Prior to the rise of technology, B2B sellers were behind the wheel.
In the old days of selling, buyers relied on sellers to provide the information they needed to make a purchasing decision. Now, the computer firepower carried in buyers’ pockets can connect them to mountains of product information in a matter of seconds.
Today’s buyers are educated, mobile, collaborative, and socially connected.
Buyers are more educated and independent than ever. They have transformed into digitally-driven self-educators, and 92% of them report that they start the buying process online. With a few clicks or swipes, they can research, access product reviews, find pricing, and get recommendations from their peers… and they’re already 57% of the way through the buying process before ever engaging with a seller.
As a result, the average buying process is longer and more complex than in years past, and involves 5.8 decision-makers. Sellers have more work to do with more people, so selling into today’s B2B sales terrain can be an uphill battle.
Unlike years past, the modern sales experience is buyer-driven, and sellers need to adapt in order to thrive.
In this day and age, customers are king, and connecting with them when and how they want is the key to success.
Here are 3 tips to sell to the modern buyer:
1) Come prepared for every interaction.
Most sellers will attest that getting a response from a targeted prospect is difficult, and locking down a first meeting can be nearly impossible. When you finally secure a meeting, a lukewarm pitch isn’t going to cut it.
Today’s buyers are sponges soaking up B2B insight and best practices from across the globe, so it’s likely that they’ve already considered or have pre-conceived notions about what you’re trying to sell them. To grab the attention of the modern buyer, sellers need to be ready to provide in-depth product knowledge and industry expertise that can’t be found online. Jill Rowley hits the nail on the head:
“The successful modern sales professional is an information concierge, a content connoisseur — someone who has deep subject-matter expertise on the buyer and the world in which the buyer exists.”
Buyers don’t want to be sold to. They want to be coached, guided, and educated… and buy from someone they trust.
To keep up with buyer’s expectations and add value during every engagement, sellers also need to absorb copious amounts of information about their buyers, the industry, and the products/services they’re trying to sell. This way, sellers understand what matters to their buyers and can demonstrate how their product helps move the needle.
So the lesson here for sellers is every interaction with your buyers should be meaningful and relevant – be sure to do your homework!
2) Keep it short, sweet, and personal.
Sellers need to adapt their approach to meet the needs of today’s educated, empowered buyers. With 65% of all email first opened on a mobile device, buyers are often on-the-go when scanning their inboxes. They’re also getting inundated by content marketing, paid ads, and emails from other sellers, so they don’t have time to read a novel – no matter how many hours you spend crafting the perfect pitch.
Not to mention, the average person has an attention span of 8 seconds – which by the way, is 1 second less than a goldfish – so you only have a few moments to grab their attention. Anthony Iannarino provides the ultimate truth about buyers:
“Buyers don’t have time to research what they need to buy. They’re too busy to even look up, and they need a salesperson to help them understand their needs… Buyers are okay being interrupted when that interruption creates value for them.”
Do your research, make it personal, and trim your paragraph down to a statement to rise above the noise and improve your chances of getting a response. To stand out, sellers need to tailor their approach to fit the needs of the modern buyer.
3) Embrace social selling.
It’s no secret that people buy from people they like. They also buy from people who capture their attention in places they already spend their time. Since decision-makers are getting bombarded with messages from sellers just like you, it’s important to find ways to stand out from the crowd. Neale Martin from Sales For Life says it best:
“While the buyer is neglecting the phone, they are simultaneously voluntarily engaged in social media for hours each day… Why not try to catch their attention in the places they go to learn about solutions to their problems?”
Meeting your buyer online increases the chances of locking-down a first meeting and staying top-of-mind for future buying needs. If you want to expand your company’s brand, grow your professional network, and increase referrals, jump on the social selling bandwagon.
Once you begin building your social network online, you’ll learn why word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools. And if you really step up your social selling game, doors you never knew existed will begin to open for you.
The modern buyer’s journey requires sellers to bring their A-game to the table during every interaction. To meet buyers’ expectations, sellers need to form collaborative partnerships with their buyers and become more educated, mobile, and socially educated themselves.
Sellers who adapt to the modern buyers will build stronger relationships and drive more business as a result.