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The Lost Art of Closing

Lesson 8 of 16

Selling to Businesses VS Consumers

Anthony Iannarino

The Lost Art of Closing

Anthony Iannarino

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Lesson Info

8. Selling to Businesses VS Consumers

Lesson Info

Selling to Businesses VS Consumers

There's differences between B2B and B2C, but they're not sometimes as much as we think they are. So there's still a set of commitments that go on it, but some of the differences are, when you're selling to a big company and it's B2B, you tend to have a lot of stakeholders. And I know Brent Adamson and Nick Toman from CEB, their new research is gonna show that the number is far higher than 6.8. It turns out that there's a lot of people that get to weigh in on decisions. In a B2C sale, when you're actually selling to a consumer, their might only be one. And if you're selling something where it's a husband and wife, you may have a spouse come in, and you may need consensus from two people there, or something like that. But you're still gonna have to have the commitment for time, and you're still gonna have to have the commitment to explore, and you're still gonna have to collaborate with a group of people, whatever it is. Whether it's one or six, all those commitments still tend to be tru...

e throughout the process, even though you may do it in a more compressed period of time. You may have a bunch of discovery meetings when you sell something complex. It's not unusual. If it's B2C and you're an artist, you may have one or two discovery meetings, because that's all that's necessary. But you're still gonna have to do that work. You still have to do it. You still have to have the conversation, no matter what. B2B tends to be big dollars, and B2C tends to be small dollars, but if you're here and you're creative and you're running a business this way, you may also be selling B2B, and even though what you sell might not seem like big dollars to some people in the room who sell multimillion dollars or tens of million dollar projects, but it could be big to the company that you're selling to. It could be a lot of money. I have one company I spoke to, and they sell something that costs $65,000, and that doesn't sound like a lot of money to some people, but to the people they're selling it to, it's a lot of money. It's a lot of money. So they have a tough time explaining that value. The drivers are maybe different. So in business we tend to have business drivers. We tend to need market share, or return on investment, or greater profit, or lower cost, or speed, or something else that we can measure that way. In B2C it tends to be more personal needs, and even though I think the personal needs bleed over into the business side very, very much, which is why I showed you certainty and variety and significance and growth and belongingness, I think those things still show up here, but I think when they're personal needs, they end up being so much more personal because you're working with just one or two stakeholders that want something. And then lastly, I think that there's a lot of things that are common. I still think people want to buy from somebody who knows more than they know, and who has a greater depth of experience. So that person is the trusted advisor. They are a peer. They do have answers to questions that the client's thinking of in their mind. And I do think people want a consultative approach, no matter what you do. Part of the experience where somebody's deciding whether they prefer to work with you or not is how you sell, and if you sell in a smarmy, pushy, self-oriented, high-pressure way, that's not good on either side of this. So I think for a lot of the creatives, you think, well, I want to be consultative, and I don't want to come off as a smarmy salesperson. We don't want to, either. We don't want to come up with that, either. We actually wanna come up and be consultative, too, because it doesn't serve us to be so self-oriented and pushy and smarmy, and all these things that salespeople were taught to do in the past. So there are differences, but the differences aren't so great that you don't have to go through all of the process. And this is what creatives need to understand most of all. You are going to have to get the commitment for time and the commitment to explore. You are gonna have to have a conversation about why someone should change and do something different, even though in many cases they're gonna come to you and already know what they want; they're gonna have some idea. But you can shape their thinking. You are gonna have to collaborate and design the solution, whatever that happens to be, and you are gonna have to get some consensus. You definitely have to talk about money; we got a whole section on that, cause it's so difficult for some people to talk about money, especially artists who tend to undervalue themselves. That tends to be the biggest challenge there. You do have to give people a proposal and something that they can say yes to, and you do have to resolve their concerns at the end before you ask. All of those things are still true. B2B or B2C, that approach tends to be right in both cases, even though you may shorten it up in time. You may end up having to do this in fewer meetings than we do it in in B2B. I'm saying B2B to this group in the audience cause they're mostly B2B. We tend to have a lot of meetings over a longer period of time. You're gonna have fewer meetings over a shorter period of time. So you just have to be aware of where you are in that process, and then you have to be able to work people through that. I was just gonna ask on the gift thing. So I remember back in the day when I was selling digital document productions, and I would bake Otis Spunkmeyer cookies, and I'd leave a little package, and I'd say, you know, and then I'd call back, say, did you get my delivery? And that's how we got in. Now obviously I don't that's gonna work for me today, but I noticed you had gifts in the cadence, and I wonder, is that something that is working that you're seeing in the market? I think that you can give people something of value, along a path, depending on who they are and what you're doing. But that can't be your strategy. My favorite story about this is when I was young and staffing, we'd won an account, and we owned the account, end to end; we had 100% of their business. They weren't going anywhere. We had great relationships. And our competitor decided that their strategy to displace us would be to bring all of the people