When we discuss sales strategies with clients, there’s commonly a misnomer about what options are available. We live in an attention-starved world full of information and glamorous messages that cloud our thinking.
The reality is that for B2B Professional Selling, especially of professional services, you don’t have that many options for selling consistently and growing your business.
Here are your options:
- Inbound Selling. You set up selling systems to get people to contact you.
- Outbound Selling. You reach out and engage people that can say, “Yes.”
The Challenges of Inbound Selling
If you are not famous, it is very hard to get attention. Yes, it’s easy for you to set up social media profiles and put video and written content out there. But it’s also that easy for everyone else as well. You are competing against the entire world.
There are millions of blogs, Youtube videos and posts on Facebook and Instagram. And your last post or Tweet is out there within various users’ streams for an extremely short while.
If you are going to make inbound selling work, you must be fully committed and not miss a day. You have to work extremely hard for a long time to dial in the messaging. You have to be interesting and build an audience that looks forward to seeing the next ideas, entertainment or story that you put out there. It’s a long game based on attention, consistency and quality.
The real questions to ask are:
- Will you remain consistent for years?
- Will you invest in resources to keep your branding out there.
- Can you be interesting and stand out?
The Rigor of Outbound Selling
Getting people to call you is a continuous process. You need to be set up like a media company that puts your message out there for building a critical mass of attention.
Your other option is outbound selling. You reach out to people who may not be aware you exist.
In outbound selling, you have the option of two approaches:
- Mass contact
- Networking one-to-one
If you approach people with numbers and communications blasts, you risk being labeled as spam. Approaches like cold-calling, email blasts or any other form of spamming will only get you ignored. We are used to blocking out unwanted or non-personalized messages.
Look at what you do with your junk mail, advertising and caller id blocking. The numbers for conversion are extremely poor.
For professional B2B selling, deals happen based on trust. If you work backwards for how deals are made, you can see a pattern:
- A signed deal happened, but before that
- A negotiation occurred, but before that
- A conversation happened, but before that
- An appointment was scheduled, but before that
- You got a referral or attention in a personal way, but before that
- You reached out to someone via networking
The outbound selling approach works because you are human and interacting in a personal way. However, it is a lot of work that also requires being organized, efficient and consistent. It’s building relationships, remaining professional and increasing trust.
Ironically, we pay attention to someone addressing us personally. It breaks through the enormous amount of noise.
The question then becomes whether you will do the outbound selling or partner with someone that will execute day in and day out.
We all need to sell and keep a pipeline of opportunities and deals flowing.
Can you think of another selling strategy or option? What makes sense for your B2B business?