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B2B Sales: Don't Spray and Pray, Tell Stories Instead [Video]

by Michael Harris  |  
November 2, 2011

Today, B2B buyers are busy, busy, busy... doing the work of multiple people. The last thing they have time for is a salesperson who takes a spray-and-pray approach: a generic presentation that's all about the product/service being sold.

Meanwhile, the buyer is thinking, I don't have time for this... What's in it for me?

Even if the salesperson makes the most rational argument about the product/service, he's set up to fail. That's because you can win the argument but still lose the sale; you need to persuade and convince, instead.

What's a seller to do? Get to know the buyer's key performance indicators (KPIs). Then, use relevant user stories to help identity the buyer's problem--and how others got to where the buyer now wants to go: in fact, you need to help the buyer discover where he wants to go.

The purpose of that approach is to help the buyer himself realize the cost of the status quo; if the buyer doesn't realize that there is a cost to maintaining the status quo, he's more than happy to maintain it. And, guess what: The status quo doesn't take you (the seller) into account.

Using scenarios relevant to the buyer's own business, you need to help the buyer visualize how your product/service can eliminate the cost of the status quo to his business.

Speaking of which, watch the video for a scenario of a clueless seller and a buyer who knows how he should be sold to:

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Michael Harris is CXO of Insight Demand, a sales-training company that helps sellers take the shortest path to more revenue—through the power of storytelling. He is also author of Insight Selling.

LinkedIn: Michael Harris

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  • by David Skidmore Wed Nov 2, 2011 via web

    For a piece on storytelling, the production values (acting, shooting, editing) of this piece are incredibly amateurish, subverting the content of the piece. Really puts Insight Demand in a poor light. This is the video equivalent of coming to an interview with soup on your tie and your fly open.

  • by Danijel Kruljac Wed Nov 2, 2011 via web

    Great advice. Good video.

  • by Michael Harris Wed Nov 2, 2011 via web

    Yes this video is amateurish but could you believe that they're a big improvement on my past videos? I can, however, see how my videos could be painful to watch for someone with a professional eye. But there are a lot of small companies out there like myself who need to get their message out. My advice would be don't wait till it's perfect because these flawed videos have worked for me.

  • by Heather Wed Nov 2, 2011 via web

    Great advice!

  • by Rashid Kotwal Wed Nov 2, 2011 via web

    @David - the video might well be amateurish to a professional video guy, but what's more important here - the concept being explained or the video production?

    I agree with Michael. It's far better to get something out there than sit in an ivory tower waiting for perfection. (Note to self - take my own advice :))


  • by Anita Mitzel Thu Nov 3, 2011 via web

    I agree with David and Michael. Although I've been involved with professional video shoots for a long time, I was so interested in the message that I paid no attention to the production quality. It depends on the forum and the audience, and in my opinion, the more impactful the message, the less important the delivery.

  • by esperidion calago Mon Nov 28, 2011 via web

    nice your product".

  • by Brandon Skaar Wed Dec 28, 2011 via web

    Customers buy on emotion - Benefits - and justify their purchase with logic -Features. This customer spends so much time in the office doing the work of two he doesn't know his family anymore. Do you think something about making his job easier, saving him time to get to see his children might have a better impact than 30% .....?

  • by Michael Harris Wed Dec 28, 2011 via web

    Yes that's exactly it. I was making fun of myself getting it all wrong and the Buyer was supposed to be correcting me.

    I did a blog about this... selling to emotional buyers not Mr. Spok

    Thanks for your comment

  • by Octavio Gonzalez Tue Oct 23, 2012 via web

    What a masterpiece... video quality its ok, but the message is what is important, its simple and clear.. BRAVO !

    Octavio at PTGi

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