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The 4 Levels of B2B Selling

The way that you sell determines whether another business will buy from you.


When it comes to selling to businesses, there are four levels, three of which usually fail and one of which always works.  Here they are:

1. Selling your company.

You attempt to convince the customer to do business with you because your company's management is so smart, based upon executives biographies and the business successes they've had in the past.  The customer thinks: "Gee, these guys are full of themselves."

2. Selling your products.

You attempt to convince the customer to buy your products because they have valuable features and functions that are obviously superior to the features and functions available from your competitors.  The customer thinks: "Hmmm..., what does that mean to me?"

3. Selling a solution.

You work with the customer to uncover and clarify problems. You then propose a customized solution that can solve those problems, based upon the products and services you provide.  The customer thinks: "Okay, but why is this a priority right now?"

4. Selling results.

You show the customer how you can help them achieve their financial or market growth goals by making them better able to sell to, and provide support for, their own customers and potential customers.  The customer thinks: "Great! How soon until we start?"

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Last updated: Aug 1, 2013

GEOFFREY JAMES did a lot of business stuff and wrote a slew of articles and books. Now he writes this column. Preorder his new book, Business Without the Bullsh*t, by May 12 and get an exclusive bonus chapter and a signed bookplate.

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