There is a lot of talk right now about authenticity and being authentic in your work. So what do we mean by being authentic? Being authentic means that you act in ways that are genuine, true to yourself, and how you feel. That means to succeed in being authentic in the world of B2B sales, you have to think and act in a manner that’s congruent with your own values and beliefs.
During challenging times this is even more important than normal, due mainly to most of us feeling thrown off-balance by external factors anyway. So you might find yourself being more distracted or less empathetic than you might normally be. Being authentic in B2B sales means you will connect with the people on your database that you genuinely feel you can bring something to. It also means you reflect upon opportunities from the viewpoint of the buyer, not as the seller who needs to benefit. Is that a self-indulgent luxury we can’t afford, or can we make being authentic work for our business?
How you want to be perceived
B2B sales typically has a longer gestation period than consumer selling. It’s less transactional which means it’s not usually a one-off or price driven purchase. In fact it’s based on relationships, and relationships are based on winning trust, nurturing empathy, and making long term connections with people. Not by accident then that you need buyers to ‘like’ you, and respect you as a professional. That’s so much easier to do if you’re being your true self. So you give advice and build messaging according to the particular needs of the individual you’re dealing with.
When you’re being authentic in B2B sales, you don’t set out to sell come what may. Everyone you speak with will have their own set of circumstances and objectives. Showing you understand and are willing to mould your offering around them will win the confidence of your buyers, and give you a sense of meaning. Over time, you will build an army of advocates that become friends, promoters, and customers for life.
Scripts absolutely will not help
At the risk of being boring, since we’ve said over and over, scripts don’t work, for a million reasons, they don’t work. Trying to stage a B2B sales pitch around the narrative you were having in your head when you wrote your script is bound to end in failure. You will have a fixed patter to rattle off, they will say things you weren’t expecting, and you’ll lose control of the call. This will make you feel phony and cheap.
You don’t need a script, you need some grit, great product knowledge, and the desire to talk about what you have that’s special. To be authentic, you need to ask a couple of questions that relate to the product you’re selling, and then listen carefully to the answers. Those answers will tell you what you should put on the table in order to be valuable to your buyer, by meeting their unmet needs. If your questions fail to do this, review them, or get consent to speak again in the future when the buyer’s needs may change. As ever, if there’s no need, there’s no lead.
Mould messaging around your audience
Being clear about the difference your product or service makes will help you come across as passionate and expert. Get your buyer talking, and seek information that helps you understand their business, so the service you deliver is aligned and makes a real difference. Make your B2B selling technique all about your audience, this means every call and interaction will be distinctive, so they are memorable to you, as you are to them.
Where you don’t manage to create a selling opportunity (the majority of your outcomes) do gather relevant information, and build a pipeline of future opportunities, so over time your data gets warmer, your brand resonates in the mind of potential buyers, and your sales increase. By following this routine, you plant seeds that propagate sales over time, instead of compromising yourself to reach deadlines or targets.
Tell stories, ask questions, make your selling all about the individuals in the audience you are connecting with. By doing so you’ll feel enriched and personally invested. Not only will your sales figures benefit from winning long term loyalty from committed buyers, but you’ll feel proud of the contribution you’ve made to their business and your own. According to thought leadership experts at Business 2 Community, one of the greatest competitive edges in business today is authenticity. Professionals and companies that encourage practices based on this authentic truth immediately differentiate themselves from the competition. You can learn more about authenticity in B2B sales here.