Clean Language in B2B Sales Example

A number of people have expressed interest in how we use Clean Language in Sales, so I thought it would be helpful to occasionally discuss specific scenarios, to give a feeling of what it is like in practice.

One of my frustrations with the sales arena is that people take techniques that work in one situation and mis-apply them into another situation. IMHO the reason there’s so much contradictory stuff out there is because everything is right at some point, and the trick is to realize the differences that make a difference.

In this case this is:

  • B2B, selling to a large company who have a purchasing department, many divisions, etc.
  • Selling a software product which they’ll use for 10+ years, for a deal worth over £500k.
  • This solution that need a complex sale – there’s lots of tradeoffs between different parts of the organization.
  • Our audiences generally have a postgraduate degree or PhD – they’re very used to, and expect, detailed technical discussions when needed. You can’t manipulate them.

One of their joint ventures already uses our software, they’ve got an internal initiative to do something similar so they reaching out to us a few months ago and had a demo over The Internet.

They then asked if we’d visit in person and do a longer more in depth presentation to a group of them. Normally we don’t do this, but it was a good training opportunity for one of my colleagues so we agreed.

We don’t know that much about the meeting beforehand, which I’m not too stressed about.

If I have to use words, I’m looking at them to see if they resonate.


Get them to tell each other


Tradeoffs. Make them feel it.

Expertise – your thoughts are more important than what I say

More I make them think the more clever and perceptive they think we are

The quote

Mat writes words

Mat does not intervene

This is really the start of implementation

I do a lot of referencing to other people – it’s a way of credibility without flashing it about

have high verbal and low processing speed

no prepared presentation

whiteboard always better for engineers and scientists

Note the differences between traditional sales:

  • I’m not too stressed not knowing much about the meeting ahead of time. I know I’ll get what I need in the meeting or in the gentle chats as we walk to/from reception.
  • I didn’t prepare – deliberately. I know my solution and their industry, I don’t need to try and pretend to be an expert on them and their situation. They’ll tell me everything I need to know.

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