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How to Sell Business to Business

Selling in today's economic climate is tougher than it has been in decades. Even if you are selling to a business instead of the general public, you have to adjust your thinking, attitude, and technique. Here are six things to help make that sale.

1. Adjust to the customer. Too often, what the customer buys does not exactly fill their need. They have to settle on the closest product that fills their need. It is not a perfect fit. Do not let this happen to your customer. You are asking the customer to buy something they need, so you have to adjust to fill the customers need.

2. Do not forget old school … networking. Volunteer on boards, such as the local zoo or philharmonic. Get to know the power hitters around you. When they need a service or product, they will already have an inside person … you.

3. Remember to be nice to the customer and keep business and personal lives separate. If you see a customer at a non business activity, like a festival, sporting event, or school play, do not bring up business. Remember they have home time to spend with their family and that is what they are doing. Be nice and respect that personal time.

4. Do not be wonderful. Be sincere with the opening congenial comment, but also be aggressive with your sales tactics.

5. Know your customer. If your customer has a contract with a particular company, know when that contract expires. A year before the current contract expires, start working on a presentation to the customer. The customer will want to sign a contract before the current contract expires, and you will have to pitch yourself in time. Give yourself time to learn about the client's needs and wants, develop your plan, and present your plan well before the customer can sign another contract with the current supplier.

6. Know the customer again. Learn things about the customer they do not know. Learn how much time they spend doing something, how they do it, and find ways for the customer to do it faster and more efficient. Inefficiency wastes time, and time is money. Everyone is trying to save money and the customer will remember you if you help them to save money.

People are their own worst critics. You have an advantage if you are not selling to the public, but instead to another business. And like your business, other businesses are there to make money. Ask yourself if you would by yourself, and if not, change your approach.