B2B or “Business to Business” new customers are hard to find, because there are really only three basic reasons that a business will consider a new vendor. My success in sales has come from an understanding of these three reasons and how to take advantage of them.
REASON #1: UNHAPPY WITH THEIR CURRENT VENDOR
In this day and age, you are only as good as your last job…when a vendor screws something up with a customer, and especially when they don’t make it right, it opens the door for the next in line. The trick to winning in these situations is being “Top of Mind”, the next name that comes to mind when they are looking for a change.
The way to win in this scenario is consistent follow up and marketing, this is the 7-12 touches before you get an opportunity…and sometimes it’s MANY more. I’ve spent years following up with customers before I won their business, but for the big prospects its worth it. Things like direct mail, email, occasional phone calls and the like win here. It’s often called “Drip Marketing”, because you keep just enough flowing so that when the opportunity comes…you get the call, or you happen to call at the time they are unhappy.
REASON #2: A POSITION CHANGES
When things get shaken up, someone leaves or even gets promoted, there is an opportunity to get in with the new person. Often they are in panic mode trying to get their new position settled. If you happen to be there with solutions and ways to make their job easier, you can get the work. I have often won this way, especially when I’m doing some business with a customer, and I become aware right away of a change, get in there!
Again, like reason #1, the consistent drip of information to the company and that top of mind awareness from direct mail, email, phone calls, social media, etc. can be the key to the win here.
REASON #3: YOU SHOW THEM SOMETHING NEW!
This is where a lot of opportunity can happen, and I’ll bet you’ve lost customers when a competitor did this. Do you have a competitive advantage that your competitors don’t? A new piece of equipment that does more? An ordering method that makes their life easier? We have a new digital press, that has a fifth color unit that can print white or clear toner, I’m taking customer PDF files from their websites, adding clear toner accents like their logo on top of copy, you turn it in the light and see it, it’s really cool and I’ve already had three prospects return my calls and emails after I sent them one of their own pieces of literature with this new effect on it.
When you send emails, leave voice messages, create marketing materials. Don’t show them what they have already seen from you and all of your other competitors, focus on the new. I have lots of expensive digital printers/copiers and I have salespeople constantly calling me and asking “Dale, can I come and talk to you about your copiers, we have really good competitive product…” In my mind I hear that as “Dale, can I come and waste anywhere from 15 minutes to over an hour of your time…blah, blah, blah” But leave me a message like “Dale, I know typically your max size on your digital press is 13”x19”, I’d like to show you our new line that can do sheets as large as 13” x 44”, enabling you to do things like Landscape size booklets.” I’ve never been able to do that on my digital equipment, my interest is ignited and I will call you back.
There is no magic bullet in sales and marketing, it’s a consistency and a numbers game, unless you can do something unique with Reason #3…”Invent a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door”. I’m consistently working on all three…are you?