James Carbary

Founder at Sweet Fish Media

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23 B2B Sales Quotes to Get Your Team to the Next Level

James Carbary

Founder at Sweet Fish Media

Full Profile »

Why dedicate an entire post to B2B sales quotes? Let me give you an analogy.

I’ve always been a terrible cook. But around a year ago I got obsessed with cooking shows and just had to get better. So, I’ve been practicing.

I eventually got better. Which made me want to try something more challenging. So, after I figured out how to spell it, I found a recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu online and tried to follow it perfectly.

I don’t know what I made, but it was hardly recognizable as chicken, let alone fancy French chicken.

So, I tried again. Same result. 

This prompted me to think about the definition of insanity. You know, the thing Einstein supposedly said?

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Yeah, Einstein never actually said this, but the quote gave me an “aha” moment. I did follow the recipe exactly. The recipe was the problem.

I tried a different recipe and now I’m proud to say I can cook Chicken Cordon Bleu.

The next day, I was slated to present on how to improve our B2B sales strategy. The whole recipe fiasco got me thinking 2 things:

First, that fake Einstein quote was surprisingly useful.

albert-einstein-b2b-sales-quotes
via Public Domain Pictures

Second, your sales strategy is your team’s recipe. And following it perfectly doesn’t matter if the recipe is wrong.

This revelation drove me to collect bits and pieces of other B2B sales strategies. I did this in the form of quotes (that people actually said). This article answers questions like…

What are the best B2B sales quotes? The best B2B sales quotes to revive your strategy include

  1. “Most people think ‘selling’ is the same as ‘talking’. But the most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job.” — Roy Bartell
  2. “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” — Seth Godin
  3. “Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, and waste its fragrance on the desert air.” — Jane Austen
  4. “Sales is not about selling anymore, but about building trust and educating.” — Siva Devaki
  5. “It is what we know already that often prevents us from learning.” — Claude Bernard

Below I’ve compiled more of the best B2B sales quotes that you can use to revive your strategy. Some are from business leaders, but a lot of them are from history’s best and brightest thinkers.

Let’s take a look at what they have to say!

B2B sales quotes for listening to your customers

1. “A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.” — Francis Bacon

A solid sales strategy starts with asking questions. Of course, you need to do research, but ask your customers what they need. If you’re twiddling your thumbs waiting for them to tell you, you’re doing it wrong.

2. “A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.” — Bruce Lee

Still, your customers are smart and won’t appreciate fielding questions that 5 minutes surfing the web could answer. Ask questions, but ask the right questions.

3. “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” — Zig Ziglar

The right questions should be centered on the customer’s specific needs. Obviously, you want to meet your customer’s needs because helping your customers win helps you win and then everybody wins. It’s a win-win-win. A win… cubed?

Shoddy math aside, the customer’s needs are paramount. But you’ll never meet their needs if you don’t know what they are. So, no matter how good your questions are, they mean nothing if you aren’t listening to the answers.

Listening to your customers.

4. “Most people think ‘selling’ is the same as ‘talking’. But the most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job.” — Roy Bartell

You should really only be the one talking about 30% of the time. You can guide the conversation, but the rest should be spent listening. Shut your mouth. Open your ears.

Pro tip: Try asking open-ended questions. If they aren’t stuck answering “yes” or “no” to everything, then the customer gets a chance to explain their needs in-depth.

You should be listening when they do.

man-with-listening-horn-b2b-sales-quotes
via Flickr

I mean *really* listening.

5. “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” — Seth Godin

These days customers are more sophisticated and often more demanding. They want solutions tailored to their specific needs. If you’re listening, you can offer the perfect option.

Or, better yet, a range of options to choose from. This gives them a voice at every stage of the sale.

6. “Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘make me feel important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.” — Mary Kay Ash

(Quick word of caution: if you actually wear this sign, you’ll get some funny looks in line at the pharmacy. Just trust me.)

