“B2B” is an Overused Phrase

B2B, what does it mean? Business to Business, everybody knows that, right?

But does everybody realize that Businesses are made up of “people” who want to be treated like people? Do we always keep in mind these “people” don’t have to work with us or even take the time to find out what we do or why we do it or how we do it? Do we keep in mind that our business should be to help others do what they do better? Not always “what’s in it for me” kind of attitude.

Case in point. I received an email a few weeks back from an engineering firm who wanted to “do my ISO’s and other drawings”. Ok, I read it and deleted it. A few days later I got another email from the same person. I deleted it. A few more days passed and I got another email, this time he said,” I sent you and email and you haven’t responded”. I’m not sure what mood I was in at that moment, but I took the time to see where this guy was from, India. So figuring it’s a cultural thing, I decided to send a response to his email. I explained in as few words as I could that we didn’t need that type of service at this time. And that I would like to offer a suggestion on how he came across in his emails. I suggested I didn’t have to respond to his email and he shouldn’t come across like I did. As well as a few other suggestions about contacting people for his services in our area. We are a different breed of people and expect a certain approach, in the South of Louisiana.

I moved on with my day and week.

Later I received a phone call from this person. As we talked he was very demanding, didn’t really seem to listen and was very abrasive. I stopped him, suggested he change his manner of conversing with me. I explained that I responded to his email and asked if he read it? Obviously he didn’t. He said yes, that’s why I called you. Needless to say, I ended the conversation quickly. This company hasn’t done itself any benefit by the approach being taken.

That made me think about how we come across when we talk with prospective customers, customers and everyday conversations with others around us. I know how I mean to come across, but how am I coming across to the other person. I started paying attention to that in my own life, the whole day. I had to make quite a few “adjustments” to what I was saying and how I was saying them. I’m now taking more time to keep my “adjustments” with me at all times.

It’s very important to remember, B2B does mean Business to Business. With that said, we should be compelled to remember that each business is made up of people just like us. Doing what it takes to keep our businesses open and profitable. Doing what we can to help one another offer our own customers more of what they need to increase the value our customers derive from doing business with us.

One last example. I emailed someone I thought I remembered meeting quite a few years ago and asked if he would make time to talk with me. I got a response within the day, yes we could talk and he gave me his cell number along with a time that would work for him the next day.

Please be mindful, we were in the ending stages of the unprecedented flooding of south Louisiana at that time.

I called him the next afternoon just as we agreed. I asked him how his day was going and he told me he’d had better. He’d just been to his cardiologist that morning and didn’t like what he heard from him. And he was working on his house that had been flooded with a foot of water. I tried to excuse myself from bothering him, but he said, he needed the break. We had not met before as I had thought, but he made me feel like we had known each other for a long time. He was honest and genuine. I did my best to do the same. He suggested we make it our business to build our relationship. He’d help me with whatever he could to work with his company, in other words making sure I was given a fair opportunity. This isn’t his first rodeo either. I gave him my word that we’d do everything we could to help him get awarded any project we were offered an opportunity to submit a proposal on. A clean, simple, business to business relationship is starting. One based on people, their needs, wants, and desires that benefit both our companies.

I made a new friend that day and am looking forward to working with him and his company, or not. We still came out ahead, we have a new person who understands what it takes to be in business. We can help one another by just talking and sharing ideas and leads, as well as what life has for us. We still both win, whether our two businesses work together or not.

That’s B2B success!





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