On Thursday 10th March, Martyn Drake spoke for the West Midlands IoD, at their Winning Business Breakfast in the Executive Suites of Wolverhampton University Business School. Below is the IoD's write-up of the event, published in their Spring 2016 magazine.
In a fact-filled 45 minutes, Martyn educated and entertained an audience combining IoD members and business leaders linked to the school, taking them deep into the mind of the B2B buyer.
Using a fun and interactive combination of role-plays and questions, peppered with stories and experiences from a range of organisations and industries, Martyn illustrated the key steps to understanding and influencing buyers, and ultimately taking control of the buying process. Speaking afterwards, Martyn summarised the key points:
“There are three types of B2B buyer,” says Martyn, “The procurement manager, the professional buyer and the occasional buyer. Each one thinks differently.
“The procurement manager needs to satisfy their internal client whilst saving them enough money to justify their role. They want to commoditise what their client needs as much as possible to create competition. As a seller, that’s precisely what you don’t want. It’s rarely the procurement manager who actually makes the buying decision though, so your job is to bypass procurement, and to build your understanding and influence with their client.
“The professional buyer has much more control over the decision, but lives in a world of pressures and priorities that you don’t see. Their maturity and length of time in the job are also big factors in the way they behave, as are the culture and processes within their organisation. The more you understand these, and what those pressures mean for the buyer as a human being, the more help you can give, and the more influence you will gain.
“The occasional buyer is the one who needs your help most of all. The internet has changed sales forever. It used to be the seller who had all the information and did most of the talking. Now the buyer will research online, knows all about your products and has probably decided what they want before you even meet. Your job is to challenge their assumptions, to draw out what their real issues and priorities are, and find them a solution that will work far, far better for their needs. Asking questions that help the buyer and demonstrate your expert knowledge is critical, so if you’re talking more than 25% of the time, you’re not listening enough.”
In the extended Q&A, Martyn went on to explain the ‘three Cs of influencing’, why emotion always beats logic, what makes the ideal relationship, and how to plan for conflict and deal with extreme demands.
Feedback from attendees included:
"I spend my life working with clients to help them get finance for their businesses on the best possible terms. There was a real “light bulb” moment for me in Martyn’s presentation around the emotion of buying, when he talked about opening the demand jaws wider by probing the emotion with the client." Ian Priest, Independent Banking Consultants Ltd. and Chair of The Black Country IoD
"I very much enjoyed your session – both content and style. I feel I learnt a lot – particularly about how to see things somewhat differently when you’re selling." Stephen Mallaband, Counterpoint Courses Ltd.
"thank you for presenting a very informative and enjoyable seminar." April Pearson-Myatt, DRP Group