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Selling and Buying


Disciplines > Negotiation > Negotiation Styles > Selling and Buying

Business to business | The professional buyer | The rest of the clan | See also


Business to business

Much selling is not done to the general public, but from one business to another. These 'B2B' sales are typified by being for much larger sums than the general consumer sale. Businesses buy in bulk, spending large sums in order to minimize unit costs and hence gain economies of scale. Where they make individual purchases for such as computers or industrial machines, they cannot afford to buy low-quality equipment that will easily break down. Stoppages in production can be far more costly than spending more on acquiring reliable equipment.

This, coupled with the common need of the sales person to make multiple repeat sales means that they will most likely seek to use relationship selling rather than use the trickier one-off selling methods.

The professional buyer

In industrial buying and selling, the person doing the buying has a significant responsibility to get the best deal for their company whilst not buying shoddy goods. Professional purchasing people are thus used, who are qualified and experienced in their craft, and may even have gone on the same sales training courses as the people who are going to sell to them.

Professional buyers can easily spot closing techniques and objection-handling and will push back strongly against any inappropriate manipulation by the sales person. They do need sales people from suppliers, but will seek those who will take time to understand their real business needs and offer superior value.

The rest of the clan

The sales person may need to persuade a range of other people across the customer company, in particular three customer types. There may be many presentations and exchanges which form the overall negotiation. In some circumstances the purchasing manager may make the primary purchasing decisions, but in other circumstances they support the negotiation but make neither the initial nor final choice.

See also

Relationship selling

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