Business-to-business (B2B): only approach businesses that are profitable. Businesses that are not performing cannot necessarily be assisted by your service or product (there are some exceptions, such as a business consultant who specializes in generating profits for other businesses).
Consider for a moment that business is largely psychological. In the world of business-to-business, you aren’t dealing with “entities” or robots. You are engaging people. People have emotions that trigger predictably irrational decision-making. The good news is we all do this. During my career as a nonprofit professional, I worked for one organization that was nearing the end of its cycle. Out of desperation to keep doors open and payroll current, we pursued funding disguised as proverbial life-jackets. We abandoned our strategic plan (actually, we never used one) and acted out of fear. We were so jaded from the stress of salvaging the organization that we wouldn’t have seen a window of opportunity if a bird flew through it.
You need to work with a business (owner) that has the resources, time, and desire to commit to growth and looks forward to utilizing your service or product to advance their bottom line. Let businesses that aren’t ready to use your service, but that you desire as a client, know that you have an interest in working with them when it makes sense (pun unintended).
Find commonality with your prospects. Instead of highlighting your differences; why your business stands out from the competition – you need to find commonality. Saying we’re the best because we do X and nobody does it, and you should hire us because you don’t understand X…just alienates you from and the other person. Deepen the connection by establishing a relationship built on trust. Show you’ve been in their shoes and give yourself permission to highlight your vulnerabilities as opportunities for strength and change.
LinkedIn is an essential tool for nurturing b2b relationships. Consider your audience and give special attention to the opening summary. Here are some tips we ran across.
If the success of your business is dependent on other businesses (as customers) then it makes sense that your best customer would be a successful business.
Businesses that are struggling indicate a mechanical issue that should be resolved by the business and the owner(s) before they consider taking on and paying for additional obligations. The premise is not to be critical of businesses that aren’t producing profit. The idea is to identify your “best-fitting” customers and discern from those that in this moment in time have not reached a stage appropriate for what you have to offer. You can revisit these businesses later after they have made some adjustments. Remember, it is a two-way street. Ideally, the interaction should be rewarding and enjoyable for both parties involved. And, if you have the dedication and some particular personal interest in the business, you can always offer to get involved in a more profound way.