You are no ordinary sales rep. If you were, you’d be wading through a sea of listicles full of puzzlingly vague advice such as, “Research your buyer before the call” or “Leverage email.”
No, you’re here because you know that the best B2B selling strategies only come from closers like yourself—not from content writers trying to hit keywords. And so, in writing this article, we asked our entire organization to participate to see if we could distill decades of B2B sales strategies and tactics into eight meaty tips that, unlike all the other top Google results, are worth bookmarking, because this is actually how to close B2B sales. (Even when 96% of sellers now work remote.)
I give you, eight bold B2B sales techniques to help you close the maximum amount of business:
1. Declare Your Disinterest in the Sale
Prospects expect you to sell them. Surprise them by not. Shock them by telling them to go evaluate competitors. Convey that the last thing you want is for them to purchase and it not work out, because you’ll get dinged. Then, pause.
This B2B sales technique is called a pattern interrupt. (It works on cold calls too.) Most prospects have been primed by a lifetime of pressuresome sales tactics to say things like, “Let me check with my team” to avoid being cornered. But when you sound like a friendly guidance counselor, their defenses don’t go up. They’ll laugh, and even if they don’t take it seriously, they’ll be a lot more honest, which helps a lot with forecasting.
2. Never Apologize on Price
This may be the biggest error seasoned B2B reps commit: They apologize about the price before the buyer ever has an opportunity to object.
If you lead with a discount or say, “But this is negotiable,” what you’re telling them is that A) it’s too much, B) you know it’s too much, and C) they should give you grief over it.
Know the value. Stick to the value. Be surprised when they don’t understand the value.
3. In Fact, Stay Away From Price
Every time price comes up, steer the conversation back to the reason they began their evaluation. People do not purchase things because they are there. (Well, sometimes.) They enter a B2B sales cycle because they have a problem.
Often, the purchase helps them personally. They’re about to miss their marketing quota, they experienced a data breach and now their job is on the line, or they’re hoping to get certified in your software on the company’s dime to improve their future job prospects. (True story.) Anchor your conversations to that—it’s how you can continue to close B2B deals even during a pandemic.
And, here’s the kicker: It’s not their money. It’s the company’s. So don’t treat it like it’s theirs. Prospects often want to close the deal just as much as you do.
Related post: The Definitive Guide to B2B Sales Automation
4. Sell Past Prospects, Not to Them
Don’t tell prospects that your solution is the answer to all their problems. Saying so presumes you know everything about their business, which they’ll be eager to correct you on. Instead, tell them an analogous story of an existing customer. For example:
“I’m not sure about your situation, but recruiters at one client were having trouble keeping up with prospects. With Mixmax, they put prospects on a drip and 20% more recruiters hit quota that June.”
Don’t force it—allow them to draw the conclusion. If you’re wrong, no harm done. But if you’re right, and you nailed the vertical and use case, they’ll feel compelled to point it out. They may even interrupt you: “That’s exactly like our situation!” To which you can reply, “Oh really?” And now they’re the ones selling you.
5. Follow Up With Meticulous Consistency
Play project manager and keep your cycles on track. Buying has grown more difficult—50% of B2B buyers say they’re holding off on making a purchase because of the pandemic and 36% of prospects say researching and buying either takes too long.
With Mixmax, you can simplify the booking down to a click and send automatic reminders—all of the help with none of the added work.
6. Be The Expert in Your Buyer’s Industry
Being an expert in your buyer’s industry gives you a way to create value and sell more than just your product. I didn’t really understand the extent of this until I reached the executive level and became a buyer myself—reps really are the purveyors of privileged information. Good ones use what they know about their customers to close the deal.
For instance, what products do their other customers buy? What’s a benchmark success rate for my particular industry? What questions should I be asking myself while evaluating? What strategy do the most successful customers adopt? If a rep has a strong B2B sales process and has seen thirty others go through this exact same motion, I need their help, and I trust them more than other vendors.
Thus, it pays to become your company’s internal expert at a handful of industries. Keep track of how your customers do post-sale. Get virtual coffee with the implementation and customer success teams to build a long list of pocket stories. Send clients research they’ll find interesting, and when they ask you a question, reply, “What other clients do is …” and follow it with a story. (See Technique #4.)
7. Use “My Biggest Fear” to Broach Tough Conversations
If you’re worried about something, it’s often better to just get meta and just say it. If the client exhibits zero engagement on the demo, call it out. Say, “It makes me uncomfortable to say this, but can I be candid? My biggest fear is you’re already sold on our competitor and are only price-shopping.”
Delivered in a neutral tone without judgement, this phrase often invites radical honesty. Sometimes, they’ll tell you exactly what’s happening. (Or they won't, but they’ll wake up and participate.)
A similar B2B selling strategy is what some sales methodologies call the upfront verbal contract: You call something out before it happens, and ask them to confirm that it won’t happen. For instance, “I’m sure you’re quite busy and don’t have time for me to chase you around by email. Can we agree that at the end of this demo, you’ll give me a yes or a no?”
Paired with technique #5, the upfront verbal contract excels at helping you avoid tough situations: “Before I send an agreement, I just want to confirm that this price works. If we have to change anything later, it may have to go through Legal and we might miss the launch date.”
8. Lay Competitive Landmines
If you don’t already have one, ask your product team for a battlecard for each major competitor’s greatest disadvantages. When prospects say they’re evaluating others, confirm that it’s a good idea, but share those questions. Say, “Excellent. I recommend it. You wouldn’t be doing your job if you didn’t. Would it help if I provide a few questions to ask?”
Similarly, if you know your competitors will lay landmines for you, call them out. “Our competitor is probably going to say we don’t have a Rest API but we do. Here’s the documentation.”
The landmine approach sets up your competitor to have an awful demo. And when the prospect comes running back to you saying, “They mentioned the Rest API just like you said!,” you can just nod calmly. This leaves you looking like a trusted consultant who’s entirely uninterested in the sale—and because you’re so disinterested, you’ll probably get it.
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