In a study conducted by CEB (Corporate Executive Board) of 6,000 B2B businesses across multiple industries, they identified five types of sales consultants. Which type of salesperson best fits the needs of B2B customers?

  • The Hard Worker is always willing to go the extra mile, doesn’t give up easily, and is self-motivated.
  • The Problem Solver is detail-oriented, addresses service issues quickly, and places importance on post-sales follow through.
  • The Relationship Builder doesn’t want to appear pushy, focuses on customer needs, and is generous with his or her time.
  • The Lone Wolf is a salesperson who is self-assured, difficult to control, and follows his or her instincts.
  • The Challenger always has a different view of the world, understands the customer’s business, and loves to debate. — Forbes–Leadership Forum

Which Type of Consultant Showed the Most Success with B2B Customers?

It was the challenger. Are you surprised? I was. Until I read the article and thought about. In 2013 we touched on this topic with this post, Telling your customers no, but we didn’t take it far enough. It’s not only telling B2B customers no, it’s challenging a client to say yes to something they may not have considered, which will help them.

First and foremost a B2B Consultant needs to be a teacher – For a salesperson to be able to effectively teach they must know their product and their B2B customer as well as how they complement each other. Teachers solve problems, create solutions, and show the way.

When a customer has it all wrong – When a B2B customer is making a mistake, it’s up to a professional consultant to convince them it’s not in their best interest and show them a better way. Unfortunately, too many salespeople take the easy road and let the customer make the mistake as long as they get the order.

Change the customers thinking – Businesses get stuck in, “That’s the way we’ve always done it” mode. It’s the task of a B2B Sales Consultant to rock the boat and show organizations how they can benefit from a different perspective.

Create Buy in – For any initiative to be successful, the majority of the team must believe in the project. Regardless of how good a strategy is, if the team isn’t behind it—it will fail. A top B2B Consultant finds a way to promote his or her vision to the entire team not only the C-level staff.

Focused on the benefits – B2B Consultants should be focused on the client outcome. How will it help them, what advantages does it give them over the competition, how will it improve their culture? He or she shouldn’t be focused on the sale for the sake of the sale, but for how it will benefit the customer.

What Type of Consultant are you?  

Over the years I’ve heard salespeople say the following:

  •  “I can’t believe they bought that!”
  • “Wanna know what’s important? I made $$$$$ on that deal.”
  • “It’s not gonna work, but it’s what they wanted.”

Shouldn’t they be saying?

  • “This plan is going to take them to a new level.”
  • “It wasn’t easy, but I convinced them to do what was best for them in the long run.”
  • “I held a seminar with the entire staff, and they’re on board with the action.”

Are you Ready for the Challenge?

Are you willing to tell your customer what’s best for them, show them product and service possibilities they’ve missed, and lead their team to new levels? Serving your customers is the best way to build relationships. What do you think leaves a more lasting impression and larger impact – a day of golf or helping the bottom line? Don’t get me wrong—nothing wrong with the day of golf, it may help you find ways to help, but if you’re not challenging your customer to be better—it’s an empty gesture.