Today’s businesses are finding value in integrating their sales, advertising and marketing teams to generate leads. They’re no longer working in completely different spheres. Instead, they’re making joint efforts to nurture and coax leads into profitable customers.
But sales is still a challenging field. It's made even more so when incoming leads are hard to please or have unique needs, which they expect you to meet.
These leads may not be happy with your pricing or features, or may have been burned by dishonest salespeople in the past and now approach your pitch with cynicism, making them difficult B2B customers to sell.
Closing deals with the most difficult of these B2B customers can often seem like it’ll cost you an arm and a leg, but don’t go searching for the chainsaw just yet.
The best way you can alleviate stress on your sales team—and help its members close more sales—is to take heed of the following tips:
Create a Universal Lead Definition
Don’t start a lead campaign without coming up with a Universal Lead Definition (ULD), means sitting down with key stakeholders and company heads and defining what makes a great lead and what makes a less than great lead.
Most businesses get so stuck on converting prospects into consumers that they overlook this key component. Every business should make creating a ULD for their marketing and sales teams a top priority.
Yet, an astounding 61% of B2B marketers admit that they have sent leads to Sales without ever qualifying them. Just think, by sending over bad leads instead of vetting them first, they’ve pushed a problem to the other side of the office.
Likely those “leads” got sent right back for more attention, possibly after wasting hours of a sales team member’s time. Avoid extra steps and mitigate the process for lead gen and sales by getting everything in order.
Determining what qualifies as a lead before kicking off a campaign is crucial. So make sure you do it.
Here’s a tip: To create a universal lead definition, bring sales, marketing and a professional lead gen provider together. Everyone involved should have an understanding of the information sales needs to in order to maximize its success.
Once everyone is on board, sales and marketing should meet regularly to monitor the marketplace for changes and trends.
Resist Reducing Premium Pricing
Tough customers will do their best to get you to lower even your bottom line prices. But don’t do it.
Too often, salespeople believe that when a customer makes a complaint they can get them to buy by cutting prices. Know this: There is no guarantee that a customers will follow through with a sale—especially if they’re already walking the fence.
So talking down your price only means that those customers will likely share that information with friends and colleagues, which means your brand’s revenue will decrease over time.
Customers who try to talk you down in price are typically worried about how a purchase will impact their costs. Use their concern as an opportunity to discuss how your product will produce ROI, and over time, reduce costs.
Make sure that they understand that your company doesn’t reduce premium prices, but instead puts a priority on fixing the problem and exceeding expectations.
Stick to your guns and don’t sacrifice your prices for a sale. Doing so will only lead to increased costs on your end.
Offer More Than One Price Option
Tough customers can be pushy about price cuts, but that doesn’t mean you need to make less for the same service. Often, what would really satisfy them is the ability to pick and choose features or products a la carte.
Instead, provide them with several pricing levels, or even the ability to pick specific services, if possible. A lower tier option that solves their basic needs and eliminates the feeling that they’re paying for features or products they aren’t using, can be a big win for both of you.
This tactic will help them better understand the product or services you have to offer. What’s more, it will reduce the likelihood of price shopping at other businesses.
More often than not, your B2B prospects will surprise you by going for your premium offer after seeing how it compares to your more economical options.
Listen First, Talk Second
No one wants to feel like they’re being told what to think or what they need. All the incentive a tough client needs to walk away is the feeling like they aren’t being listened to.
Train your sales team to listen first, talk second. It’s important they first get the customers to talk about their challenges before doing anything more than introducing themselves and making some small talk.
After they’ve listened to the customer’s main concerns and priorities (and possibly taken notes), the salesperson should then ask the customer questions that will help them to find the best solution to the customer’s problem.
Only when they have an answer that meets the customer’s main criteria should the salesperson concentrate on pitching your brand. By following this order of operations, your sales team will avoid wasting their time trying to sell features or services the customers don’t care about.
Above all make sure your customers know that catering to their needs is at the top of your agenda. Your company exists to make their lives easier - and you’ll do what it takes to make that a reality.
Last Word—Boosting Profits
Heeding these four tips when dealing with difficult customers will help your team close more deals. That, in turn, will boost profits. And when you're in an industry that's as challenging as the B2B marketplace, boosting sales and profits keeps you one step ahead of your competitors.
Do you have any tips on how to close more sales? Feel free to let us know.