The most successful B2B salespeople clearly understand that they’re selling to people and not just to businesses. While they take time to understand their customer’s business, they know that identifying each individual buyers’ decision-making mindset is essential to making a sale. One key aspect of the buying mindset is motivation: Is the buyer focused on pain or gain?
Problem-Focused Buyers Unlike in the consumer space, 70% of business buyers* make purchases to solve problems. So, a B2B salesperson will naturally encounter more buyers who want advice and solutions to address specific pain points.
How to recognize them: A problem-focused buyer will talk about the pain they are experiencing today and the negative effects on their business. They are likely to make statements like, “High churn is cutting into our revenue” or “We need to reduce churn,” with a focus on issues and roadblocks.
How to pitch to them: An effective sales pitch to a problem-focused customer will be based around:
- Reducing the severity of the problem
- Eliminating the source of the pain
- Mitigating risk and impact
Objective-Focused Buyers There are also plenty of buyers (the other 30%) who are more dialed into achieving goals and objectives. This is a dramatically different mindset than that of the problem-focused buyer.
How to recognize them: Instead of communicating the fact that they need to eliminate a problem, objective-focused buyers are more apt to say in our churn example, “We need to improve retention in order to increase revenue and customer lifetime value.” These buyers tend to make aspirational statements about the future and speak in terms of goals they want to reach or achieve.
How to pitch to them: Objective-oriented buyers are likely to respond positively if you can show how you can:
- Accelerate their ability to reach goals
- Amplify the positive results they seek
- Streamline the path to success
With both types of buyers, the issue may be the same, but how they think about it and communicate it will be different: one will spell out the specific problems, and the other will share what results they want.
Bottom Line: A smart sales approach requires first determining if your buyer is problem or objective-focused from the very first sales meeting and then customizing your message around this mindset. By being flexible and adapting to your buyer’s focus, you’ll be far more successful at communicating value in your buyer’s language.
*Source: Impact Communications