If you think you run a B2B, I regret to inform you, you are mistaken. There’s really no such thing. Now before you protest, I need you to answer two simple questions to verify if you truly are a B2B.
- Is your business an entity that has no person running it and no person building or developing products or services?
- Does your business have no person on the other end making the decision to purchase from you?
If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, congratulations! You must be operating on another plane or defying a law of physics that hasn’t been invented yet. If that’s the case, please get in touch with me right away; the National Enquirer pays quite handsomely for this type of story and I have my eye on a new pair of shoes…
While going through my Google+ stream yesterday, I noticed a short post from Stephan Hovnanian expressing a similar idea. It was as if he was reading the waterproof notepad I keep in my shower, which is very disturbing. Especially since he lives in another country. Here is his take on the subject:
On Doing Business…
People buy from people. Quality products and services from people/names we trust at affordable prices will win every day of the week. Nothing has changed about the way we do business in 100 years…what’s changed is the way business is done.Agree? Or did I get it backwards?
It’s as if the universe was jabbing me with a red-hot poker to blow apart the notion of B2B. The idea that business talks to business is damaging to your bottom line, especially for a little guy who doesn’t have the luxury of wasting time and money. Yes, some mammoth corporate entities act like they are devoid of any human qualities but that doesn’t mean you should look to them as an example. In reality, a corporation is merely a collection of people, a number of whom are actually manning social media accounts, albeit badly, but still, they are human.
A business is a construct that exists only on paper, and sometimes not even that. A business does not feel emotion, nor does it decide which accounting software to use. A business does not “Like” a Facebook page nor does it follow Seth Godin on Twitter. A business does not get out it’s favourite pen to sign a contract nor solve a customer complaint by e-mail. These are all things done by people who hide behind logos and WordPress websites but who are still people at the end of the day. People who read books to their kids, walk their dogs, update the operating system on their phones and watch Breaking Bad with a pint of beer.
This is who you are marketing to; a real person with needs, feelings, habits, hangups and an iTunes account. If you think a business is making a decision to purchase your product or service, you are talking to the wrong entity. In addition, if you are communicating to your market as if you are an inanimate object, well, you are probably not getting the response you want because you sound like a robot.
Imagine that you are a person who runs a small business and are in need of a product to solve a painful and persistent problem. Actually, you don’t have to imagine that, it’s likely your daily reality. Do you send your business out to research a solution? Of course not, you ask a real person to do the research for you, or you do it yourself. Even though you’re making a decision that will benefit your business, it ultimately benefits you. The decision you make will help you increase your income, or reduce the number of hours you have to work, or it will make your life easier. The same goes for the people out there who want what you have to offer. Even if they are a middle manager, tucked away in a cubicle on the 7th floor, they are still a human being and all the rules of appealing to real people apply here. Yes, sometimes you have to communicate to a board or a committee or some other multi-person panel that feels like an organism from outer-space but it’s still a collection of people, not a server room full of machines.
You don’t need to remember any complex formula to put this concept into practice. Just shift your thinking away from B2B and replace it with P2P – People to People. That’s the perspective you want to have when you design and write your communication materials. Or, when you hire another person to design and write them for you.
This is how you convince people to buy what you’re selling – by talking to them and not their business.