Once upon a time, there was a person who went to the mall and bought the first thing that they saw. They didn’t put a lot of thought into it, didn’t go to many stores, and didn’t ask for the price of the product. They just chose the first thing they saw on the shelf and pulled out their debit card. That’s it. Thanks for the service, and goodbye. End of story.
How did that sound? Dreamy with a sprinkle of fairy-taley, right? Probably, because it is. It’s a fantasy, a fool’s game. Nobody makes a decision just like that.
I will take myself as an example. I am a person who thinks things through. In fact, I never make rushed decisions or buy stuff in the spur of the moment. A couple of days ago I went to the mall to buy a pair of new headphones. I went to this tech store, and I started to glare at the headphones section. They offered quite a selection, so I had a really tough time finding the right pair for me.
And I am an entrepreneur and a business consultant, so whenever I am making a choice, I calculate all the factors that play a role. First, the quality of the product. The name behind the product. Then the craftsmanship. The price. The design. The online reviews. I’m well aware that some people even consider the popularity of the product or the brand.
It’s a never-ending circle that we all find ourselves involuntarily into. There are many, many factors that influence the buyer’s choice in the B2C world. The case is no different in the B2B sphere as well. And if you are in the high-ticket B2B world, then things get even more complicated. I’ve seen that for myself so many times. That’s why,
For the sake of being helpful to the other high-ticket B2B service providers, I did a short review of what I’ve found to be the 3 most important key sales factors, based on my experience, of course.
1. Generalist vs. Specialist
There are both pros and cons to being either a generalist or specialist. Businesses that are generalists can do almost everything and serve almost everyone. The world is their target. On the other side of the spectrum are the specialists, the companies that niched. I strongly believe that being a specialist makes the whole sales cycle much easier compared to being a generalist. I know, I know. We shouldn’t make this kind of statement without providing the data. But take a moment and listen to my reasoning. When I started BizzBee almost a decade ago as a management consulting company, we were men for hire. We were being hired by anyone that could afford us, doing any service we were able to do.
And it was hard. One day we were doing spare elevators part research in Australia. The next day we were doing hydrophilic coating market research in the USA. At the same time, we were sourcing medical devices from China and were doing lead generation for several non-related clients from around the world.
We had no synergy. Each project was so unique, that we had to do everything from scratch. Except for the methodologies we had in place (how to do market research, product sourcing, business planning, etc.), everything else was different. We had to learn about each industry from scratch.
So, any service, on any market, on any industry – is as general as I can be. And it wasn’t just me. It was difficult for the employees as well. Frequently switching job tasks, they were unable to get deeper insights on a particular task.
As the years went by, patterns started emerging from the chaos. We’ve noticed that market research, business plan, are one-time projects. While B2B lead generation is an ongoing, never-ending one, providing us with the stability to grow.
So our first shift in the specialisation was to phase out everything that wasn’t related to lead generation. It helped us focus on B2B lead generation, but also provided us the time to start adding more depth to the service – we introduced a copywriter, LinkedIn outreach services, content creation, and many additional services that support the lead generation process.
And I can’t explain the stress-release by specialisation. This is what we do. We help B2B companies find leads. I could specialise the team to learn this particular skill set, as this is what we do.
So back to you. Can you precisely think of what it is that you do for your clients? Can you say that in one simple sentence? Ponder the answer, but do read on.
Since for me, this was not enough. Our next major shift in the specialisation was when we decided to focus on service providers (stopped working with products), and further focus on high-ticket service providers. These included business consultants, coaches, mentors, marketing/sales agencies, software development companies, SaaS, etc.
The B2B high-ticket service providers had a different need in the B2B lead generation process. When selling an expensive service, you shouldn’t cold pitch a prospect. You need a different angle, an angle that we specialise in.
At this stage, things started exploding for us. We became specialists. A very specific, highly-sophisticated service, that can help solve a very specific problem for our specific target audience.
And that helped our marketing effort as well. The entire website is talking to this target audience. The blog posts, newsletter, social media content – are all focused on B2B high-ticket service providers. Even my first book is written having the high-ticket service providers in mind.
Having a laser-focused, specialised approach, worked far better for us, than being a man for hire.
I am sure that this also depends on the nature of the business you are in – but ensure to spend some time and think about it. Who am I serving? What kind of unique needs does this market have that require additional specialisation? And are there some pain points that the competitors are not addressing specifically?
2. Pre-packaged solution vs. tailored services
Let’s start with my premise first and work up from there. I strongly believe that having a pre-packaged solution saves us a lot of headaches, compared to offering tailored services.
As I mentioned earlier, I started BizzBee as a service company. The services we offered were uniquely tailored and customised to the client’s needs and expectations.
We had clients who wanted market research but without the industry mapping. While others wanted a B2B database, but added a few specific columns that we should fill in tailored to their needs.
My main problem was the proposal. As each request is unique, you need to figure out a way to “estimate” the amount of work you need to invest. And you can be wrong. So much wrong.
Tailored services are often charged per hour or per day. Consultants charge depending on the time they invest in the project, not on the solution as a whole. Or, as we all know, time is money.
