Tag Archives: representatives

Why B2B Sales is Really B2B2C: A Two Phase Sales Process

“Sell a man a product, and you’ve made a sale.  Teach a man how to sell your product to his customer and you have a business partner.”-TSW 

Man Holding Childs Hand

In my industry, which is the medical field, I often come across clients who have purchased products that they simply do not use (not mine of course!).  When I ask them about it, I get responses ranging from “Oh, I forgot about that!” to “Yeah, that machine cost me $100,000 and I can’t figure out how to use it.”

What a terrible position to be in!

So, how did they get there?

Surely, they must have thought that those products were wonderful at the time of purchase so what happened afterwards?

The problem is that all too often in Business to Business (B2B) sales, a representative sells a product or service to a business and then they move on to the next customer.  Sure, the representative has done his or her job of completing the B2B transaction, but just that alone.  When the rep stops here, they have ended the sales process prematurely.   You might argue, “But they made the sale?” And yes, you are correct, but only that.

By leaving the business to fend for themselves to figure out how to complete the Business-to-Consumer (B2C) sale and if that business does not have the knowledge and tools they require to sell that product to the consumer, the representative has failed.

I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Well that’s not my problem! I have a quota to make and I don’t get paid to be a hand holder”.  Well actually you do, or rather you should. At absolute minimum, offer your assistance post-sale, otherwise you might as well be selling snake oil.

If you want continued business and a good reputation, you’d better be sure that your client is capable of relaying the features and benefits of your product or service to their customer.  Otherwise, that fancy piece of equipment or innovative new product will simply just sit on their shelf collecting dust and one day you’ll receive a phone call from them inquiring about your return policy.

Of course, not all clients are created equal and certainly not all of them require hand holding.  However, when you are making the sale, keep in mind that after the sale you should always do some sort of follow up, the degree of which will vary depending on your client.  For this reason, I believe that making a business to business sale, is a two phase process as follows:

Phase 1: B2B Sale

“Sell a Man a Product and You Have a Sale.”

This is the traditional sales process as everyone knows it.  Prospect, qualify, ask for the order and close the deal.  I will not elaborate on this phase in this article.

Phase 2: Imparting the Knowledge for the B2C Sale

“Teach a Man How to Sell Your Product to His Customer and You Have a Business Partner.”

After you make the sale, both you and your client are excited; You about making the sale and your client about receiving that fabulous new product.

You, the sales rep mistakenly assumes that your client remembers your entire sales pitch and is just as eager and capable as you to impart this knowledge onto their customer.

Before you get too carried away with excitement, consider the following:

  • Your client is a business owner or decision maker, not a sales representative
  • Time may elapse between when the sale is made and when the customer receives their product. It’s only human nature to forget. After all, we aren’t all information sponges!
  • The reasons WHY your client bought the product- Did they have an existing need or did you create a need for them? Will that “need” dissipate after you walk out the door?

What should you do to avoid buyer’s remorse?

Two words: FOLLOW UP!

  1. At the Time of the Sale: Even though you should know the answer, ASK your client how they plan on selling your product to their customer or rather how they will incorporate your product into their business model. This will give you an opportunity to listen to their version of your sales pitch.  What did they pick up on? What was most important to them? What did they forget?  Make sure to fill in all the gaps before you walk out that door and ensure that they know how to get in touch with you or your company’s customer service department should they require further assistance.
  1. When the Order is Received: Whether you personally deliver the product or if it was delivered by a courier, touch base with your client to ensure that the product was received in proper condition and ask them if they have any questions. If the product is complicated, they and their staff may require training not only on the use of the product itself, but also what they should say to their customer when recommending the product.
  1. Two to Four Weeks Post Delivery: Touch base with your client. I would recommend a follow up visit to make sure that your client has all of the information and tools they require. Some team members may need additional assistance or training. Or perhaps they may have lost or gained a key staff member who requires training.  Your client may  also have many additional questions about the product as they use it or simply need a refresher.  If all is going well, they might even be in a position to reorder or want to discuss what other products you might happen to have in your portfolio which is all the more reason for you to be there.
  1. Regular Visit: Back to the Sales Cycle: If you customer was pleased with their buying process, they will want to see you again and continue to do business with you.  They may even want to act as a referral!

If you want to maintain a successful career in sales, you never want to make your customer feel sold and abandoned.  It is your job as a sales rep not only to sell your product but to work with your customer in a mutually beneficial working relationship where both of you grow your business together.

Never forget to follow up!

Happy Sales!

TSW

Please follow and like The Travelling Saleswoman:
0

Do Men Make Better Sales Representatives?

 

Let’s face it ladies, how often do we say “No” to men on a daily, weekly or yearly basis? Regardless of the context, women are more often in the position to say “No” to men and to have that answer accepted without incident.

