It takes a good and a bad cop to sell in B2B

How come that sometimes our sales process starts well and then it gets worse and worse? And long and frozen and ‘non-closeable’? Because many times we confuse our clients and by confusing we lose their trust.

B2B sales is about trust: Your buyer is part of a bigger decision making unit/group (DMU) and he can lose credits in the eyes of his colleagues and bosses if he is not a good filter of suppliers. So you need to win his trust. He should either trust you or your company or your service or your product or all these in any possible priority order. And still many times we lose the trust of our lead. Why?

(Have you ever broken up with somebody? Do you remember how that significant other had lost your trust? Probably the loss of trust started by surprising you with a behavior that was different from his/her previous behavioral patterns.)

It is just the same in B2B sales. We lose trust and we lose the deal because we have to change our behavior during the sales process and that surprises our lead. We always start being nice (what else) but there is the moment when we have to start negotiating about price and other conditions. So we make the big mistake: we try to play the good cop and the bad cop on our own.

Don’t kill your deals! You are not Inspector Clouseau. Playing the good- and the bad cop alone is only funny in the movies but not in B2B sales:

This is why our bosses have been created: to be the ‘bad cop’…

He should be the one talking about pricing, limited discount possibilities and everything that could be interpreted as bad news by our prospects. This is how we can start nice and stay clean (this is how we can save our credits and build trust). And to do this, our boss shouldn’t even be there for most of the times. It is enough if he sends the ‘verdicts’ that we, the friendly messengers, deliver. (Of course it helps if the bad cop can present itself sometimes.)
“… but then the client won’t trust our boss and thus the product/service and/or our company!…” – some might say.
Well, according to my experience trust can be translated as predictability. And our boss, if he plays his part well, will always be predictably a ‘bad cop’: the too busy, always stressed out, negative guy. And it is so easy to accept the necessity of such entity in a deal as such people are all around at our clients’ organizations too.

So we can stay clean and nice during our sales processes and finally we can close our deals. All we need is to convince our boss to help us in sales by being the ‘bad cop’… (feel free to share this post with him right away!)