In October 2017, the Aberdeen Group and PJ Advertising published a survey of over 250 B2B buyers spread over a variety of industries and company sizes. The goal was to find out what these buyers focus on when making a purchasing decision.
The results they received revealed insights into the buying process, where it gets hung up, and what B2B marketers can do about it.
The primary question was, “What do B2B buyers want?”
The answers shouldn’t surprise you. Cost of a product or service came up on top, closely followed by how the solution supports the company’s goals and a trackable Return on Investment (ROI).
Based on numerous past studies and surveys, the results would have ended there. But then they asked a question that wasn’t often included in the past:
What do you dislike or what are your biggest turnoffs when B2B vendors are selling a product or service?
Here are 5 responses that stood out:
- Talking too much about their own product or service — 27.5%
- Acting more like vendors than partners — 19.6%
- No objective information to help the client make an accurate decision — 18.5%
- Too transactional and don’t seem interested in a relationship — 18%
- Great sales experience, poor service experience afterwards — 10.1%
If you recall, one of the top answers to what buyers want is to have a solution that supports their company’s goals. The turnoffs listed above are a direct reflection of that solution not being met.
These same irritants also apply to our community of B2B copywriters. After all, we are B2B vendors for our prospects and clients.
So just as it’s important to know what they are looking for, it’s prudent to also know what turns them off and how to steer clear.
Here are a few suggestions to avoid being that copywriter they don’t want to work with.
Get to know your client or prospect
Not surprisingly, talking too much about yourself or your product (in this case, your writing services) is number one. We are all human and when talking to a prospect, it’s tempting to talk about ourselves and our business.
While it’s important to position yourself as an expert, doing research first can tell you what people are talking about not only in their industry but what’s happening with them as a company. Asking questions on that first call with them and truly listening to their answers, rather than ticking off boxes for services you can offer, may provide further insights. By listening and internalizing their challenges and needs, you’ll be in a much better position to truly help them.
It’s about more than the contract
If your conversations are all about making the sale (i.e., selling your writing and marketing services), you are a vendor. If you are only looking for projects that are “one and done” and don’t want to develop a relationship with your clients, that may be an approach that works for you.
But most businesses want to work with partners they know, like, and trust. They need to sense that you are invested in their success, not just in your own. You can do that by coming prepared and asking lots of questions. This indicates care and concern on your part for their issues. You’ll be in a better position to then be able to offer services that can alleviate those issues and meet their goals.
If you can be that partner they can depend on to work with them, rather than being just another vendor, it can lead to more projects and referrals.
Clients aren’t only looking for you to listen to their plans and tell them how your services can help. They don’t need someone to only tell them what they want to hear. They are also looking for guidance to decide how to tackle the issue at hand. And they are looking to you to help them make the best decisions for their business’ future.
Checking on what their competitors are doing right, using your own experiences, or just being able to look at their pain points from an outsider’s perspective. Presenting objective options or alternatives helps to give your clients clarity so they know how to move forward. And it can help to position you as a trusted information source.
How is your follow up?
Once you’ve signed the contract and received your deposit, do you meet your deadlines? Keep in touch throughout the process by asking questions and updating them on your progress? Listen to feedback without ego and send back revisions based on that feedback in a timely manner? And once the final check is received, do you keep in touch to find out how the project met expectations?
Hopefully the answer to these questions is YES. But if the answer to any of these questions is no, you could find yourself regarded as just a vendor rather than a trusted partner.
Our prospects and clients want valuable partnerships with a copywriter they can trust. One who takes the time to get to know them and work with them to make their business more successful. Like any relationship we cultivate, it takes effort to reach that point. But as you approach prospects with this goal in mind, you’ll quickly notice the benefits to your own business.
Are there any other items you can think of that would sink your relationship with a client and how to avoid them? Be sure to share them below!