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Sales and Marketing Disease Cures Weak Profits

Had an interesting time at the doctor’s last week.

I won’t say it was fun (is going to doctors EVER fun?)

But it was interesting and even kind of useful from a sales and marketing standpoint.

Here is what happened:

Two weeks ago, I was diagnosed with something by my regular (allopathic) doctor which I have absolutely zero symptoms for (it only showed up on a blood test). And last week I went to a naturopathic doctor for a second opinion.

No… I’m not dying or anything like that.

It is just a minor league (really minor league) health “glitch” I’m hoping was incorrectly diagnosed the first time. And, frankly, it’s a joke compared to REAL health problems people are facing. (Like cancers, strokes, paralysis, multiple sclerosis, etc.)

Still, it got me to thinking.

Right now, this particular “ailment” is HOT on my mind.

I’m looking up everything I can on the subject with Google. And I’ve sorta become a wannabe expert about it (like I told my naturopathic doctor, “I know just enough about this problem to be dangerous to myself”).

Anyway, here’s the point:

There’s nothing about this health problem that’d bore me.

No sales letter on the subject that’d be too long.

No cold call that’d I hang up on.

And guess what?

Chances are, you have people like this in YOUR market, too – who really want to solve the problem you have the answer for.

And if you want to make selling super easy, focus on THEM.

In fact, if you do, you almost can’t fail.

The Most Effective B2B Sales and Marketing Strategies?

Taking advantage of business-to-business (B2B) sales opportunities is important to the bottom line for a growing number of companies. With a lingering recession and high unemployment figures in the background, businesses of all sizes are allocating additional time and resources to their B2B communication activities. This marketing approach can be even more effective by adding two common-sense strategies:

  • Improved B2B Negotiations
  • Improved Business Writing

However, many companies overlook these prudent steps in their rush to make a sale.

Negotiating Delivery Terms and Prices

While many business owners dislike negotiating, the negotiation process should not be overlooked during the B2B sales cycle. “Everything is negotiable” can be a helpful reminder to negotiate the best financial terms even when a customer appears unwilling to be flexible.

In addition to applying this strategy to a pending sale, companies should be equally attentive to the value of negotiating when buying from a supplier. As noted by Roger Dawson, “You will never make more money than when you are negotiating.”

Improving the Bottom Line for Business Writing

Most business executives are eagerly searching for a more effective way to tap into the world of internet sales and marketing. In many cases, the most straightforward approach to do this is to improve the quality of online business writing. Why? Here are two inescapable reasons:

  • Google and other search engines are increasingly becoming more discriminating about what passes muster in search algorithms.
  • Business customers frequently use a company’s written message as a proxy for judging the overall excellence of a business enterprise.

A high percentage of contemporary online business publishing content was produced at the whopping expense of one to five cents per word by some thrifty business buyers observing a “lowest bidder” mentality. Should business owners really expect this approach to put their best foot forward for either smart search engines or smart customers?

The Bottom Line Keeps Moving

The power of search engines to influence internet users is still evolving. The roles of keywords, images and unique text in search algorithms are changing. What worked 10 years ago is not necessarily a viable strategy today.

The costs of operating any business are subject to constant review. Business writing clients regularly attempt to improve the bottom line with improved efficiencies for writing expenditures. Marketing and public relations are not immune from budget cuts. Business writing costs must be scrutinized along with all labor expenses. Persuasive business writing increasingly needs to be cost-effective as well.

However, common sense suggests that there are practical limits to what B2B marketing can achieve when too much attention is devoted to keeping business writing expenses throttled at prices that preclude consistent quality. What does anyone realistically hope to achieve when attempting to buy a high-quality commodity for between a penny and a nickel per word? Of course, discerning search engines and customers will not be fooled – and will often punish companies that try to sacrifice quality at the expense of unsuspecting clients.

The Need for Expert Solutions: Business Negotiating and Business Writing

The increased value of expert solutions poses a serious challenge for businesses everywhere. The working definitions of expertise are a moving target – but are qualified expert negotiators and writers likely to be consistently available at the same price as unqualified personnel?

