No selling required
There is a better way of winning new customers than pushing you and your B2B offer at them. Customers love it because they’re buying rather than being sold to. You’ll like it because it feels better than selling and you’ll get more long term business from it. Using social media well has made it even easier to do. It’s also a great way of testing new products, services and even a new business. I call it, and please if you call it this too mention me and my company, ‘BRIDGING‘.
For over 25 years my company, the Business Advisory Bureau Limited, has been helping executives go it alone as independent consultants, trainers, coaches, advisers and freelance B2B professionals. We don’t let these new micro business owners out of our grasp until they’ve learned and practised the skill set which will allow them to bridge.
No-one buys from a desperate business owner
You may have heard the story of why we came up with a process to help B2B professionals win more business and keep their customers/clients satisfied and providing referrals. It bears repeating:
As a trainer and coach I was using video cameras on a key account management (sales) programme I was running. I was demonstrating something in a role play and to my horror when I saw the playback I realised I was pushing my offer down the throat of an intimidated, and fortunately mythical, client. What had gone wrong was that my own win-win influencing skills had deserted me.
The reason they’d deserted me was that, in real life, we’d just started a new business and I was desperate, really desperate for clients. Frankly, we were only months away from not surviving. My over zealous need to get the sale in real life had spilled over to a role play in a training room.
I realised that not only hadn’t I fully understood what the client wanted and needed but I hadn’t established any credibility to allow the client to feel it was the right thing to buy from me. Seeing how bad I’d become at ‘selling’ on that TV monitor saved our business.
Think of two people, you and your prospective client, at opposite sides of a rope bridge. Both you and your prospective client are safely on dry land. The bridge is wobbly and underneath is a river with alligators waiting to gobble up those that fall. What can you do to draw your prospective client to meet you in the middle of the bridge so that you exchange something they want (e.g. your service) for something you want (e.g. your fees).
Why social media and all forms of cloud communications can help you is that by the time you arrive at your side of the bridge your client should already have decided that you are credible and have the solution or can provide the opportunity that they are looking for. In other words, they’re interested in you and want to meet you. Hint: check your networking skills and your LinkedIn profile to see if you can do this.
Then when they’ve got to the bridge you’ve got to pull them to you by asking questions, listening, summarising and influencing or negotiating so that they really want to meet you in the middle. You both fall in the river if you feel or they feel that you are selling to them.
A bridge too far? Never
The art of B2B marketing, including using social media (no excuse with WinWeb in the cloud services), is to get more days in every month when you have a prospective client at the end of the bridge that you can solve a problem or provide an opportunity for. Then you need the ‘pulling’, (just don’t tell your spouse or partner that’s what you’ve been doing!), skills to win the business.