A date with your prospect!
When it comes to building long lasting relationships with customers, sales representatives are the most critical players. But are they getting the fundamentals right? Most often they get caught in the "Account" or "Organization" web trying to look at things from a macro perspective failing to realize that it is a "Person" who is finally going to be buying! The first step is to realize that Time Warner might not be your customer but the Director of IT there could certainly be one!
These prospects and customers of yours are REAL People. Yes, they have designations and work for organizations. Yes, they buy submarines and ecommerce platforms. Yes, they don't risk their own money to buy. But it is extremely important to understand the fact that all of them still aspire, dream, fear, and desire. The only difference is that they do this through the lens of their professions.
It is imperative to leave a long lasting impact on the prospect (individual!) post every conversation. Most sales organizations fail in:
Too much focus "We and Us", not enough on "You"
Too much emphasis on product, not enough on benefit
Too much jargon, not enough on specifics
These failures can lead to the prospect failing to grasp the BENEFIT for him by purchasing from you. There is often a big difference between what customers "say" was important and what actually resulted in their behavior. Many insist that price and product features were the key factors that influenced their opinion but invariably, the most important ones are "what is in it for me" and the overall sales experience. Your customers decidedly do not care about your products, services, or how long your company has been doing business except for how it benefits them! An amazing product is like a technically well-made movie. But what really matters is how the audience feel while & after watching it.
B2B relationships are developed and ongoing, and the sales processes involved take longer than business-to-consumer relationships. These relationships in a lot of cases turn out to be the bread winner for sales professionals. Sales is about people. It is about human beings.
Imagine a sales call as a date with a very pretty woman you've been wanting to take out for a very long time. Won't you prepare for days before the date to make sure she feels great?! The key to creating a great sales experience for your prospect is preparation. Knowing all that is available to know about "him", "his interests", "his goals in the organization" etc. are the most important things you need to worry about before the meeting.
People selling to people do things right. They ask questions, focus on the benefits, strive to create win-win results and work hard to learn what the prospect "really" wants. As a matter of fact, we only over complicate sales by adding layers of "business" terms and stages that only make for text books and impressive speeches by sales and marketing gurus. Forget the age old sales models, learn how to create a positive impact on real people & build relationships. You will be surprised to see how quickly you are able to achieve your sales quota!
Remember, it's not B2B, It's P2P, Champ!