The B2B sales person’s tight rope walk

B2B, Sales

The sales person is the face of the company but she is also the interface of the customer. So while the company pays the salary, its the customer who gives the business, because of which the company earns revenue and can pay salaries.

So whose orders should the sales person take…..this is a very big dilemma. When I was young and new in sales , I actually ended up offending a few customers, because I literally took my boss’s orders on some issues.

Luckily I was able to salvage the situation and some of those customers gave me business for a long time after that. This situation could have happened with any sales person not only in B2B.

In B2B the challenges are that we are a looking at more than one person with whom you deal. In addition there’s long term business at stake because B2B buyers don’t change suppliers quickly. So if you offend one person, the news may spread and you may also lose business with the other buyers over time.

There’s another peculiar situation in B2B. You may be doing business with one buyer, let’s call him Sam. You may try to explore business with another buyer in the same company, let’s call him Tom. Now Tom is even willing to talk to you, but Sam wants you to route all your interactions through him and if you try bypassing him, he gets upset and holds your payment or other such issues.

You later find out that Tom and Sam are actually not on speaking terms and therefore Sam is penalizing you for talking with Tom.

This is a very delicate situation. You want to expand the business because that’s what your company and you want, but if you offend Sam you may actually even lose the business that you presently have.

If you think, I have an answer that can solve this problem for you….no I don’t. Each situation is different and has to be handled carefully, it really is a tight rope walk.

However one tool which I tell my team members to use is to “make me the bad guy” . Meaning for this situation, my team could tell Sam,’ you know my boss is such a jerk , he wants me to get the business from Tom at any cost, what do you think I should do’ . This works in a lot of situations for my team members because the sales person now earns sympathy of Sam.

See if this works for you and let me know. Also let me know in the comments below if you have come across some other things which have worked.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

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