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B2B Selling: Can You Win the Game?

Think you've got what it takes to sell B2B? Here's an simulation game (based on a conversation with sales guru Neil Rackham) to tests your selling savvy.

Scenario: You've just been handed the name and phone number of a local company that's almost identical to one of your firm's biggest customers. Time to put your sales skills to work! Make your move... but watch out! You could end up scuttling the deal... or get yourself exiled to the marketing group!

What's your first move?

  • Click here to CALL THE COMPANY. The fastest path to success is to take immediate action! Call the company, find out who's the responsible executive, and get that appointment. Now!
  • Click here to RESEARCH THE COMPANY. You aren't entirely sure that you know enough about the company to start selling, so it's time to hit the books and figure out who's who and what's what.
  • Click here to VISIT THE COMPANY. Selling is all about relationships, so if you want to make a sale, you've got to make yourself known. So get down there, shake some hands and charm your way into the back office.

The admin politely tells you to send her a brochure. She promises she will "keep it on file."

You researched the company and discovered the names and titles of the players who might be interested in your offering, or who would influence its purchase. Which of the three do you call on first?

Click here to try to talk to TECHIE TOM. He's an expert in his field and understands a lot about your offering and your competition.

Click here to try to talk to BOSS BETTY, She's responsible for day-to-day operations and spend most of her time "fighting fires."


Click here to try to talk DOLLAR DAN. He holds the budgetary purse-strings and nothing ever gets spent unless he gives the go-ahead.


Good job! You picked Techie Tom, who is only person who's got enough time on his hands spend some of it speaking with a sales rep. How do you begin the meeting?
  • Click here to POSITION YOUR COMPANY, You want Tom to know that he's working with a top company. Explain how your company has helped dozens of other firms to make more money and reduce costs.
  • Click here to QUALIFY THE PROSPECT, The last thing you want to do is waste time with a prospect that's not going to buy. Find out whether there's a real need, and a real budget, before going any further.
  • Click here to TALK ABOUT STAR TREK, Rapport-building is an essential skill. You can tell from the geegaws around Tom's office that he's a huge Star Trek fan. So dust off your trivia, it's time to talk some Trek!

Photo by Paper or Plastic
You and Techie Tom head over the local Star Trek convention, where he quickly dons his favorite role play costume. Unfortunately, now that you know that he spends his evenings dressed up as a Klingon warrior, there's no way he's going to introduce you to anyone else in his firm.


Good work. You worked with Techie Tom to qualify the opportunity while impressing him with your deep understanding and insight into his technology area. As a result, Techie Tom has provided you a personal introduction to Boss Betty. You're in her office now.

How do you proceed?

  • Click here to CLARIFY THE PROBLEM. Betty is probably too busy fighting fires to understand exactly what's needed to make things better. You need to help her figure out where some investment would make an improvement.
  • Click here RUBBISH THE COMPETITION, The last thing you want is for your competitors to swoop in and close the deal after you've laid the groundwork. Best make sure Betty knows that the other guys are no-good losers.
  • Click here to EXPLAIN YOUR SOLUTION, Betty needs to know the wonderful benefits that will result from your solution. This is the time to show that you've got the sales skills to give a GREAT presentation!

Hmmm... You explained your solution, but the conversation didn't seem to go anywhere. The deal is still alive, but you're no closer to closing than you were before the meeting.

Good work.

After you clarified the problem by talking with Boss Betty, it became clear to her that your company's solution would definitely help.

Now that you've got Boss Betty and Techie Tom on board, it's time to make sure the the money will be there when it's time to make the final decision to buy.

Tom and Betty have set you up a 15 minute meeting with Dollar Dan.

How do you proceed?

  • Click here to OFFER A KICKBACK. You need the inside track, so the best way to ensure that your company get picked is to make sure that Dollar Dan gets his cut. It's not entirely legal, but that's the way the real world works!
  • Click here to DEFINE THE ROI. Dollar Dan is all about numbers, so your numbers will need to make sense to him. You work with him to quantify how much money would be saved with your offering.
  • Click here DESCRIBE YOUR SOLUTION, Dollar Dan is no dummy and he'll want to make certain that your offering will really work as promised. Explain how your offering works and the benefit that result.

Whoops. Dollar Dan's brother works for the FBI. You've been caught in a sting operation.

Sorry. You lose!


Good work. You've got Dollar Dan, Techie Tom and Boss Betty on your side, and they've set up a big meeting where all the stakeholders are going to hear about the solution and reach consensus on whether to go forward.

You've got a lot of material to present. Where do you start?

Gee, the meeting isn't going so well. Maybe you forgot something.

After you (1) summarized the problem, you (2) defined the solution, and then (3) positioned your firm using customer references to increase credibility and reduce risk.

You then called upon your contacts to public endorse the fact that your solution is technically sound (Techie Tom), will actually solve the problem (Boss Betty), and have a good ROI (Dollar Dan).

By that time, you could tell that there was general agreement to go forward, so you (4) closed the deal.
Hey! Enjoy that fat commission!


That was a major sales mistake. I'm afraid that you lose the sale, and you've been transferred to the marketing group.

Not to worry. We have an opening on the team for a junior brochure writer! With your "experience" in sales you should do quite nicely.

Hmmm... You explained your solution, but the conversation didn't seem to go anywhere. The deal is still alive, but you're no closer to closing than you were before the meeting.
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