Noticed this recent post from a sales “expert”: B2B selling is “absurdly” simple. Hum. Think he’s oversimplified this, but the core message is a good one. His five steps are (with my comments following as it relates to the YP industry):
- Discover where your prospect is today: Well, yeah, but for many small businesses you’re probably not going to have the luxury of finding a lot of information about them on the web. This is where your probing/fact finding will be essential which is really what you see in the next step. For our industry, I think the better first step would have been Getting Past The Gatekeeper….
- Discover where your customer wants to be. When you get past that gatekeeper and are able to get to the decision maker, now you can really get to the meat of your work – fact finding, probing, open ended questions. Are they looking to grow, to expand, maybe just protect their business? Are they giving those buyers at the point of making a purchasing decision all of the information they need – brands serviced, hours of operation, years in business, location, etc, etc, Remember your RASCAL factors. Use them.
- Show how to get from current situation to the desired one. Pretty obvious again but more correctly stated for our industry – show the value of the program you are recommending. Don’t get into a price game. No one wins at that and your conditioning the advertiser to expect discounting every time you walk in the door.
- Repeat steps 1 through 3 with multiple contacts. Of course. But would have been more helpful would have been that the most successful reps not only do a great job with existing clients/advertisers, they excel at finding new-new clients, showing them the value of the media, and getting them started on a package which will grow/expand/defend their business.
- Close the deal. In the authors mind, if you followed the four steps above, you should be positioned for the close. I think that’s being a little naïve to believe it’s that easy. The key point here – don’t be afraid to ask for the sale. If you have gone through all the steps before, the close should a logical conclusion, but getting that business to now sign on the contract and even give you a deposit/down payment is just as important as my step one of getting past the gatekeeper.
What do you think?