Are you still transactional?


Don't be seduced into Transactional Selling

In B2B sales environments, being transactional leads to lower share of wallet, more objections, lower conversion rates and lower margins.  And yet, if I asked salespeople in B2B sales environments, most would say they focus on the relationship, on creating value.

But what happens when despite knowing better, we're lured into behaving transactionally?  Here are some common causes of transactional selling and what to do instead:

Cause #1: You need to make target
When you approach prospects like this, you'll reek of desperation.  It will change the way you "show up" in that conversation, and your whole behaviour will be about closing the sale and persuasion, rather than on what will create the most value for your customer.

How to fix:
Remember that as a salesperson, you need to be always on the look out for opportunity and ensuring that your forward pipeline has enough in it for you to reach your target.  By working this way first, you're ahead. 

  • Length of your sales cycle

  • Conversion rate

So, if your sales cycle is 3 months, your conversion rate is 30% and your annual target is $300,000, you need to ensure there is $225,000 in the forward pipeline at all times.  Keeping abreast of where opportunities are at in terms of readiness will help you stay on top of your targets proactively, and ensure you're engaging with clients and prospects at all different stages of readiness.  Your conversations are then free to be about discovering what the real need is and what value looks like per client.

Cause #2: The client has asked for a proposal
Big trap.  How many times has this happened and you've fallen into the trap of giving them exactly what they said they wanted only to then fall into the abyss of voicemail and non returned emails?

How to fix:
Stop yourself.
Ask questions: such as "Why us, why now?"  "Why do you think this will solve your problem?"  "What result are you looking for? Why?"  "Who else are you asking proposals from?" "What else is going on in the business? How does this impact on you?"
Digging a bit deeper will tell you whether you're making up the numbers, whether they've thought it through fully and actually have a budget allocated and a real need.

Cause #3: You smelt a sale
Sometimes it takes real discipline to keep building insight when you know there's a real need here, and the prospect or client really wants you to provide a quote for a solution!  When we detect a sale, we can sometimes just head right to proposal discussions.  But, when we do this, we run the very real risk that we'll leave opportunity on the table, and moreover, the solution we present won't address the whole problem.

How to fix:

Ask questions to determine the real need, cost of the need, business impact of not having it solved, decision making process, who will be impacted by your solution being implemented, who else they might be speaking with. Find out more.

Cause #4: The client has been loyal for years and is likely to just sign up again
Complacency.   Are you delivering value?  How do you know?  When was the last time you had this conversation with your client?

How to fix:

Conduct regular value delivered review sessions to articulate and measure the value your solution has provided so far.  Having regular conversations about value will help uncover areas that aren't working so you can address them in a timely manner, and uncover exactly how they measure that value, the difference it's made.

Cause #5: You're pushing a prospect into a meeting because you have to make target
Very similar to #1.  When it's about you and what you need to achieve, your behaviour reflects that.  If the client's needs aren't driving the conversation, you are absolutely being transactional.

How to fix:
See #1.  In addition though, stop and reset.  Make the meeting about the client.  Plan your conversation to uncover what matters to them.

Want to find out more?   Please email me at: to arrange an obligation free chat.

Tips from John Buchanan, Beyond 19, Coaching Practicing Lead:

  1. When you achieved your "PB" in terms of sales for the week, the month, the quarter, the year, what did you do?

  2. As the above 5 tips suggest, if you know your process to creating your "PB", then stick with it

  3. Always put yourself in best position to win, or to meet and exceed targets, by knowing exactly what is in your control that led to previous successes.

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