A good friend was recently at a conference and she came across some stats about B2B selling that I thought to be completely fascinating. Here they are: there are on average 10 people involved in a B2B buying decision and 80% of people never respond to cold outreach. Most people don’t answer the phone if they don’t recognize the number and are unlikely to check their voicemail if they even have it set up.
In my first sales job out of college 20 years ago, we had to make 150 phone calls a days before we could go home. That was our only metric, make the calls and go home, wake up the next day, grab the call list and start over…. rinse….repeat. But back then, people answered the phone, and you had 10 seconds to differentiate yourself and then show how you can bring value with your product or service. If you could do that, you made the sale!
Selling has changed dramatically, and if you can evolve and acclimate to how people want to be sold too, you can knock the cover off the ball. Here’s what I’ve learned and now teach to my sales teams.
- Do your homework: If you’re reaching out to a prospect via phone, email, text, etc. let them know that you’ve done your research on them and their company and most importantly, actually do your research. Research the company and what they do, their competitors, read white papers. Get to know your prospect before you reach out to them.
- Communicate value and be a subject matter expert: Find an article that’s relevant to their pain points and send it to your prospect, invite them to a happy hour or meet up that is relevant to them, not just another networking hour. Give them a reason to say yes!
- Ask for referrals: Instead of selling directly to a prospect, communicate value and ask if they know anyone that could benefit from hearing about what you are trying to solve. You won’t ever get a better lead than a referral.
- Learn about them: Don’t spend time telling them what you do, most of the time they already know. The “elevator pitch” isn’t what it used to be. Remember the average prospect has already done their homework on you, they’re not taking the meeting to find out more about your company, they want to know what value you can bring to them.
- Ask what you can help with and then execute! Instead of selling directly to a prospect when we get a meeting, we ask what their pain points are and what is the most important thing they need help with. Then we try to solve that problem no matter what it is. If we do that, we’ll close a sale, we’ll get a referral, and we’ll have a long-term client.
We’re still doing the reach outs and still have to meet the sales numbers, but we can be smarter about who we reach out too and what our message is and how much we care. I used to find out where a prospect went to college and bring a football with their college logo on it to our first meeting, a small touch but it shows we care. People want to be sold by people who actually care and are thoughtful in how they communicate. Selling in today’s world is about asking how we can help and then not just showing we care, but actually caring.
It’s different than it used to be, but that’s a good thing!
We’re always trying to learn how to be better. “Live to Serve” is one of our core values here at recruitAbility, so if you have any tips to add to what I’ve shared, please send me an email or share a post. Thanks!