One question that I get asked pretty regularly is, “How can we talk about the value of a ticket when we are selling business-to-business?”
There isn’t a straightforward answer because all decisions end up being emotional decisions.
Where this question trips up many salespeople is that the answer isn’t always scalable and the answer definitely doesn’t sit still.
Knowing that the answer is going to always be changing and that creativity is the key to keeping your offering fresh in your customers’ minds, here are some ideas to help focus your B2B efforts:
Know that value comes in two forms:
Tangible versus intangible.
The emotional versus the logical.
When working to sell B2B in sports, you must rely on both parts of the equation to help give yourself the greatest opportunity to be successful.
Fact: all buying decisions are made with emotion and they are justified with logic.
This means that you need to paint a picture of how your premium seating or your tickets will help improve the lives of your prospects and customers.
You do this by uncovering the “why” behind the customers need.
In my time working with Fortune 500 companies in NYC on their ticketing needs, I like to say I never once sold a ticket, but I sold a lot of opportunities and experiences.
This mindset is what you need to take with you when you sell to the B2B market.
You have to figure out what your client needs or hopes to achieve by taking a prospect to a game.
Is it opening a new business relationship?
Is it pushing a sale over the finish line?
Whatever it is, these are emotional situations.
Use those to paint a picture of how your team and your venue can help your client achieve their goal.
Then you justify with logic by sharing case studies, observations, and insights built around your knowledge of the market, the economy, and the typical needs of that person’s industry.
Impact over activity:
On many sales floors, activity can still be an easy indicator of whether or not someone is working hard.
The number of calls made.
Minutes on the phone.
Depending on your organization, the list could go on a lot longer.
All of these activities share one thing in common, they are meaningless without context.
A key question that any sales manager should be asking themselves as they look to measure the productivity of their staff is “Why are we measuring this?”
If the answer comes back as something along the lines of, “We’ve always done it this way!” It is time to change.
When you are working on selling to the B2B buyer, you have to think impact first, last, and always.
As we have gained more and more tools that help us identify prospects in organizations big and small, so have our competitors.
This makes the likelihood of other salespeople reaching out and targeting our prospects a certainty, increasing the noise that our prospects must filter through before they have made the decision whether to meet with someone or what to investigate.
That makes the need to focus on differentiation and impact vital.
Without some sort of differentiation and impact, we likely stand little or no chance of gaining the commitments necessary to make a sale.
In his new book, Eat Their Lunch, Anthony Iannarino talks about salespeople needing to enter the conversation at Level 4. Which means that you need to lead with strategic insights that will help advance your prospects’ business.
This is exactly what I mean by focusing on impact over activity.
Instead of leading with a pitch, lead with value, insight.
This could come in the form of research you do about the market, about the company, about the industry, or about the ways that other organizations use their tickets to create value and opportunities.
Whatever it is, make certain that your first contact with a prospect is more meaningful than an ask for a conversation or a purchase built on the fact that you know they like sports.
Be Their Guide:
I mentioned that I recently bought a new car and like a lot of people, I was absolutely certain of everything I wanted with the new car.
Until I took the car for a test drive and had a really great salesperson that educated me on a couple of options that I had logically dismissed.
These options added an additional $5,000 to the purchase price of the car.
I use this example because we often can feel like our prospects know exactly what they want.
I mean, they tell us they know exactly what they want.
The truth is that in most cases, we are very bad at diagnosing what we really want or need. Not because we are dumb, but because we are too close to the situation.
This is why a great salesperson is invaluable, they add value by helping make sure that the customer is making the right decision about how to invest and about how to use their purchase.
In the world of sports sales, we need to emphasize that more because in most cases, what is being offered is much more than just a ticket to the game and a few cushioned seats with some food and drink.
What is on offer is an experience.
What is on offer can be an opportunity.
And, in many cases, what is on offer can be customized to make certain that you help your clients achieve their goals.
The only thing standing in the way is making sure you are asking the right questions and taking the right steps to guide your prospects instead of just taking their orders.
These are just three ideas, but they might be useful in helping rethink your B2B sales strategy.
What are some of the things you do in B2B selling?