Many entrepreneurs struggle with the sales responsibilities that come with owning a business. Selling skills don’t come naturally for everyone. But if you’re a business-to-business (B2B) small business owner, they’re essential if you want to successfully build relationships with potential customers and generate interest in your products and services. Fortunately, with some concentrated effort and attention, you can improve your sales skills and boost your confidence when talking with prospects about your company’s offerings.
Tips For B2B Business Owners Who Want To Be Better Sales People
- Open the door to a conversation rather than jumping right into a sales pitch.
Learn to be better listener. By talking less and giving the customer room to discuss their challenges, you can build trust and demonstrate you’re there to help rather than drone on and on about what you’re selling.
- Focus on solving problems.
If you can demonstrate how your products and services will save time, reduce work, cut costs, etc., people will be more apt to listen and learn more about what your company offers.
- Make customer service a priority.
Remember that keeping your existing customers happy is one of the best ways to attract new customers. Word of mouth will always be one of the most effective sales tactics.
- Focus on upselling.
Existing customers who already know your value are an easier sell than convincing new prospects to buy from you. Take opportunities to leverage your relationships with satisfied customers and see if there are additional challenges you can help them overcome.
- Realize that not all leads are good leads.
You’ll waste time and lose motivation if you chase leads that aren’t a good fit for your solutions. Set criteria (minimum net income, number of employees, etc.) for identifying whether or not a lead is a viable prospect before you spend time trying to nurture the relationship.
- Realize it takes time.
Sales cycles vary depending on the type of product or service and the audience. For example, selling B2B big-ticket technology products will nearly always have a longer sales cycle than selling office stationary. Patience is key. Don’t expect to close a sale on the first or second contact with prospects. B2B selling often requires multiple conversations before customers will sign on the dotted line.
If you’re interested in improving your sales skills, SCORE can help. We offer various articles, webinars, and other resources online that provide insight and tips. Also consider reaching out to your local SCORE chapter to connect with a mentor. Mentoring from the experts at SCORE is free of charge, and it can provide guidance and feedback as you develop your sales abilities and tackle the other aspects of running your small business.
Since 1964, SCORE “Mentors to America’s Small Business” has helped more than 10 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and business workshops. More than 11,000 volunteer business mentors in over 320 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses. For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800-634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE at www.score.org.