Every salesperson has felt that rush of adrenaline—and, let’s face it, dread—that comes when selling to a tough prospect in B2B sales. These prospects are pushy and sometimes even rude, making demands like, “What’ve you got for me? Let’s make this quick!”
But no matter how these customers make you feel initially, they often turn out to be some of your best prospects. Why? Because they tell you exactly what’s on their mind, and they won’t lead you on or waste your time.
By following these six steps, you can push through that initial feeling of fear when dealing with tough B2B customers—and close way more sales:
1. Meet face-to-face with tough prospects. Especially if you’re selling a high-end product or service that requires a serious investment, you absolutely must meet face-to-face with your prospects. Most salespeople try to close sales on the phone without ever meeting prospects in person. Instead, hop in your car—or on a plane, if necessary—and meet them face-to-face.
Meeting tough prospects in person will help you win them over, and increase your close rate many times over. To learn more about this powerful strategy, and other tips to help you dominate your sales competition, check out this article on 3 Crushing Mistakes Most Salespeople Make.
2. Clarify your value proposition. B2B sales can be lucrative and rewarding, but not if you fail to demonstrate your value up front. When you sit down with B2B customers, they’re only thinking one thing: “Is this person creating value for me?” If they decide the answer is “no,” you’re dead in the water.
Take the time to script out and memorize your value proposition. When a tough prospect asks you what you do, you absolutely must have a quick and well-rehearsed response. This way, you can demonstrate your value from the beginning.
3. Don’t back down from your premium pricing. Tough customers can make you want to lower your prices—but don’t! Low prices don’t attract quality prospects. In fact, low prices only attract customers who don’t understand or care about your value. Stick to your premium pricing with tough customers, and you’ll start closing more B2B sales. Plain and simple.
Check out this video to get more details:
4. Get customers to talk about their challenges. When you’re selling to tough prospects, talking about yourself is only going to land you in trouble. These customers have a lot on their minds, and they don’t have time to listen to you. Instead, get them talking about their challenges and goals.
Seek to understand your clients’ challenges and what’s going on in their world. Then show them how your service will solve their problems. Not only will this prepare you to address their needs, but it will also get them to be emotionally involved in the conversation—and likely diffuse any animosity they are showing toward you.
5. Be unemotional and firm. Tough prospects are a lot like schoolyard bullies—if they sense you’re scared or nervous, they’ll eat you for lunch. Next time you’re dealing with a tough prospect, show that you’re totally unfazed by this behavior. Don’t back down. Instead, hold unwaveringly to your script and stick to your approach.
If you show fear or frustration, you might just waste a potential opportunity. Instead, stay unemotional and stand firm when the prospect pushes back. If a client is still pushing you around after the first few minutes, it’s time to start matching the behavior. By rising to their level in tone, pace, and strength, you’ll diffuse their negative energy and retain control.
Watch this video to see exactly what I mean:
6. Offer 3-option proposals. Present an inexpensive option that will still solve your clients’ needs, a middle-of-the-road option, and a premium option way outside of their budget. This method will set the value for what you’re offering, and provide context that will reduce the customer’s need to price shop. You might be surprised to find the prospect actually goes for your premium option. Either way, this method will help you close more sales with tough B2B customers.
As the founder of Sales Strategy Academy, these strategies for closing more B2B sales have been central to growing my business. Have you ever used one of these techniques for closing tough customers in B2B sales? Which strategies will you apply in your next sales meeting? Share your experiences in the comments below.
Marc Wayshak is the founder of Sales Strategy Academy, best-selling author of Game Plan Selling, and a regular contributor for Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine and the Huffington Post Business section. He holds an MBA from the University of Oxford and a BA from Harvard University.