at that company coffee and donuts every Friday. And so they would show up every day with boxes of donuts and coffee, and they would leave it for the managers there and the supervisors in this particular company. And this is sad, and it's 100% true. As soon as they left, the contact would call us and send us over to pick up all the donuts and the coffee, to bring it back to our staff. And so our competitor kept buying us donuts every week, and the client kept sending 'em over to us every single week, to give us the donuts that the competitor, because they thought that the value that they created was a gift, right? Like, we'll bring 'em donuts and we'll create a preference that way. And they weren't creating any value for that person or those people that way, and they had no chance of displacing us at that time. So if you think that that by itself is enough, this is why Challenger was written, was because it's the friendship. And I'll give you another story. I have a friend who was very successful selling a very, very difficult commodity to sell. I mean, literally, no differentiation at all; none. But he was a great salesperson, and what he learned is, I'll find out about you, I'll find out who your kids are, I'll buy your kids' bikes, which he did. (audience laughs) Yeah, it's New Jersey, so this kind of thing happens in New Jersey, that's all I can tell you. I will buy you tickets to football games and basketball games and baseball games; whatever you're into, I will take care of it for you. Dinners; I went to a dinner with him, and I watched him have a, this is New Jersey, remind you, so, I don't know how many martinis before he switched to wine, and that's what the table did. He did great, and then about five or six years ago, he came to me and said, my business is deteriorating. I'm doing everything I've always done, but it's not working any more. And what he missed is the part where, the economic value now matters as much, and companies started clamping down on gifts. I have a group that I speak to, and I sent them fudge, and they're like, that wasn't over $25.00, was it? I'm like, no; it was right in that area. But they can't take anything over $25.00 cause it's a bribe. And I'm like, you have that cheap, that you guys can be bribed for $25.00? (audience laughs) And they're like, not really, but that's the number that they put on it, so it's hard to take somebody, to even take 'em to lunch. But I had to explain to my friend, the world changed, and now economic value is greater than the friendship, and people are looking at these kinds of things and now it's difficult for you to do that. So we had to talk about creating greater value rather than showing up with bicycles or whatever he did. And so the game has changed. I think interspersed value, creation, value, creation, value, creation, something else that's more personal, great, value, creation, again, but I don't think that you can count on that to do as much, although I think if it's part of a longer campaign, that's a nice touch, cause it's human. Smurphy online says, I'd like to get my consumer product into retail stores, and I don't know what the retailers' mark-up's gonna be on the product. What would be the suggested kind of way forward with that, if you're dealing with somebody's gonna be selling your creative product on-- On their platform, yeah; so this is a creative product. There's a couple of things here I would tell you. I haven't personally done this, but I've had people ask me to do it, so I have some opinions about it. I think probably what you're gonna have to have is a conversation at the beginning of this to say, what would my product look like? What would the math look like? And I think this is probably the difficult part for a creator to say, how would we do this, and what would the business model look like for me? That's the first thing I would want to ask, is what's the business model for you? How do you make money? Because they're gonna take your product, you're right and they're gonna mark it up. So you're both gonna have to be comfortable with how much you make off of that and whether it's worth your time, and whether it's worth their time to do it. So I think you're gonna probably start the conversation with that first, only because you need to see if it makes sense. And I think that's probably gonna be more uncomfortable for a creator to go to that setting first and say, let's talk about the money. But I think you should talk about that. What does the business model look like? How do I help you? How much are you going to mark this up? Is it gonna be profitable for you? And can I do this at something that makes sense? And again, it's art, and I have, very, very strong feelings about art, but I think that you create value and you're entitled to capture some of it. And a lot of the things that I talked about with the dissenter mediation, like Fiverr, have decided to push you down and make you a commodity, and I think you should fight back against that, every way possible, and say this is differentiated, it's better, there's more care, there's greater value in this, so that you can actually sell that way. But I would go directly to the person that's gonna be purchasing this and have that conversation first; that's my best advice. Unnamed user asks, can you talk about the sequencing in your nurturing sequences? Do you manage this with a set funnel, or try to customize per client? You're gonna do both, unnamed question-asker. You're gonna try to do both. I think if you start a pursuit plan, and you've got dream clients, and you're starting to get to learn who they are and you know something about them, the more of those interactions inform this, so you can customize it for them. And you're gonna change the text on emails, you're gonna change some of the things that you send them, and especially if you know somebody; I mean, to take and print out the white paper that you want to send them, or the case study, and literally write, you don't need to read any parts, other than the parts that I highlighted. This is what I want you to know. It starts to get really personal. It starts to feel like a relationship. So you're probably gonna do both. You're gonna have some where you're getting really personal because you've had certain interactions. And then some, you don't know enough to be more than broad, to say these are the trends that are impacting them, so I'm gonna focus on that. But as you interact and you start to gain more information, you're gonna start to customize that, because a customization is gonna help you tremendously.

