your content get?

 

 

What do you as Sales bring to the Table in this Internet Era?

Sales meeting without a value

Most information – if not all – on your products or solutions can be found on the Internet from you company website or from informative or blog websites. Somehow this restricts the role of the salesman in the sales cycle. The interested customer knows their issues and problems and have found one or more solutions on the Internet.
Hence your sales meeting has not more value than the promise of sending a price quote after the meeting. Something they could have obtained by email too without the need to waste time for a meeting. Being liked is not enough to close a deal.

Making sales meeting worthwhile

You need to bring your expertise as they can find all information on the Internet. Your meeting you should bring value to the customer.

However the customer can have:
- Defined the issue or problem wrongly: so you could use your experience to show the real problem (if they want to know the real problem – which is another issue)
- Interpreted the information from the Internet wrongly: which has resulted in selecting a not suiting or way too expensive solution.
- Been blinded by the marketing of the competitors and has been looking for a less suiting or insufficient or over featured solution.
- Been eager to compete with their peers by selecting a solution offering more than what is needed and is more expensive.

This is where and when you as a Salesman will bring value and benefit to the table. Additionally you will need to take away or minimize the risks involved in any purchase decision.

What do you bring to the table during sales meetings ?

 

When You Messed Up Your Sales Deal (you have not lost)

Why you messed up the sales deal

So somewhere during the sales cycle you have messed up your sales deal.
- You didn’t understand the needs of the client
- You didn’t understand the motivation of the client
- You didn’t asked for the driving forces within the client
- You didn’t ask for the real problems to be solved
- You didn’t understand the buying process
- You didn’t deliver the right value
- You missed the buying signals
- You didn’t understand the competition
- You underestimated the competition

Not your fault: Blame everything and anything else

Of course the easiest is to acknowledge you have lost the deal because of the product or solution:
- Missing functions and features
- Lacking performance
- Price too high or too low
- No references

Reaction of your sales manager

When the sales manager finds out through your data in the CRM he will be furious if the deal has a large value.
Often the sales manager will then ask for a meeting with the customer during which he drops the pricing in the hope to save the deal. He makes clear that he is important enough to give special pricing to the important customer. However this is not saving the deal this is “SALE” like at the end of the retail season.

Inquiring and analyzing

The better attitude is to try to save the deal without price cutting. In order to do so you need to investigate:
- The reason for buying
- The expectations for the solution
. What does the solution need to achieve
. The expected ROI
- The amount of allowed changes the new solution can bring
- Why the current state is no longer acceptable
- The budget for the investment
- The budget for operations
- What are the feasible solutions or alternatives the customer has
- Comparing your solution with that from the competition

Saving the sales deal

The issue now is to get a new meeting with the customer in order to prove and show you have understood the issue and problem and are able to provide a feasible and economic viable solution. Your challenge is to get the additional meeting for a vendor that has already lost the deal. If you get the meeting you need to be sure your presentation and sales pitch runs perfectly and makes an impact by addressing all the issues, problems and budgets in order to convince the customer to rethink their decision.

Did you save sales deals ?
How did you achieve them ?

 

Being liked is not enough to close a deal but it sure helps

Rational decisions in B2B

People in companies buy solutions in order to solve problems or issues. If you manage to become liked and trusted by the people in a company you have an advantage over your competitors. However if your solution is not the best or most appropriate being liked will not help you to get the deal. People in companies take more rational decisions than the same people as a consumer. They know they have responsibility and have to explain their decision, especially when the solution fails.
If they have to decide between two very similar solutions with similar pricing then your popularity will make the difference.

Being liked helps closing deals

However if you are liked by one of more people in the company it is likely he or they will inform you and tell you more before, during and after the meetings and during telephone calls. This will allow you to position and match your solution better to the problems and issues they are encountering: you will have the best elevator pitch. Additionally you will have one or more advocates within the company that will sell your solution for you when you are not there.
This will give you a big advantages over your nearest competitors.
The salesman has an influence of about 38% on the decision.

Are you liked by your customers ?

 

About us

Engago Technologies provides a B2B web service for marketing and sales.
 

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