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Friday, October 10, 2008

What's The Best Way To Approach "You" About Doing Business (B2B)?

First: Understand my company's business...our strategic goals and objectives... our organization, our marketplace, our competitors... ferret out what we do, and how we do it, and have a grasp on why we do it... know what keeps me up at night, and what keeps my boss up as well... create an introduction that demonstrates to me that you have learned about our company and all the above... and then treat it reverently when you present it to me... ask for validation and affirmation... and then, only after you have successfully impressed me with what you know about us, should you begin to unveil your company... tell me not just how you can help us to achieve our goals, but how you can help me to attain mine... show me what you and your company have done to support others in a similar situation... tell me how your company measures its contribution to me... and then tell me why there is a "fit" between our companies.

Do all this without reading the words off the PowerPoint Presentation, and maybe, just maybe, I will open the door for an ongoing dialog.

If you want to know how to get my attention early on... tell me how you are going to do what I have outlined above. Make it all about me.. our company... and let me know you understand that unless you prove your value early on, I won't have time to spend on you. Promise that you won't waste my time... and that you only need 20 minutes to determine together if there is a viable fit between your company and mine....

When you show up, get straight to the point... wear your game face... no small talk... the clock is running...

Whatever you do, don't let me think for one minute that our meeting has anything to do with you. Because I could not care less for what you need to get done.

Don't give me a "tour of your brief case" ... I am sure that you have all sorts of great stuff in there -- compelling sales materials, impressive graphs, etc. -- but I am busy, you have a limited time to establish that you have an idea that will help me either:

a) grow a specific profitable area in my business
b) solve a problem that I have in my business
c) avoid a situation that is negative for my business

This offering must quickly go from generic to specific to my business and my situation. Now you have my attention.

To go to the next step you have to establish credibilty. For me the best way to do this is through client referrals and references, especially from business people I know.

Get through all of this and then you have to sell me on you. Not only do I want you to bring some expertise to the table, but I want to know that you truly care about my business, that you are invested in making your product/service/program work for me and my business.

If you can do all this, then I want to buy from you and I want to give you and your offering every chance to be successful and be an important part of my plan moving forward.

One final piece of advice ... one that was given to me not by a business guru, but by my grandmother: "You were born with two ears and one mouth, listen twice as much as you talk".

There you have it. Simple, eh?

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