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B2B vs B2C Selling - Differences & Similarities

Hello everyone,

I'm curious to know if anybody has any thoughts on comparisons of business-to-business selling to selling to consumers. What do you see as similarities and differences between these two types of selling?

(Let's leave out of the discussion simple retail purchases that don't utilize salespeople in the buying process). - by Skip Anderson
I'm curious to know if anybody has any thoughts on comparisons of business-to-business selling to selling to consumers. What do you see as similarities and differences between these two types of selling?

(Let's leave out of the discussion simple retail purchases that don't utilize salespeople in the buying process).
From my limited experience with B2B selling I would say the similarities are that you're still covering the same sales steps (decision makers, budgets, timelines, needs analysis/development, presentations, delivery, etc.) and the differences are that the sales steps in B2B selling can be more involved or complex. - by SpeedRacer
In both B2B and B2C sales, both buying parties are still using logic to justify an emotional buying decision that they made to address some need or pain.

I think one of the biggest differences with B2B sales is you are dealing with OPM (Other People's Money) - people's buying processes are slightly different when the buy decision doesn't impact their personal checking account.

Eric - by Eric Count5
I think one of the biggest differences with B2B sales is you are dealing with OPM (Other People's Money) - people's buying processes are slightly different when the buy decision doesn't impact their personal checking account.

Eric
Excellent point about OPM, Eric. I'd be interested in hearing more about how you think the buying processes are different because of the "other people's money" issue. - by Skip Anderson
...the differences are that the sales steps in B2B selling can be more involved or complex.
Thanks, Speed. I'd like to hear more about how B2B selling is more involved and/or complex. If you have specifics or examples, I'm interested in learning more. - by Skip Anderson
Thanks, Speed. I'd like to hear more about how B2B selling is more involved and/or complex. If you have specifics or examples, I'm interested in learning more.
I would say the B2B selling is more involved or complex because of the systems involved. More people, more guidelines, etc. You might sell a car to an invididual on the spot but selling to a company will probably take a lot longer unless the decision process (stakeholders, authority, budget, etc.) is similar. - by SpeedRacer
I have hired a lot of people, who had experience in B2C, for positions in B2B, and vice versa.

Very few had any problem adapting to either. - by JacquesWerth
Many of the people I work with don't have to find prospects (they are in-home salespeople, showroom or retail salespeople), but have to establish a relationship quickly. Many sell in "one-call close". This seems quite different to me than the typical B2B salesperson who has to prospect for his/her own selling opportunities. - by Skip Anderson
after 25yrs.in sales b2b and b2c,sales is sales.know your product,treat them(your prospect)with respect,look them in the eye and ask for the sale till they say yes.sales can be tough sometimes,if it was easy,they'd call it buying. - by easyrider1
In B2C, there really aren't complex political situations to accommodate. As well, there aren't real buying processes which must be followed (ie. RFI > RFP > tender, etc.).

Many B2B accounts are public companies which can complicate (or simplify) the ROI formula. Having involved shareholders can be a nuisance.

The "layers" between the street and decision-making in B2B can be impossible to penetrate.

When Legal needs to be involved, it always creates issues which both complicate and extend the selling cycle.

Head office decision-making frustrates B2B SRs in the remote locations.

Where marketing consumers attempts to accommodate regional differences (eg. language), in B2B selling a national account might insist on these differences being accommodated. If the account is global, this can add months to the selling cycle.

Theoretically, in B2C you can sell to anyone who responds. Whereas in B2B, most of the employees in the account are not capable of getting involved in the purchasing process.

There are probably more but that's a good top-of-mind ...

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
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