How to Influence More B2B Buyers by Showing Your Expertise
One of the core skills of successful selling is how well you can influence buyers. When you have influence, the buyer is more open to your message, respects your advice, gives you access to key decision makers, and, ultimately, buys from you.
One technique you can use to build your influence with a buyer (especially with b2b buyers) is by demonstrating your expertise—i.e., the depth of understanding you bring to the sales conversation. By demonstrating expertise, you increase the buyer’s confidence that you'll be able to help solve their problem. The idea here is that you want the buyer to think, “Wow! This salesperson gets it.”
You can do this by discussing your unique knowledge about your products or highlight examples of how other buyers have solved similar problems with your solution. The best way for you to consistently demonstrate your expertise to buyers is to prepare for each sales call.
Good call preparation starts with doing pre-call research. Depending on the type and complexity of the sale, the amount of pre-call research you should do can vary greatly. For a typical B2B sales call, though, it’s not unreasonable for a sales professional to spend at least 30 minutes researching and preparing. Start by understanding what's going on at the account level. Here is a list of questions to kick-start your account specific research:
- Wey initiatives do they have?
- Recent news or events?
- What are major industry trends?
- Key competitors?
- What is the sales opportunity?
- How can my solution create value?
You also need to research the person(s) you'll be meeting including their level of influence, reporting relationships, and a realistic assessment of the strength of your relationships with key influencers and decision makers within the account.
Opening the Call
Now that you have done some research, you are ready to plan your call opener. The opening is not about selling, but rather leveraging your pre-call research or general industry knowledge to demonstrate your expertise. This will establish your credibility in the eyes of the buyer.
You can do this by talking about the buyer’s situation or concerns they may be having. Depending on what your research uncovers, you may reference specific buyer issues or trends in the buyer’s industry, including technology or regulatory changes. The aim of this is to indicate that you have an appreciation of the challenges faced by firms like the Buyer’s, and, by implication, some level of expertise.
Another way of signaling your expertise to the buyer is by asking a thought provoking question, such as “I noticed that many of your customers are big, national retailers. How is your company dealing with the rapid changes in the retailing industry?” Again, you'll need to use your pre-call research to develop an impactful question.
Your goal is to establish your expertise with the buyer quickly. This will help you earn the right to spend more time with the buyer and move further through the sales conversation. As the sales conversation moves forward, you can further demonstrate your expertise by discussing case studies, explaining best practices especially those supported by independent research, and so on.
When the buyer senses that you are an expert, they naturally have confidence in you. As you do you pre-call research, you should ask yourself what can you do to demonstrate expertise in your next sales call?
About David Jacoby
As a Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group, David helps large B2B sales organizations improve sales performance. Previously, David was a Principal at Linear Partners, a sales consulting firm providing sales strategy, sales operations, talent management, and interim management services to emerging growth companies. In the past, David has served as Vice President of Business Affairs of Xylo, Inc., where he was responsible for the Company's business development, sales operations, legal affairs, and financing activities.