For years, “tell me about your business” was a standard question for B2B sales people. Unfortunately, that time-worn and trite question is no longer viable. Here’s why:

1.      Personalization – Understand that B2B buyers are consumers too. When they go to, say, what do they find? Amazon knows a lot about them. They know their purchase history, what they like and all their preferences. They expect the vendor to know about them and their business and won’t tolerate anything less.

2.      Know my business – Today’s B2B buyers want people to add value to their life and to their business. Showing up without a point of view and thoughts on their business is just wrong. The recent white paper from CSO Insights (“The Growing Buyer-Seller Gap” – available upon request) finds that today’s B2B buyers want sellers to add perspective to the conversation. They don’t have the patience to explain their business to a seller. In addition, trying to add perspective without any knowledge of the business issues is disconnected at best. Insight that doesn’t connect to what the prospect wants is useless dialog and a waste of time.

3.      Intelligent conversations- When I ask people what the most important characteristic anyone in sales can have, 90% say “Listening”. While listening is critical, no one has every made a sale just by listening. At some point you have to talk. And, when you talk, it has to be in the form of an intelligent conversation. Asking about their business is far from an intelligent conversation. Insightful question aimed at uncovering issues and concerns and then providing perspective and a point of view on those issues are key.

So, delete the question “Tell me about your business” from your standard list of questions. Do your research, come prepared and have an intelligent conversation!


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