Ahhhh Closing – a topic favored by most sales leaders across the world. But what does closing actually mean when developing business in the B2B space?

First, let us distinguish the difference between closing in B2C and in B2B.

Businesses that sell directly to consumers have a much faster closing process. The consumer often makes emotional decisions and the transaction is instant. The opportunity cost of the investment is very minimal as the consequences of buying a terrible product are mostly personal. And lastly, the transaction is typically of little monetary value.

On the flip side, businesses that sell to other business (B2B), have a much longer selling cycle. Contrary to B2C, selling to other businesses resembles relationship building. You do not marry your partner after a first date. The consequences of a bad investment decision typically affects other stakeholders. In light of this, various stakeholders in an organization need to sign off on a purchase, which takes time for them to convene and agree. And lastly, the sale is typically of larger monetary value.

For these reasons alone, an expert in transactional sales (B2C) might have a hard time closing business in relationship sales (B2B).

Now that we have touched up on the difference between B2B and B2C sales cycles and their nature, let us look at why your sales team is most probably not closing deals.

We need to redefine what closing means. As we have already stated that B2B sales are relational – we must treat them as that.

Each touch point with a prospect represents a next step in the relationship building process. For a meeting with a prospect to be successful, or closed, there need not to be a signature on a piece of paper.

In fact, we just need a scheduled next step; a follow up meeting booked on both parties’ calendars. In between these meetings, both parties need to make commitments to each other – this can be a commitment to invite other stakeholders to the next meeting or drafting a preliminary proposal. Now, not only has the prospect invested time by sitting with us on the call but we will also invest actions ahead of the next meeting.

Fun fact:

  • It takes an average of 7 sales calls to sign a prospect after a first meeting.
  • It takes an average of 5 touchpoints to get an initial meeting.

Keeping in mind these fun facts, we should not be disappointed that our relationship building efforts is taking time. In fact, the first meeting will typically imply that we have most probably another 6 meetings with the prospect to uncover more needs, address more concerns and close the deal.

I’ll tell you what I tell my clients.

The first meeting is a blind date. From there, if all goes well, you have a second date to confirm you are right for each other, a third date where you probably start meeting the parents (just kidding)… all the way through 7; an eventual agreement for a official relationship.

Now, get your team and start building relationships!