If you told your finance or managing director that reconciliations are not being done correctly in the accounts department, he’ll likely irritatingly wonder why you brought that to his attention. Sort it out, he’ll wonder, or angrily utter. And an opportunity to bring suspicion of fraud to the surface will have been lost.
But if you told him that there are financial inconsistencies you will see his face tighten and him sitting up with rapt attention. Now, you are speaking his language. This example manifests itself in the selling process and is the cause of many lost sales. Especially in business to business (B2B) selling.
The B2B seller finds himself presenting the same product or service across different cadre- from the user to the decision maker; from lay employees (say factory floor) to managers or executives. If the sale is to succeed the presentation must be tweaked appropriately for content, style and duration as you go up the hierarchy. The higher you go, the less time you have and the less technical (and more business oriented) you are expected to be.
So, if it’s a compact switchboard you are selling, to the user you could sell that it saves space and looks nice. Management will respond more positively to cost savings made on space, and time manning the former expansive switchboard. Plus, the value for money the purchase will bring as the more inspiring surroundings will enhance efficiency because the user will respond to more calls, faster. If it is gloves you are selling and, like the progressive seller you are, you start with a high (management) entry point, you will have wasted the opportunity if you start by talking about the latex in them.
The manager’s eyes will likely glaze over and he will take a renewed interest in his smartphone. On the other hand, if you opened the sale with, “Safety is being compromised at your factory”, you will see him put the smartphone down and give you his full attention. He understands this language; he lives it every day and safety is one of the core values in his foods factory. Going on to sell the same gloves to lay staff (the users) will find you taking about the latex, comfort and such technical matters; perhaps even demonstrating how heat proof they are. After all, you have time.
The foregoing would seemingly imply that you need only speak the manager’s language and you are home and dry. You wish! The successful B2B sale must be sold across all cadre. In fact, the convinced executive will likely say, “I see how we will sharpen our operational excellence with your two-way lift. But, before proceeding, I need to hear what the warehouse manager says as it is his team that will be using it.” This is not an objection; it is a practical and responsible concern and should be addressed as such. How would you do it?