Looking from the sales aspect, it is quite easy to sell a fully customised service. Everyone wants a unique solution tailored especially to their needs.
And when it comes to selling tailored services, what you are selling is, in fact, the process. A uniquely tailored solution cannot guarantee results. It’s the first time you’re doing something like this. So even you – the service provider have to see how it works. Of course, you won’t do this blindly nor without thinking. You’ll run your tests first. But what you can do is guarantee the framework. The steps that will be undertaken under the service agreement.
Finally, I had a lot of cases where people didn’t know what type of services they needed. They had a problem, and a desired outcome. But had no idea which service or a mix of services is the right for them. I mean, if you want to grow your business, you need more clients or more leads. But you can get leads through LinkedIn, email outreach, social media activities, content creation, landing pages, webinars, etc. How would you know which mix of services is right for you?
The thing is, people don’t really want services. They want a solution to their problem.
A CEO of a company doesn’t hire consultants to do the market research. The CEOs are the ones to make the tough calls and in order to make the right decision, they require help from the consultant to do the market research.
Companies don’t need a website just for the sake of having it. They need a website that can convert potential prospects into customers.
When we launched our LinkedIn and growth outreach solution, things changed. As a solution, it has transparent pricing. Our clients can know exactly what’s included and what isn’t, the timeframe, and the expected results.
And driven from experience, when we opened our content creation agency, it was simple. We were not interested in offering separate services like social media posting, blog writing, newsletter creation, etc. Instead, we focused on offering a solution. We created 3 different price levels, targeting 3 different target groups. For each price level, we came up with a mix of services that we believe is the right fit to solve that particular need. So when we talk to a client, we try to understand which mix of services (or solution) would best solve their problem.
As you can see, creating solutions that solve a particular problem is much easier. Clients know what kind of results to expect, you know how much you should quote.
Another important aspect of offering a pre-packaged solution – the price is no longer per hour/day, but per solution. And this changes things – for everyone in the process.
Firstly, for the client. They know exactly how much it will cost them to use your solution, so they can solve their problem.
And secondly, for you. You are motivated to be as efficient as possible. Imagine it took you 10 days to provide a solution. What if you figure out a way to do the same in a day? When you are working at an hourly rate, you are de-motivated to be efficient. While this way, when offering a pre-packaged solution, you are proactively looking for ways to improve your offering, service and customer experience.
Ready to hear my final bold statement? I strongly believe that you should offer fair pricing for the value you provide. However, I’ve learned that higher prices attract better and more serious clients.
As you might imagine, this is the third sales insight I got from running my company. Like most entrepreneurs, when I started BizzBee, we started offering our services at the lowest price possible, just to get our portfolio up and running. We had more than our portfolio to work on – we also got our general experience as a company, too.
When your pricing is low, you are undercutting the competition, stealing more clients. But you are attracting the type of companies that always choose the cheapest service/solution.
And they follow similar habit patterns. Whenever a cheaper option comes, you will lose them as customers again. As they are focused just on cost reduction, it will be really hard to offer a more substantial solution, or any upsell to the service.
This means your focus as well, will be on reducing operational costs, rather than solving a problem. This business model works – there are plenty of low-budget companies that make a lot of money. They just need to serve a large volume of clients to be profitable.
However, just consider the alternative. You are creating a pre-packaged solution, and you are pricing it above the competition. Significantly higher.
You won’t get a lot of clients, as companies that search for cheaper offers will find it elsewhere. However, you will attract a different type of companies.
Companies that trust your expertise and expect results. Here you can focus on actually ensuring results, rather than cutting costs. And if you manage to provide results, you have long-term loyal clients. Clients that would be happy to buy other services from you.
And they treat you as an expert.
We make hundreds of decisions every day. Often we are unaware of this process. The thing is, most of the decisions we make are so trivial that we don’t even have to think about making them. But what about complex decisions? Like buying thousands of euros worth B2B service.
You must have noticed that some salespeople sell with facts and figures, while others try to prey on the buyer’s emotions. Some aim to find the perfect balance. The endless conflict between our heads and our hearts often results in us making our buying decisions. Understanding this struggle might be the key to convincing someone to buy from you. As the famous sales trainer, Zig Ziglar used to say, “People buy on emotion and justify on logic.” Yet, we have years of research ahead of us to figure out just how our remarkably complex human brain and emotions work.
That’s why we have to consider all the other variables that might potentially influence our sales rates. If you ask me, specialising in your services and target audience, offering pre-packaged solutions, and deciding on offering high-quality, high-ticket services will increase your chances of working with your ideal clients. As entrepreneurs and decision-makers, we have the power to take control over these 3 key factors that might impact our sales. It’s up to us to choose the right mix for our business. Even if we end up picking poorly, we can always reconsider our choices.
Danco is a serial entrepreneur, founder and CEO of BizzBee Solutions, proud father of a 3-year-old and a burger enthusiast. He is inspired by growth and goes above and beyond to make it possible – whether it comes to his 300+ clients or his people. Eager to learn more? Follow Danco on LinkedIn and Facebook.