As you’ve probably heard by now, Siri will respond to the prompt…
One of the biggest myths in business is the supposed difference between business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C). I regularly hear this question during workshops and after speeches: “Joey, I loved your example, but do you have an example that is B2B? Or your example Y was amazing but do you have an example for B2C?”
The question is based on the premise that there’s a huge divide between the two approaches, a difference between these two environments. While plenty of consultants earn their living by exacerbating this alleged difference, the fact is whether you are B2B or B2C, the core of the conversation is that your business is H2H – human to human.
In the B2C world, everyone is pretty quick to acknowledge the wants, needs, and emotions of the consumer. Innovative packaging and design as an experience usually shows up in the B2C world. In the B2B world, we think we need to be more buttoned up, or more straight-laced, without stopping to acknowledge that the person we’re selling to is also a consumer.
They might be in business between 9-5 but they’re a consumer from 5-9. Not to mention the fact that they might be shopping on Amazon.com during work hours, so this fiction that they’re in a business mindset is exactly that, a fiction.
Because the B2B world has been seen as buttoned up for so many years, when you do come to the table with something that is a little more B2C in nature – cognizant of the emotional interaction or trying to create an experience – it’s so shocking to the system that the person in the B2B environment is blown away. It’s easier to move the dial in a B2B world than it is in a B2C world; most are competing on functionalities instead of looking at the unique experiences they can create.
When we shift to H2H thinking, it allows us to find more commonalities between the people on our side and the people on their side of the table. It allows us to take what we know about human nature and infuse it into our business operations. It allows us to meet our clients where they are in the human condition instead of trying to sterilize everything to the point of a one-way interaction.
When we think about an H2H interaction, we should recognise that the person we’re selling to is buying on behalf of their organization. That organization is comprised of people, and therefore our product or service is interacting with a lot of humans. Contrast this to the typical B2C environment, where we know we’ve loaned a shirt to a friend, but we usually don’t think about the friend’s use and experience of the shirt when we’re selling it to the person who is buying it.
In a B2B scenario, we should absolutely be thinking of all the people who aren’t involved in the conversation on sales, but will be using the service. This speaks greatly to proper onboarding in the Acclimation phase. The person we’ve had the sales conversations with isn’t going to be only person taking the product and using it. In fact, they may not be the person using it at all.
If we think with an H2H mindset, it allows us to acknowledge that the person we’re selling to is applying their own blueprint of the world to the purchase decision process. If we can do that, we can avoid missing the opportunity to make the signing client or purchaser feel special, take them out of the sterile B2B environment, and into the more acceptably emotional B2C environment.
Next time you find yourself in a conversation where people emphasize B2B or B2C, consider challenging the conversation and asking, “Aren’t we selling to people either way?” Take 15 minutes of the conversation and explore the humanity of the person you’re trying to sell to instead of their type.
Back in 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring…