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Every Sale in Business is Personal

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I love it when people ask me

Will this work in a business-to-business (B2B) environment?

At the end of the day, you are a human being calling on another human being.

Okay, that human being is on the 57th floor of a major corporation...

and has three assistants...

oversees 6,000 people...

has an operating budget of $1 billion per year...

travels in a corporate jet...

and sits behind a desk bigger than your community swimming pool.

But every morning he wakes up with morning breath...

puts his pants on one leg at a time...

wishes he could get another 30 minutes of sleep...

feels guilty about leaving the house before the kids wake up and for missing their plays at school...

and he is still nagged—at some level—by the thought of someone in his past that told him he wouldn't amount to anything and that nagging voice–that voice of playground-recess past—haunts him and drives him to this day.

He's still driven by pride and even fear to prove those SOBs wrong.

Maybe it was a bully in elementary school that tripped him on the playground in front of everyone and they laughed at him.

Maybe it was some slutty cheerleader that stole her boyfriend in high school.

Maybe it was an arrogant teacher in college that her him she wasn't smart enough and should change majors or just go get married to a "man with money."

Maybe it was a sales rep in her first job that back-doored her and stole a deal that was rightfully hers, which kept her from earning the President's Club trip that year.

Maybe it was an unethical boss he worked for at his second company that fired him out of spite when he wouldn't lie to a customer just to make a sale the manager needed.

Maybe it's her competitor, whose office is on the 58th floor on the other side of town, who ripped her apart in a Wall Street Journal interview three years ago during a recall on their flagship product, essentially kicking her when she was down for all the world to see.

Oh, yeah.

In between all of these big meetings at big conference tables with big staffs...

he still checks ESPN to see how his team is doing...

he is talking smack to his college buddies about their Fantasy Football League...

she's sharing outfit ideas with her oldest daughter who is now raiding her closet and "borrowing" her clothes...

she's reviewing the upcoming WOD because when she's not in high heels she's crushing muscle-ups and power cleans while Metallica is played at Level 10!

(Or she's like my college buddy's wife who checks her Fantasy Football League and talks smack to me because she's a football encyclopedia and kicks all of our butts every stinkin' year...but I digress.)

We're all looking for more adventure or more fulfillment in our own lives, including big whigs at big and small companies.

Maybe they scratch that itch by training to climb a mountain or by buying a convertible or opening an orphanage in a 3rd world country.

But they all feel that tug.

And when it's 5 AM on a Monday morning or 10 PM on a Friday night or a lazy Sunday afternoon and that buyer/director/VP/CEO is alone at his computer—or has his assistant doing it for him—looking up solutions to scratch his itch, and they are browsing your website, perusing your LinkedIn profile, reading your blog posts, watching your Vimeo videos...that's a personal experience.

Yeah. Yeah.

You need the right logo and the right theme and the right images and you can't be too edgy or too irreverent or too "down home and personal"...but you need do need to allow more than a little of yourself to shine through.

No. NO!

Not more of that "rags to riches," emoting, open, transparent bullshit.

We've had enough of that to last 1,000 centuries. (Bring back the stoics! PLEASE.)

Why?

Because your competition DOESN'T have any of that.

They are bland.

Sterile.

Neutral.

Straddling both sides of the fence.

Middle of the road.

Corporate.

Non-offensive.

Non-committal.

Predictable.

And in so doing, they are forgettable.

When it's 5 AM and the fires of the day have not yet begun to burn and it's only your website and the nagging voices in your prospect's head, you need to connect at the "consumer-to-consumer" (C2C), "person-to-person" (P2P), "human-to-human" (H2H) level.

Because business...it's just personal.

Once you connect with the influencers as a human being, then you'll have an internal champion who will help you win over their sterile team.

That's when you can showcase your "B2B professionalism" and expertise, your full-color brochures, your "modern logo," and your snazzy presentation, you know, for the analytics in the room who need to see that stuff to rationalize their approval of what the boss already knows he wants.

Not only will you win more sales by following this path, you'll have more fun along the way.

Now go sell something.