The jury is still out on the impact of social media, but popularity appears to be an inadequate proxy for either writing or negotiating expertise. The importance of internet visitors and keyword density has been superseded by a need to supply specialized answers and help. This quality shift deserves applause by everyone in the internet and B2B community.

C-Level Relationship Selling – Increase Sales and Market Share Using C-Level Relationship Selling

C-Level relationship selling is simple and more effective than any other strategy, tactic or selling technique once you learn the process. However, if you don’t know how to do it, it can be like cold calling in the sense that it’s intimidating, fraught with rejection and nobody wants to do it. But unlike cold calling C-level relationship selling will increase your sales and market share faster and easier than anything else.

C-level relationship selling will enable you to sell just about 100% of all the products and services in your portfolio that fit to 100% of your existing customers. Now would that help you meet your sales goals? Well as tough a task as the above sounds, it is far easier to accomplish than it is to sell that same amount to new customers. What if you could sell just all your existing accounts 10% more? Would that help your sales picture? Of course it would and it’s really easy if you develop professional C-level relationships.

Yes, I’m saying that to increase your sales and market share, give-up on trying to penetrate the walled cities of new accounts, and focus on getting more and more cross-sells from your existing bastions of strength. Then as your existing accounts buy more of all your products and service (with your help), those walled citied accounts will crumble and come rushing to you for your expertise.

Here’s why. First, do you believe that you can help your existing customers do their business better – more sales and/or more profits – if they bought more of the total portfolio of services you sell in addition to what they now buy? Of course you do. Well if they do buy more from you and do get better, that will put a lot of pressure on their competition. The word will get out that it was you and your company expertise that did it. And that’s when you’ll start getting requests from accounts that were previously not interested in some or any of your products and/or services.

However, in order to get your stuff more fully absorbed, you’re going to have to solve the issues and concerns as it relates to sales and/or profits of the C-levels or profit-center leaders of you existing accounts. In order to do that you will have to learn what those issues and concerns are for all the senior people involved. You can’t assume to know what their problems are and you can’t take the word of you main, lower-level contacts. Even if you know from experience or your main contact is correct (which is usually wrong), the top people don’t know you know their issues and concerns.

Think about it. A C-level would say or think, “What does this sales person know about me and my situation?” Now once you’ve talked and related on a professional level, s/he will feel you understand and will now be willing to listen to how you may be able to help. And this is how you cross sell and start to get more and more of your portfolio into that account. C-levels and profit center leaders have the power to make you sales happen.

So here is how to begin C-level relationship selling. First, start spending more time at existing accounts, but not just with your main contacts. Use your relationships at the lower levels to network you up and out. That is, meet their boss and their boss’s associates and continue to move up and out. My motto if you haven’t heard it from me before is spread like a virus through you existing accounts.

Now, my meaning of “meet” with these people is very specific however. A meeting is a one-on-one interview where you ask customer focused questions to learn what that individual’s issues and concerns are as they relate to your bigger world of solutions and listen aggressively. It’s not your time to give a product and services presentation. Once you know where this person’s head is at and the person realizes you understand, then you can offer to help. As the person sees the fit, they buy into you and this is how the relationship starts.

Keep repeating the process until you are networked to meet with the C-levels, the profit-center leaders, and their immediate staffs. It doesn’t matter if the meeting is in their office or at a lunch. What matters is you get know each person’s mind set for the moment and s/he knows you know. Without that it’s impossible to develop a relationship.

Using subordinate relationship that you’ve developed over time is vehicle to get you to the top C-level and other influential people. This will take a lot of your selling time, but it will be worth it. My rule is 50% of your selling time should be with existing clients/accounts. 30% should be with old or lost accounts and 20% with new accounts or self-ops. See some of my previous articles of why this works best.

Minimizing your prospecting to new accounts and competitors’ accounts sounds risky, doesn’t it? The bigger risk, however, is for an existing customer to start doing more business with your competitors, and we all know that’s exactly what your competitors are trying desperately to make that happen.

If the above reason doesn’t motivate you, consider this. C-level relationship selling is prospecting, and it’s in new territory. The beauty of C-level relationship selling, although intimidating, is that these prospects represent bigger, faster and easier sales.

Now I invite you to learn more about mastering C-level relationship selling.