The sales process in B2B may take longer and involve more nurturing than B2C, however, you still need a great strategy and sound tactics to succeed in either field.
Two other key areas that shouldn’t be overlooked in both arenas are:
- Marketing – your messages both online and offline need to align. As soon as prospects / customers see mixed messages or conflicting info ration they will become confused and look to spend their money elsewhere.
- Customer service – before, during and after a sale is made, the ability your prospect / customer has to reach your support team and get helpful service has significant impact on your retention rate. In fact, if you can solve a problem and solve it well your prospect / customer is likely to view you more highly than if the problem had never occurred in the first place.
Differences Between B2B and B2C
Consumer sales are often emotional, based on a perceived immediate need and with usually only one person involved in the buying process. Business purchases are planned and must be justified to stakeholders e.g. finance, board members and shareholders.
Another area of contrast between B2B and B2C is the type of relationship the sale is based on. B2C sales are often made in isolation with no real relationship or dialogue between the sales person and the prospect / customer. This is seldom true in B2B, where the entire sales process is often based on relationship building and trust.
Essential B2C Sales Skills
- Experience – if you work in B2C you’re in luck because you need far less experience to be successful than in B2B. However, never overlook learning something new and stretching your personal development muscles. Keeping up to date with industry trends and the needs of your prospect / customer will set you apart from other sales people.
- Agility – the world of B2C tends to be fast paced and unpredictable. Being agile will help you stay ahead of the pack. Create a mindset that is ready and accepting of change. This will put you in a far better state of mind than getting stressed out when your meticulously planned out day doesn’t materialise.
- Rapport – the B2C sale is more of a simple sell than the B2B one as there are fewer people involved in the decision making process. You usually only have one person to convince – rather than a committee full of decision makers. This means you only have one shot to build rapport. Most people are short on time and easily distracted so present a solution and show benefits quickly.
- Communication – B2C communication hinges around the brand value proposition. This could be to save money, offer the most comprehensive range of products or deliver great workmanship. Whatever it is, you need to be clear about the value your brand can bring to the prospect / customer. Use simple, jargon-free language that is accessible and understood by all.
- Marketing – as mentioned above, the buying process in B2C is often not rational. In fact, B2C buying decisions are often based on the emotion the buyer feels towards the brand. B2C marketers are always creating a need for their products / services through brand development. This could be understanding social trends, for example. As a front line sales person you have the opportunity to gather crucial marketing information and to work with your marketing team to deliver compelling messages. Take time to reflect on the sales you have and haven’t made. By analysing sales with your marketing team you can focus your message to engage your prospect / customer more frequently and reduce the number of lost sales.