By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter
No matter what you’re selling, it’s a relatively simple process. You have something that I want, we get together and make a deal. I’ve been in business for over 40 years and the selling process/cycle has apparently changed, or has it?
We used to call on contractors, see what they needed, and hopefully was able to help them out by selling them something. All of this was done on a Human Level. We interacted with them, got to know their families and what they liked to do when they weren’t working. Instead of trying to sell them something, we listened. I called it belly button to belly button selling.
Then along came the internet, email and then tons of social media options that we could use, not only to identify prospects, but to market to them and ultimately sell them stuff. I recently read an article by Tim Kopp – Why the future of marketing is “business to human,” that sheds some great insights into this issue. He, like me, has been around the block a few times, and he’s come to the same conclusion … “that we all want to be helped instead of being sold because we all have one thing in common – our humanity.”
It’s nice to have the tools to build buyer personas, help us engage prospects and get our messaged branding out there. In some cases, if you know what you want, these make it easier to locate and purchase them.
With the talk of artificial intelligence, bots and the rest, it seems the thinking is machines will replace human interactions. Trust me, that will never happen! These things can’t replace a personalized customer experience that is authentic and empathetic, with value added at each step. You can’t automate authentic relationships.
So what changes under this new/old way of selling? Each contractor must be treated differently. You need to build trust so they realize you are looking out for their best interest. This adds value by being available and helpful since you know his business. Authentic relationships are made over time and make you more effective.
We all have competitors, but if the only thing you offer your contractor is price and availability, then they might go elsewhere. Ironically, you are the brand in the contractor’s mind, because when he thinks on Brand X, he pictures you and all that you have done for him over the years.
B-to-H marketing goes beyond just knowing your contractors … it’s being able to deliver meaningful and valuable information. To become their trusted adviser.
How many of you have taken (or never gotten away from) this type of selling?