Krauthammer

B2B selling in the U.S. - what you should know

25.05.2018

MK Publications HowsalesworksinUSA 180529 EN

Interview with Robert Nooney, Krauthammer Consultant USA

1. What is the main difference between B2B selling in Europe and the U.S.?

The main difference is that in the U.S. sales is marketing driven. The connection between marketing and sales in the U.S. are synonymous in that they hold about equal value in organisations, both have a seat at ‘the table’ As proof, Hubspot shows that in the U.S., the web conversion rate is 50% higher than in Europe.

2. How would you describe the purchasing style in the U.S.? 

Typically the purchasing process in the U.S. doesn’t begin with the decision maker. In a prospective situation, more often than not, we find that we deal with the ‘feelers’, those that do research to engage vendors, then pass information along to the stakeholders. The process can be quite long, with a significant amount of time dealing with sub-stakeholders long before you reach the decision maker. Once you have reached the decision maker, the process can increase in velocity depending on our value proposition.

3. How important is relationship building? 

Relationships are the name of the game in the U.S.. We have a saying that ‘more business is done on the golf course than in the office’. Simply stated, people buy from people they trust, especially personally. Quite often it takes a long time to build those relationships, and in the end, clients will spend more money for a product/ service with vendors they trust.   

4. What are key aspects of a successful B2B sales approach?

These three aspects are quite important:     

First: Rapport -Trust must be established. If not, nothing can or will happen.

Second: You must have a complete and clear understanding of the client's situation (risk analysis/ SWOT/ Pestl)

Third: You have to uncover all problems/issues that your product or service will solve for the client. 

5. What is the biggest no-no one could make in the U.S.?

There isn’t just one ‘must avoid’ or mistake you could make. Here are three which you shouldn't do:

1. Not selling the solution
People and companies buy things only in an attempt to solve a problem. Sales people spend too much time on the offer rather than assuring the buyer that the product, company and individual will solve the problem. This typically results in presentations that are too long and prices that are too low. Instead focus on how your product and the company can solve the three most critical problems your client is trying to solve.

2. Too dependent on the sales presentation, especially power point.
Sales people spend hours creating presentations and then become so dependent upon the slidepack that they are no longer aware of vital buying signals. You being present is more important than the presentation.


3. Not asking the hard questions

Sales people miss opportunities to build trust by not asking the hard questions. This either comes from naivety, fear, or a lack of proper training to communicate with the client. "What do you like about our competitor?", "Why would you do business with me when you have done it with our competitor for so long?" Have the courage to ask!

6. If you could share one top tip for ensuring success in B2B selling in the U.S., what would it be?

For me it would be building relationships. This is where most salespeople fall down. Orders are nice, but only in the short term. One small one off order is not going to help you or your business in the long run. Keeping customers coming back is the key to successful sales. Building a strong relationship is absolutely critical to the long-term success of any sales organisation. Promote loyalty; ensure your customers appreciate your knowledge and that they are treated with a level of service that will keep them coming back for more.

7. What should definitely not be forgotten when doing B2B sales in the U.S.?

Authenticity and trust are critical. While business is important, relationships are how business actually happens. You bring a hammer, you’ll get a bigger hammer in return. Americans in business are not averse to taking risks with someone they trust. However, it takes time to build those relationships and even more time to keep them. As I mentioned before, leave your sales arrogance at the door as it’s not well received.   

 

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