They Know You Before You Show Up

It’s no surprise that the speed of business has accelerated dramatically in the past decade. Our customers have more resources at their fingertips than ever before. What used to take an hour of research in hard copy directories now takes mere seconds online. Not only do they know more about what they need/want to buy, but they know more about your company and they know more about YOU.

I came across some interesting statistics on B2B buyers recently:

Almost 75% of buyers do half of their research online before talking to a salesperson. That means you better find out quickly what they are interested in and then make sure you address those questions before you talk about all the other wonderful things you have to offer. Your buyer is already well educated on what’s available in the marketplace. You may lose his interest talking about other products he has no interest in buying.

The average B2B buying decision can involve 5+ people. You cannot afford to assume the person you are talking to is the sole decision maker. We recommend a discovery process leading to knowing your contact’s peers, superiors and immediate reports. You don’t want to be surprised by a last minute player entering the game and killing your order.

Over 75% of buyers regularly use some sort of social media to research potential suppliers. This should be enough to make you update your LinkedIn profile. When was the last update to your company website? And, oh by the way, your buyer may well have read some unflattering things about you and/or your company. Be prepared to answer some tough questions.

Here’s the killer; almost all buyers surveyed said they do NOT respond to cold calls. That includes email blasts and dialing for dollars. As we have written previously, drop in calls leaving literature at the reception is ineffective. This survey indicates cold outreach is greeted the same way. Referrals become more important and positive presence online (personally and corporately) will become important drivers of inquiries.

The buying process is NOT what is was a few years ago. You have to provide more than just information; you must provide relative answers to their questions. Become a resource to your buyer. Do your research before your first call. Asking a buyer to “tell me about your business” is not only lazy, it’s stupid. Use LinkedIn and other sources to find out who key personnel are at your buyer’s location. Your understanding of the buyer and his company will make you far more effective.

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