Habits of Successful B2B Managers

Habits are behaviours that are performed without you having to make an intentional decision to take action, according to one University College London research associate. The cues can be internal, such as I am hungry, or external, such as getting out of bed every day. Our habits are most effective when we perform them every day as they help us to reduce planning time and willpower, so we can focus our energy in other areas. When it comes to B2B managers, those who are most successful have developed business relationship habits that help them serve their clients.

First, let’s take a look at how to change our behaviour to create a new habit.

 

Cues

First, you must identify your cues. What are the positive cues that make you take action? Feeling hungry then preparing food is a cue-behaviour link that we commit to memory and act on daily. Another might be sitting at your desk with a cup of tea then answering emails for an hour. You create a positive association with a cup of tea and starting a daily task.

 

Specificity

When you make your goals specific, they are easier to achieve. Rather than making a customer service plan that includes ‘listening to the client’, set yourself targets. Focus on how you can serve your clients better, such as ‘when my clients’ tell me they need this solution, I will provide them with this answer.’ If there is a reward for you, such as a feeling of accomplishment, you are more likely to stick with the behaviour.

 

Who You Are

On a personal level, we are more likely to create a habit when it conforms to our sense of identity. A person who is active might find it easier to go swimming daily as it fits with their self-image. In the workplace, your goal is to represent your business. Defining the brand how you best can represent the brand could help you feel comfortable forming habits that improve your productivity.

 

Moments

Creating new habits has been shown to be easier when we are going through moments in life that change our course. Moving house, changing jobs, welcoming a new family member – these are all disruptive events that can give room for change. In the workplace, these disruptions could include staff turn around, opening a new office or changing technology.

 

Despite the saying that ‘it takes 21 days to create a new habit’, researchers disagree. They say that people take their own time to create new habits and that while some people might take a year, others might only take a week. Our personal motivation is a huge variance in habit-forming behaviour.

 

In B2B relationships, there are personal habits and behaviours that are of benefit to you and your clients. These behaviours take time and confidence to develop, but they are shown to be effective.

 

Empathise

No one likes to feel patronised. Speaking to your clients in a respectful manner that invites them to join the conversation. Do not use a script to discuss business. Know your product and get to know your client. According to one survey, 99{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b} of B2B customers of one company thought that their sales staff sounded too scripted, which left them feeling patronised.

Set your intention to know your product, not sell your product. Your habitual behaviour will shift toward empathising and understanding your clients’ needs.

 

Research

To really manage your relationships, you need to know all the answers. Making things up on the fly or changing the goalposts does not create a sense of security for your clients. You need to know your product, know the answers to difficult questions, know why the answer is the answer.

Your habit needs to be researched. You need to work hard to know the answer to as many questions that arise as you can.

 

Listen

Sometimes, in moments of frustration, people will tell you what the problem is without really understanding themselves what the problem is. The best way to approach a situation with an unhappy or dissatisfied client is to really listen. By asking clarifying questions, repeating back what you think you heard and really engaging with your client, you can provide solutions. Habitually, you need to learn to listen, to take pause and communicate with your clients.

 

Decisions

An adult makes around 35,000 decisions per day. This can lead to stagnation when you don’t have the confidence to act on behalf of your client. The best way to ensure that you aren’t running to your client for every minor decision that needs to be made, you need to develop a decision making management plan that you are both happy with. The other plan is to make a contact time with your client on a regular basis to discuss decisions, but you set the time so that it is one less decision on their part.

 

Providing the best B2B client services that you have to offer means creating some lasting habits. As the focus in B2B relationships shifts from aggressive and competitive towards partnership and loyalty, you also need to develop the skills to ensure that your B2B company remains relevant in a shifting climate.

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