Once you’ve decided you want a career in sales you need to choose whether you’re more suited to work in B2B or B2C sales. I started sales right out of college, making in-home sales of mini blinds, or window coverings, as we called them in the industry. I was knocking on doors in new neighborhoods looking for leads, lugging around books with samples of window coverings, and then coming back to install the very blinds I sold.
But in all reality, I got my start even younger than that. Sometime around the sixth grade, I bought 300 slim-jims at a discount and sold them during the school lunch hour. You either have it in your or you don’t. And I did – I liked the game, and all my friends enjoyed slim-jims.
In business to consumer sales, the process is more simplified. If the consumer likes the service or product you are offering and finds the price reasonable, they can purchase.
Business to business is a higher level of sales in that there are far more stakeholders in the buying decision, and the deals are for more significant dollar amounts. There are gatekeepers, office managers, assistants, and the general business of the workday, keeping you from your prospects. Sometimes just arranging a meeting feels like a win. In that regard, I always felt that there was a sale before the sale. You need to sell a prospect on the idea that meeting with you is a good use of their precious time. Only after that success does one get the chance the engage.
The other compelling aspect of B2B sales, particularly Medical Sales, which I was in, is that the person buying the product is not necessarily the person using it or paying for it. A doctor may decide to utilize the product you sell, but the patient is the beneficiary of the technology, and their insurance pays for it. These variables make for a more complex sale.
There is also more liability in B2B sales compared to B2C sales. What if the doctor in the scenario above uses your new product, yet the patient has a poor outcome. Now the doctor has to answer to the patient, potentially his or her employer, and possibly a licensing board. In B2B sales, customers are more resistant to change due to various factors – including the red tape and the liability. These factors tie back to my previous post – no one wants to be sold!! However, if the value that you provide justifies working through the challenges mentioned above, everyone wins.