In a B2B environment, proactive selling, approaching prospective clients before they approach you, is a must. Getting it right means knowing when and how to go about taking active steps to make the sale or gain the contract. In essence, you have to be sure that the organisations you approach are already interested in what you have to offer, or you risk getting a name for invasive sales tactics.
Getting the balance just right can be tricky, but with a few helpful tips, you should be able to avoid the pitfalls while gaining sales you might otherwise have missed out on.
Tenders can land you very lucrative supply contracts. The tendering process can seem complex, but it doesn’t have to be and if you succeed, you can be sure of payment security. Keep an eye on the Contracts Finder portal. Before you tender, be sure that you can deliver as promised and that you are quoting prices that will be profitable for you without being so high that you get eliminated early in the selection process.
Move Up the Chain
In B2B selling, having contact with the people who decide specifications can be very helpful, especially if the products you offer are a little out of the ordinary or you can offer a significant advantage over your competitors. Quite often, the person or organisation specifying materials differs from the one that does the actual purchasing, so making this person or company aware of what you have to offer can mean a recommendation that gets you the sale.
Be Alert for Projects Soon to be Executed in Your Area
Industry publications and local news may feature upcoming projects that could be relevant to your business. Instead of sitting back and waiting to be asked for a quote, dig deeper to find out who is involved and make the approach. Be sure to communicate your reason for making contact clearly. A generic “bulk mail” will hit the bottom of the recycle bin without ever getting opened. However, writing to say that you’re aware of X project and that you believe your business can help with supply could result in favorable consideration.
Network and Attend or Organize Events
There’s nothing worse than missing out on a RFQ for the simple reason that people didn’t know your business even existed! Raise your profile by attending networking events. There’s no need to go in with a hard selling attitude, in fact, you shouldn’t. Just relax, mingle, and have some items ready to contribute to goodie bags if they’re offered to delegates. I used to love pens or desk calendars as goodie bag stuffers. Seeing your business’s name every day means you remain top-of-mind when your prospective clients need a business like yours.
Trade shows can be more fruitful than they seem on the surface. Many businesses attend with high hopes, and walk away feeling disappointed with the orders placed at the event. They’re missing the point which is quite simply to be there and be unforgettable. Do go all out with stand design, exchange contact details with visitors to your stand, and be sure to offer them a memento of sorts, even if it’s just a brochure or price list.
Even if you don’t make sales, getting contact details means that you can stay in touch. When you do, ensure that your communications are to the point and include valuable information. A contact is a sales prospect and therefore too valuable to risk losing.
Patience Wins Out
In proactive selling, you’ll never win them all. However, in the B2B context, you aren’t looking at petty cash purchases. If you only win over one out of a hundred contacts, you stand to gain significant revenue and a long-term client who, now that you’ve done the initial legwork and delivered on your promises, will always approach you first.