The reality is, we still live in a society where gender roles play a huge part in our day to day lives and whether we like to accept it or not, mmalevsfemaleen and women are not equal.  Men are much more likely to be the aggressor, the alpha, the initiator, the one to ask directly for what they want and not be afraid of hearing “No” as a response.  That being said, the more men ask, the more often they hear “No” and “Yes”.  If men were put off by every “No” that they heard, they certainly wouldn’t keep asking.  Basic psychology suggests that if there is a chance at even obtaining the slightest reward, one shall seek it repeatedly without extinction.

Women on the other hand, are used to being pursued by men.  Most women, and I am speaking generally here, are more frequently pursued by men than they do actively pursue men and thus are more often in a position to decline the advance than to face rejection themselves.

So how does this translate to sales?

Bottom line is, men are simply much more used to rejection because they face it more often than women do.

Men are used to asking and hearing “No”.

Women are used to being asked and saying “No”.

I’m sure some of you alpha female sales and business women like myself are reading this and thinking, “What are you talking about? If I want something, I go out and get it!”. Yes, that is what I do and yes, there are many women like myself out there who go out, get what they want and don’t fear rejection. After all, the only way to be successful in life is to take risks and do whatever it takes to get what you want and that always involves some sort of rejection or disappointment of some sort. Nothing in life is easy. You have to fight for everything. However, the majority of women are not alpha females, which is a relatively new concept in itself.

In sales, the primary reason that sales representatives are afraid to ask for the sale, is a simple fear of rejection

So, my question to you fellow sales and business professionals:  If men are so much more accustomed to rejection than women, does that qualify them as better sales reps than women?

Generally speaking, women are sensitive and emotional beings, much more so than their male counterparts.  If a woman asks for a sale, and is declined, is she that much more easily discouraged than a man?  And thus, less likely to ask for future sales in fear of facing that same rejection?

Furthermore, do women find it more difficult to live a life on the road than men? How many female truck drivers do you see on the road? How many business women do you see in the airport? Certainly less than men.

I remember I was once told by one of my male superiors that “You women need more time to relax and regroup than a man.” when I was asking for a day off after a long business trip.

When I heard that comment, I didn’t know how to take it.  On the one hand, I was slightly offended. Did he think I was some sort of princess because I wanted a day to relax after a long trip and get my home back in order?  But that got me thinking: “Would a man need that day off as well? Or would a man just jump right back into the office? If a man would just go right back to work with no time off, does that make a man a better road warrior than me? 

After seriously doubting myself, I came to the conclusion that “Thank goodness I’m not a man because otherwise, I probably  wouldn’t have gotten that day off!”. I believe that anyone who works hard enough needs a rest at some point, otherwise you simply burn out.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we live in a sexist society full of gender stereotypes.  In my opinion and theoretically speaking of course, men should be better at “asking for the sale” than women simply because they have more experience doing this starting at a very young age!

When it comes down to getting the sale, I believe it is all about your individual personality and the degree of persistence and ambition that you have as a sales rep. However your ability to accept rejection is something you must get a solid grasp on in order to be successful in sales.   Although men may have a head start in that regard, over time if you’re in sales long enough, regardless of your gender, you grow tough skin and learn to take rejection quite well.

And for life on the road, I think more men typically make this a career because even though they may have families, more often than not it is the woman who will stay home with the children.

For those of you reading this, I would love to hear your views on whether one gender or neither has an advantage over the other and to hear any stories you may have had encountering sexism or stereotypes in your career.

I look forward to hearing your feedback and discussing this with you all!

Cheers,

TSW

Please follow and like The Travelling Saleswoman:
0

The Travelling Saleswoman on SalesBabble.com

Travel and Sales Advice from the Travelling Saleswoman      (a SalesBabble.com Podcast)

h - Jaclyn Goldman-0021

Yours truly, The Travelling Saleswoman is honoured to have been a guest on SalesBabble.com, hosted by Patrick Helmers. In this interview I give travel and sales advice from a savvy travelling saleswoman’s perspective.  This website is an excellent resource for anyone starting out in sales or who is a small business owner.  I would highly recommend you take a moment to check it out.

In this interview, I offer tips on:

  • Selecting the best transportation to and from the airport
  • Getting the best value from your travel rewards program
  • Sales scenarios-What to do and what not to do
  • Challenges on the road and how to overcome them

To listen to the full interview and to learn how you can win an Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Guest Pass, listen here or go to SalesBabble.com/46

 

 A Podcast by:

If you have any questions, comments or would like personalized advice, please either leave your comments below or email me directly at thetravellingsaleswoman@gmail.com

Happy sales and safe travels my friends!

Yours Truly,

TSW

Please follow and like The Travelling Saleswoman:
0