Most everyone has heard in some way, shape or form that sales is a numbers game. This is absolutely true, but there is a lot of conventional wisdom surrounding the number of contacts needed in order to hit a specific sales goal. I have come to discover that quality will always trump quantity regarding lead generation and prospecting. I promise you that more production can be generated, with less effort, from a fewer number of leads. The one caveat is that it takes up front time and effort to get the machine built and running on auto pilot. The machine that I’m referring to is Business to Business (B2B) Prospecting.
Before I define B2B Prospecting and it’s relationship with sales, I want to give a big shout out to Chris, the individual who introduced me to this philosophy that changed both my professional and personal life forever. I met Chris three years ago at a sales training seminar in Las Vegas. He went into depth about his B2B prospecting system that he uses to crush his tree service business at www.treeservicehenderson.com in Henderson, Nevada.
What is Business to Business Prospecting?
It’s a two way street. B2B is a non-enforceable yet documented agreement between two business leaders who strive to expand each other’s reach for opportunity and clientele.
The relationship between two business owners must be reciprocal for B2B to work. If one business sends referrals and clients to another business, yet never receives any in return, then B2B is not being utilized.
The idea behind B2B is that if you build relationships with businesses and business owners that you want to do business with, or would recommend others to do business with, then those businesses and business owners will want to help you grow your business.
This concept isn’t by any means an astounding revelation, but it is extremely effective and powerful when done intentionally and consistently.
So this all sounds great and all, but I know you’re asking yourself “Well, how does this benefit me as a business owner and what does it have to do with selling?”
Most business owners have a database with hundreds or thousands of people and their contact information. Usually business owners don’t personally know a majority of their contacts, but the more contacts they have the more robust they believe their database to be. There is a major flaw with this logic and it is very short sided. This database does not position the business owner to do repeat business with any of their clients. It doesn’t ensure business owners will even be able to do initial business with prospective clients. The reason comes back to Quality vs. Quantity.
If all I care about is How Many contacts I have in my database then I am not primarily concerned with who my contacts actually are as people, business owners or otherwise. If I demonstrate that I don’t care about people, whether intentionally or inadvertently, then I can’t expect them to care about me or my business doing well.
On the other hand, if you take extreme caution to build strong and meaningful relationships with business owners that you respect and trust then you put yourself in the position to receive referrals, do repeat business, and establish a stellar reputation.
My mentor and friend, Chris, (who I referenced above), has just about 250 total contacts in his database. He vetted everyone of them, has a personal relationship and consistently keeps in contact with them. Those 250 contacts do all the heavy lifting by referring Chris new business every week. It has got to the point where marketing and advertising is an option. He grosses over one million dollars a year through referrals. Not too shabby.
So, now that the benefits of B2B are clear, what about selling?
Let me answer that question with an awesome quote from Samuel L Jackson.
“So stop being lazy, unoriginal and impersonal. Stop selling and start being cool.”
This is what B2B is all about. There are no gimmicks, scripts or pitches. People want to do business with those that they enjoy being around and have a personal connection with. They also want to know that you want to help them and their business. It’s all about authenticity.
This type of prospecting takes longer, but will pay dividends over and over again. Before you pick up the phone to do some cold calling, blast out mass emails, or pay for online advertising, start with people you already know and have established a relationship with. These people will go out of their way to introduce your business owners or vendors they know and support.
Just remember that consistency is key. Business to Business Prospecting is very simple, yet it can be very tedious and mundane. These are the two major reasons that business owners choose not to crush it and make life more simple.
There you have it. This is the holy grail of lead generation and prospecting. You now know the secret, but whether you choose to act upon it is completely up to you.