We spoke to Ryan Bott, Global Vice President of Revenue at Sodexo on the latest episode of The Insiders podcast. Ryan spoke to hosts Simon Hazeldine and Richard Lane about the impact of shifts in purchasing behaviour and the reduced windows that salespeople have to influence decision making, heightening the importance of a good first impression to improve consumer perception.

“They are making a judgement call the second they’re interacting with you and your brand. You as a person, your brand and every interaction has to be spot on.”

Don’t let people down

Ryan’s first piece of advice is to never delay or cancel a meeting. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a deal close when we had to reschedule”. Ryan refuses to leave a customer or client waiting for meetings. “Make sure that as a salesperson, you accept the meeting”. In Ryan’s view, if you can’t attend, then you ensure that someone else can, whether that is your peer, your boss, their boss or the CEO of the whole company.

The customer is judging the salesperson every time that they talk to them. A delayed or missed meeting can lead to the customer wondering if the salesperson does this to others. They will then begin to associate unreliability with the salesperson and the brand, jeopardising any chance of a sale.

What the customer experiences during the selling process is what they think it is going to be like to work with you. “If two of your people can’t even coordinate a diary, that doesn’t look like you’re very joined up”.

B2B customers with B2C consumer perceptions

Ryan highlighted that websites like Amazon give customers updates throughout the buying process. The speed and ease of B2C buying has created an expectation in purchasing in B2B. As everyone is used to buying online as a consumer it shapes what we want from our B2B suppliers as well.

Due to the merging of purchasing behaviours, it is increasingly the case that customer decision making is no longer reliant on price. As B2C consumers, we gravitate towards items with better reviews that will best meet our needs. Likewise, B2B buyers are willing to pay a higher price for a better customer experience. In fact, Ryan doesn’t accept price as a reason for losing a sale as he believes that if the customer experience is good enough then a customer can justify price.

Give customers what they want

During his appearance on the podcast, Ryan ultimately highlighted the importance of asking the customer what they want and tailoring the sales journey for them. The sales process is not as important as ensuring that the consumer perception of the brand is positive. As a salesperson, focusing on the customer experience is vital. “Make it easy, make it seamless, make it like clicking a button.”

Get in touch to see how durhamlane can help you to overcome your sales challenges. To hear more thought leadership in Sales and Marketing listen to The Insiders podcast here.

Let’s talk

We’re always open to hearing from ambitious organisations that are looking to scale but are unsure how. Get in touch to see how we can help overcome your sales challenges.