Upon attending some World Series games, I met a wonderful man who was sold to during the season. Note: sold to. Not ‘had the opportunity to meet his needs/enhance his business’ but sold to. There he was with seats in which he didn’t see the value the season had brought him, even with World Series tickets. He felt there was no need to renew them. When asked how his rep had introduced the product, I heard the worn out phrase “I was told to use them for client entertainment and employee appreciation.” What did that mean? How did you do it? How did you measure return? For that, no answer.
So here we go again. Using the time worn phrase with no idea what his needs were, what would best suit him, how we could help him grow his business and explain the ‘how’, and no explanation or training as to how to track success. He was sold to. My quota for the season….Done. Next…
When we offer a solution to clients in the form of seats,we should do so with a resolve to not only give the client something that will make him happy and feel his investment was well made, but also with the intention of making life easier for our retention group. How do you retain ‘sold-to’s?’ You generally don’t. And the vicious cycle continues…lost some season ticket holders, so make those up PLUS sell a quota of new.
How could we have better presented our product to this business owner?
Take time to build the relationship. How can you ever know what their needs are or what you can offer without getting to know them and their business? Relationships take time. One and done phone calls are great ego builders, but generally not a long term sale. Spend a half hour to 45 minutes. Ask a few questions. More importantly, listen.
Ask pointed questions. Frivolous questions wastes their time and yours. “How much entertaining do you do?” is a broad question, and assumes they entertain. Instead, an I/my such as “I know our sales reps schedule meetings, take clients to lunch or to some form of entertainment when we are getting to know them better or when we are letting them know we appreciate them and helps us in obtaining referrals. How do your sales reps usually go about building relationships?” is more pointed, justifies the ask and is not invasive by explaining what you generally do.
Just as an attorney, ask questions that lead to a solution/answer you want or will find you are not a fit. After a bit of questions and conversation, you should have a pretty good idea if you are a fit and can actually offer a product that will help offer a solution or if you simply aren’t a fit at all. Either way, it’s a win. Why? You can either offer something that will help their company and please them or you see it’s not a fit and you don’t keep calling week after week hoping they say yes.
Let the prospect see the solution and how it works through your eyes. Paint the picture. Get them emotionally into seeing what you see and how it works. Give them examples of how a situation they described works with using your product.
Show the client ways to track success…and how to get to success. Now you are no longer simply the seller…you are a partner in their business…someone who cares about the product they just invested in and wants to make sure you get the best use out of it.
Many are afraid of the B2B sale, but it is one of my favorites. This is a gratifying moment for you as you find ways to help your client be or continue to be successful. It’s the moment you realize that what you have isn’t just entertainment…it’s beneficial in so many different ways. It’s the moment you truly realize…you’re not selling tickets anymore.
Kathy Burrows, Sold Out Seating
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