The Emotional Difference in B2B and B2C Selling

B2B and B2C selling have some major differences—but you already know that.  However, are you really using the proper techniques in your small business’s selling methods?  All too often, I come across small businesses online that seem to be very confused about their content strategies.

It’s not uncommon to see a B2B company running a blog that centers on emotional appeal, which can be a big turn-off for some clients.  Even though the content writers probably “know” that emotional appeal doesn’t make the sale, they can’t seem to actually ditch the emotional jabber and start focusing on pain points to get those business conversions.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let’s break down the emotional difference between these two types of selling methods…

B2C Selling

B2C selling is usually what we’re all most comfortable with.  As people, B2C selling is going to resonate with us.  Why?  It’s highly emotional.  When selling directly to a consumer, emotional pull is everything.  CEM co-owner Laura Hancock highlights the importance of relationally driven (i.e. emotional) content in B2C selling in one of her recent blog posts.

When selling to a consumer, you’re tugging at heartstrings.  Sure, a consumer might buy a home security system because it “makes sense,” it’s responsible, and it’s the “smart thing to do.”  However, the real driving force behind this sale is the emotional pull.  Even if the security system company’s content includes some statistics, the real sale comes from pushing at a tender emotional spot.  The customer should be left wondering after the pitch/content: “What if my home was broken into?  What if my family was at risk because I was too cheap to buy a system?”

B2C selling is all about the emotional pull you can get out of a customer.  And sometimes, getting that emotional pull just right requires assistance from some professional content writers.

B2B Selling

B2B selling, on the other hand, still uses some emotion, which many B2B marketers are surprised to hear.  In fact, the Gallup Business Journal revealed through a study in 2009 that B2B customers have some feelings, too!  While this study reveals that emotions are still a part of B2B selling, they don’t play nearly as important a role as they do in B2C selling.

B2B selling is driven by bottom line rationalization and pain points.  However, many B2B businesses expect to get conversions from content that is emotionally driven.  Not only will this be frustrating for the business and its content writers, but it could even turn off potential clients, who view this kind of writing as amateurish.

One of my favorite pieces of advice on writing B2B content is this: “Cut to the chase.”    Dan Taylor, a digital media professional who blogs at TNW, offers this piece of advice as the first of five tips on writing great B2B content.  It’s important for B2B content writers to remember how effective directness can be.

While the B2C content writers might get away with writing funny anecdotes or sharing touching stories, you’re not going to see conversions from content of that nature.  B2B selling has to be to the point!

Keep the Differences in Mind

Remember these emotional differences as you write content (or hire content writers!) for your company.  If you’ve had different experiences with B2B and B2C sales/content writing, I’d love to hear about them.

Do you have any success stories about conversions from content that breaks these rules?

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Ben Richardson is a writer based in Nashville, TN. While he loves writing on a variety of subjects, he's our go-to on all things related to branding and the creative aspects of content marketing. Follow him on Twitter!

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