Class Description

To close or not to close, that is the question: Whether it’s smarter to use pushy tricks for the final ask or forgo the hard sell for a softer approach. For people who work in sales, figuring out the best way to close the deal is a real conundrum.

Best-selling author, speaker and entrepreneur Anthony Iannarino has come up with an innovative approach to closing that’s geared toward the new technological and social realities of our time.

Instead of looking at closing as the hardest part of the sales process, Iannarino shows how it can be the easiest. The key is to lead your customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall, including getting them to commit to investing in the process, building consensus and resolving concerns.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Identify and pursue your dream clients.
  • Call prospective clients without being smarmy, pushy or self-centered.
  • Uncover your prospects’ needs.
  • Present your proposal and solution.
  • Differentiate yourself in a crowded market.
  • Talk about money without fear.
  • Avoid weak language that lacks confidence.
  • Negotiate so you can capture a fair share of the value you create.
  • Ask for more business and referrals.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Anthony Iannarino Presentation

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Debbie Burney

I took an entire work day off to attend this online course. It was so worth it!. I've read Anthony's books, and I've been applying his methods and adopting the mindset of being "other-oriented," and my success is taking off in a big way. Just about everything in this session is in his books in some form, sometimes exactly, but seeing Anthony live and hearing the passion and commitment to practicing what is in the books was exciting, motivating, and sticky. The combination of reading the books, working through the workbooks, reading the blog, and now, seeing it all live is powerful stuff! I highly recommend dedicating a day for this class.

Joanna Avigail Nasierowska

Incredible course, loved it! Thank you, great advice, great understanding of sales process, sharp, quick, easy to understand negotiation & selling process.

Stephen Layman

Anthony Iannarino is an excellent teacher. I have seen the concepts and principles that he teaches ring true in and my experience in B2B sales with large creative projects. For anyone seeking to sharpen their sales technique I would highly recommend this class.