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Fear Is B2B Sales' Unusual Trust and Relationship Accelerator

Fear Is B2B Sales’ Unusual Trust and Relationship Accelerator when salespeople know how to understand it and earn trust through empathy.

Having been in management consulting for over 25 years, I agree with Charles H. Green that fear is the core driver of organizations’ and negotiation partners’ “difficult” behavior—and that it offers B2B providers a reliable opportunity to outmaneuver competitors by building trust where they can’t. As usual, he is right on the money in Find the Fear and Swim Upstream to Trust: “Fear is the main driver of … passive aggressive, secretive, avoiding, combative, resentful, backstabbing, gossiping [behavior]…”

But fear can be a gold mine. In my experience, fearful clients or prospects are afraid of a personal or organizational situation, not you. Therefore, their fear and “difficult” behavior is a barrier to all potential providers, which can be your opportunity: by working with the client/prospect to mitigate the root cause, you can develop a high level of trust quickly. Moreover, fear tends to be contagious, and most people, including competitors, avoid it, which can […]

Top B2B Salesperson Trust Killers Revealed

Top B2B Salesperson Trust Killers Revealed discusses the results of targeted B2B sales research I conducted on LinkedIn and features comments from many survey respondents.

Top B2B Salesperson Trust Killers Revealed

One of the key takeaways of The Dynamics of Change video was trust’s importance to B2B prospects’ risk management practices. To explore trust’s importance to B2B sales, I surveyed dozens of seasoned B2B sales executives, including clients and salespeople, in this LinkedIn Poll. The results reveal the nuances of trust and how salespeople must constantly challenge themselves to focus on trust, relationship and execution. For example, respondents said that too many salespeople fumble the ball on fundamentals.

B2B sales is a challenging proposition in normal times, but the challenging global economic malaise has only made budgets tighter and sales more daunting. In large B2B deals, salespeople have to build a significant level of trust with prospects before any deal can be done. This analysis aims to help firm executives and sales leaders improve performance by increasing trust with prospects and clients.

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Using the Relationship Value Map to Optimize Your Social Networks

Using the Relationship Value Map to Optimize Your Social Networks is a step-by-step approach to prioritizing your firm’s interactions in social networks to significantly improve the return on your team’s time.

Using the Relationship Value Map to Optimize Your Social Networks: trust vector

CSRA’s Relationship Value Map is a simple but invaluable tool you can use to organize your social networks to meet your personal or business goals better. Its Interest and Trust vectors intersect to create four quadrants for your connections. I designed it when working with individual executive clients in 2009, but CSRA uses it with enterprise clients as well, especially those with direct (B2B) sales forces who need to prioritize their relationship building activities.

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Quick How-to: Generating Leads from Social Media

It’s nice to see dawning recognition that social business needs some structure and planning to produce business value, and this post from SocialMouths offers a quick treatment. It presents 5-part approach to generating leads: start with strategy, conduct due diligence, connect content to prime stakeholders, connect social media to marketing, and involve the sales team. […] […]

The Impact of Trust, Relationship and Human OS on B2B Sales

The Impact of Trust, Relationship and Human OS on B2B SalesIn The Ironic Truth About Sincerity, Seth Godin juxtaposes sincerity and performance, and he comments on how they influence trust. It’s a nice riff that gets one thinking, so here I’ll do a deeper dive into how these two elements of trust work together to facilitate or sabotage B2B relationships and sales.

I’ll also link to an even deeper treatment for those who want to open yet more doors.

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Are Websites or Social Media Better for B2B Lead Generation?

Are Websites or Social Media Better for B2B Lead Generation?ZDNet reports on “research” that finds that websites provide 7 times more sales leads than “social media.” Unfortunately, the writer doesn’t appreciate the self-irony in the second paragraph: “A company’s corporate website was found to be the top source of new sales leads online — second only to personal referrals..”

As B2B continues to adopt social business, more word of mouth, i.e. personal referrals, happens online. Another reason I’m calling out this post is that it misinforms readers by treating “sales leads” as a homogeneous category. Our clients don’t care about general adoption; what’s more relevant is adoption by their prospects. This post treats all leads as the same, so it’s really the equivalent of informational fast food.

To end on a dour note, misinformation can work to your advantage because your rivals may read it and believe while you can see through it, invest and pull ahead.

The Cost of the Trust Gap—On Seth Godin's Why Lie?

The Cost of the Trust Gap—On Seth Godin's Why Lie?In Why Lie?, Seth Godin points out that prospects of (B2B) salespeople often lie because they do not want their decisions to be questioned by salespeople: “… when we announce that we’ve made the decision to hire someone else, or when we tell the pitching entrepreneur we don’t like her business model, or when we clearly articulate why we’re not going to do business, the salesperson responds by questioning the judgment of the prospect.”

Great insight, but it pre-supposes a lack of trust that is totally outdated and unnecessary. Let’s review how this comes about and how to disrupt the whole cycle.

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Financial Services Social Business Example Featuring Twitter, LinkedIn

conversationsHere’s a useful financial services social business example from Forbes. It details how a Midwest financial services firm grew at competitors’ expense by using LinkedIn, Twitter & legacy communications.

Notice that Jefferson, an investments firm, engaged its channel (financial advisors), using LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and legacy marcom. Their momentum enabled them to maintain their pricing while competitors felt compelled to lower theirs.

Another powerful lesson is, during “downturns,” don’t follow the herd and cut sales and marketing investments, especially when you can use social business to magnify impact as Jefferson did. Well done! #li

B2B Sales

B2B Sales Referrals Outdated Concept: How to TransformAs I read Jill Konrath’s excellent post on how to ask for “referrals” and mistakes that most salespeople make, it occurred to me that salespeople could do even better by breaking that model completely. Jill’s excellent point is that salespeople are uncomfortable with asking for referrals, so they cop out and do it badly by using a throwaway “Do you know anyone..” But I would tweak her suggested, “Whom should I meet” even further by focusing on client, not [salesperson’s] company.

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Redrawing Your Map: Selling in the Knowledge Economy

Redrawing Your Map: Selling in the Knowledge Economy explains how the 21st century and digital social networks are changing client behavior, and sales, forever.

Redrawing Your Map: Selling in the Knowledge Economy

Having started in business in the 1980s in Chicago, I have had a front row seat to the waning of the Industrial Economy, which has created unprecedented human wealth through fabrication, distribution and scale in countless iterations. Its meltdown sets the context for a profound shift in all businesses, and it holds the key to understanding the new ways to bring new business to your firm. The Industrial Economy practice that is known today as “selling” is on life support in the ICU, and it won’t survive in most areas of the economy. Here I’ll explain how profoundly things have shifted and how you can use this understanding to revitalize how you bring new business to your firm. I’ll close with how social business empowers this disruption.

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