The B2B sales process is exactly like dating.
Think about the dating process for minute.
You meet someone through mutual friends at a dinner party. You talk about where each of you are from, what you like to do for fun, how many brothers and sisters you have, and what you are doing this summer.
The night ends and you ask for a phone number.
A couple of days go by and you send a text to ask to go on a date. From here, you slowly, over a long period of time, go on many dates, and eventually meet the parents.
Then after even MORE time, you start talking about kids and where you each want to start a family. If you both agree, you get engaged and eventually get married.
This is exactly how the sales process SHOULD look like. But for a lot of us it looks like this:
You meet a prospect at a networking event or through a referral.
You schedule a meeting because you think they are a potential customer, even though you’ve done ZERO research.
At the first meeting you talk mostly about your company. You tell them how you are better than the competition, and then ask them how much business you can expect to get. You might even ask them to place an order.
This would be like planning your entire future together, including how many kids you will have, on the first date.
Major turn off, right?
But for some reason we do this in sales. We meet a potential customer and then plan our future together after a 20-minute meeting.
We call cold prospects and ask for a blind-date without a single compliment or without doing any research to see if they would be a good match.
Why are we in such a hurry? Probably because we are trying to hit our sales goal this month. But why? Are you quitting your job at the end of the month or the end of the year?
Wouldn’t it be better to look five years into the future and ask yourself, “Which 10-15 customers would I like to be in a relationship with?"
Then pick the BEST customers in your area and court them.
And be PATIENT.
When you are looking at the best customers in your market, think of it like dating.
First of all, your top 5 future customers are probably already “dating” someone, or in the married stage.
So if you ask for the business on day one, you are basically asking them to file for a divorce on the first date. Yikes.
It’s going to take time. A lot of time.
We need to court our prospects. We need to become friends with them. We need to show them we care.
If we expect to break up a 30-year marriage, it might take years.
Don’t give up after just a couple of dates.
Don’t give up if they tell you your price is too high.
Keep following up. Keep helping them solve problems.
Keep asking for another date.
Vice President of Commercial Sales at cfm Distributors, Inc.
Brad joined the cfm team in 2006, and now as the Vice President of Commercial Sales, he focuses on business development, as well as helping contractors and engineers find creative and unique solutions to any size project. When he’s not at work, Brad enjoys photography, running and spending time with his family.