Business-to-business sales and advertising should be treated no differently than business-to-consumer. Why?
The products and services we sell to businesses as compared to consumers are not the
issue here. The issue is the common denominator: the decision maker. The decision makers in all matters of buying are people.
Effective presentations must use benefit-rich words in written copy and speech
Benefit-rich presentations, whether with the written word or spoken is the #1 most important emotional trigger to keep in mind when crafting and delivering a sales message. For B-to-B sales, the motivating factors generally revolve around generating more sales, increasing profit margins, or becoming more efficient.
Features are important but pale in comparison to the importance of benefits. Benefits touch the imagination, the emotions and create motivation.
Remember this when crafting a sales message: “Features tell, benefits SELL”. Resist a bullet list of features until you have brainstormed a list of benefits.
Here’s a good idea for how to find more benefits within the benefits of your product: list the benefits of your benefits! What’s that mean? Here’s an example: Instead of saying, “I sell search engine optimization services which helps websites become more visible to people who are looking for a business like yours.”, I should say, “I make your website better so more website visitors become customers.” That was a benefit-statement. “…and more customers from coming in for your website reduces your client acquisition costs to almost zero.” That’s the benefit of the benefit. “…and the money you will save on commissions will pay for your kids’ college tuition.” That’s the benefit of the benefit of the benefit!
Buyers are motivated by fear-avoiding danger is a benefit
Buyers for businesses are motivated by fear. Steering them away from danger is another benefit. It’s generally not the first point to leverage in your pitch but it can be. IBM, for example used this strategy effectively for many years back when they were the dominant player in computers and business equipment. “No one ever got fired for specifying IBM.”
This was an effective sales message back in the 1970’s, way before consumers were buying anything stamped with the IBM label. This is a clear example of how an advertising message was delivered on an emotional level to a buyer or purchasing department. In addition to delivering a message to job security, it also delivered another message: “Our price is higher but don’t let that bother you”.
Purchasing agents are people. Purchasing departments are made up of people. People are motivated by the same things: WIIFM, “What’s in it for me?” Approach all sales and marketing from the standpoint of emphasizing the benefits from every angle you possibly can in every sales.
Features tell-Benefits sell!