It’s increasingly difficult to establish meaningful connections with buyers. They don’t trust sellers and aren’t interested in meeting. So, what’s a seller to do?
The pervasive, negative stereotypes about sellers affect how people initially react to you. The Glengarry Glen Ross and Wolf of Wall Street movie personas of sellers are reinforced in real life often enough to put buyers on the defensive. What’s a seller to do?
More of the Same Behaviors Results in More of the Same Reactions
Too many sellers shrug their shoulders and adopt these stereotypical behaviors. Others work mightily to defuse buyers’ negative perceptions by operating with integrity, the more challenging path to be sure.
For buyers, the challenge is to separate the wheat from the chaff, determining which sellers are trustworthy. As buyers become more self-sufficient and more resistant to advances, sellers are forced to scramble to find more leads, make more calls, and get in front of more buyers.
This often leads to displaying those sales-y behaviors buyers resist. Engaging in more of the same old sales behaviors exacerbates the problem. All sellers seem the same because they’re all behaving the same way.
Something Different, but What?
There must be another option. Researchers Robin Lewis and Michael Dart concluded that winning people’s wallets requires delivering “such an awesome connecting experience that they will go out of their way to come to you.”
“An awesome connecting experience”? Now that’s something different in selling! It’s a phrase that’s
more likely to be associated with leadership. Let’s break it down.
When we’re using the slang definition of awesome, it means the sales call is going to be “very impressive.” Jaded buyers won’t rate even the best-selling behaviors as “very impressive.” Quality is a weak differentiator that may go completely unnoticed. The dictionary meaning of awesome is more applicable: “causing an overwhelming feeling of admiration or respect.” Now that’s something that would certainly capture a buyer’s attention and clearly be differentiating.
Connecting, too, aims for differentiation. Connecting means joining or linking. To be clear, connecting means much more than a social media link. It involves more than the initial rapport-building you do with
prospects. A connection isn’t just a name in your CRM. Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) can’t adequately make connections. In human interactions, there’s a need for emotional connection.
In ancient times, people traded commodities to survive. As manufacturing expanded, sellers offered variety and quality to distinguish their goods. In time, service became the differentiation between one manufacturer’s goods and another’s. Today, service is no longer enough. Buyers demand more.
Experiences aren’t manufactured or engineered by sellers or their companies. Instead, a buyer derives personal meaning because of his or her imprint on the interactive experience. The seller’s role is to facilitate a highly personalized interaction.
An “awesome connecting experience” is an incredibly high standard. Most B2B sellers focus on goods and services. Buyers react by commoditizing these offerings and focusing on price alone. Striving
toward the high standard of an awesome connecting experience is no longer merely optional. It’s absolutely essential because buyers are accustomed to it in their B2C shopping experiences.
Meeting The Preferences Of Today’s Buyers
CX researcher Esteban Kolsky concluded that 86 percent of buyers will pay more for an emotionally satisfying experience that is relevant and personalized than for something generic. The value of a meaningful and unique experience significantly exceeds the value of the goods and service accompanying it.
The need for B2B sellers to catch up with consumer sales thinking is crystal clear. Less obvious is how B2B sellers can provide personalized experiences and help buyers to participate in creating what they want. Currently, sellers are not trained, equipped, or expected to:
- Cause an overwhelming feeling of admiration or respect.
- Provide the unexpected that triggers a euphoric response.
- Connect with buyers personally.
- Enable buyers to participate in creating what they want.
- Make buyers feel significant or important.
These expectations seem less like a job description for sales and more like one for leadership. Buyers told us repeatedly that they want sellers to behave differently. Buyers resist “sales” behaviors and erect
barriers to avoid sellers altogether. By contrast, they invite and welcome seller behaviors that produce awesome connecting experiences. Behaviorally, how can sellers create powerfully differentiating, awesome connecting experiences for their B2B buyers, who bring high expectations from their B2C experiences? Those behaviors are leadership behaviors.
Being a leader doesn’t mean you have a position of authority, a formal title, or a specific spot on an organizational chart. Leadership isn’t for a chosen few. Leadership is about relationships, credibility,
passion, and conviction, and, ultimately, about what you do.
You already have the capacity to lead. You already have buyers who want you to lead. The question is: What are you going to do to stop selling and start leading? The more frequently you choose to lead, the more you will create those awesome connecting experiences that make extraordinary things happen.