It should be no surprise Mary Kay Ash was so successful. Showing the customer you care about their needs is what makes them feel important.

And if you’ve listened enough to find that perfect solution for them, they’ll trust you to provide it.

Learning from your customers (and your mistakes)

7. “It is what we know already that often prevents us from learning.” — Claude Bernard

Of course, there is no point in asking questions in the first place if you think you know everything already. First off, nobody likes a know-it-all. Second, it’s a cardinal sin in sales to assume you already know everything about the buyer!

8. “Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” ― George Bernard Shaw

OK, so this is basically the same as the last quote. But it bears repeating: You should be an expert in what you can offer, but a student when it comes to the customer’s needs.

9. “One doesn’t have to operate with great malice to do great harm. The absence of empathy and understanding are sufficient.” — Charles M. Blow

In order to learn from the customer, you need to empathize with them. What would you need if you were sloshing around in their galoshes?

puddle-galoshes-b2b-sales-quotes
via Unsplash

If you don’t know, you’ve made a mistake somewhere.

10. “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” — Will Rogers

Good news: If you’re asking questions, listening and learning, you’ll make a lot fewer mistakes. Bad news: You’ll still make some.

Learning from the mistakes you do make is just as important as letting your customers teach you how to avoid them.

B2B sales quotes for educating your customers

11. “Sales is not about selling anymore, but about building trust and educating.” — Siva Devaki

You have a lot to learn from the customer, but you should also have a lot to teach them about your products and what you can offer them. Dust off the jacket with the elbow patches, don the bifocals and get teaching, professor.

teacher-at-whiteboard-b2b-sales-quotes
via Unsplash

12. “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” — Benjamin Franklin

Teaching is the new pitching. You should teach your customers solutions that work for them, even if that means pointing them to solutions you don’t offer.

Chances are, they’ll remember how you helped and you can always harness the awesome power of reciprocity sometime in the future.

Make yourself memorable.

13. “Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, and waste its fragrance on the desert air.” — Jane Austen

Don’t let your company blush unseen or, if dramatic Victorian parlance isn’t your scene: make yourself known.

Teaching the customer begins with marketing — the yin to the sales yang. You can have the perfect solution for your customer, but if they’ve never heard of you, it won’t matter.

14. “One of the worst states to be in is to be ignored. Obscurity like insecurity kills!” — Bernard Kelvin Clive

Another way to fade to obscurity is to be forgettable. Remember when I said customers are more sophisticated? I didn’t mean they’ve started wearing monocles and top hats.

I meant that they have access to more data and are spending more time researching solutions on their own. This means they already know a lot about what you and your competitors can offer. They should remember you as standing out from the rest with the value you can offer.

As for what you need to remember:

15. “If you are not taking care of your customer, your competitor will.” — Bob Hooey

This quote really needs no explanation. But, instead of using this space to sneak in cute cat pictures, I’ll just remind you that your customers don’t want to be pressured into buying things, they want solutions.

Take care of them by providing solutions, not aggressively pushing products they don’t want or need.

gray-kitten-b2b-sales-quotes
via Unsplash

OK, maybe just one…

B2B sales quotes for adapting

16. “There is nothing permanent except change.” — Heraclitus

Learning isn’t a one-time thing — you should never stop learning! As your markets change, you have to be flexible and change with them. If your customer gets more sophisticated, so should you (the monocle is optional).

17. “Take calculated risks. This is quite different from being rash.” — General George S. Patton

You have to be willing to try new things. What worked in the past isn’t guaranteed to work in the future. If you’ve listened and learned, the risks should be manageable.

18. “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” — Alvin Toffler

OK, so I’m really leaning into this whole learning thing, but adaptation is just applied knowledge Just like this list of quotes, knowledge is great, but it’s even better when it can be used.

19. “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” — Mark Twain

Don’t wait for your competitors to find ways to adapt and get stuck playing catch-up. If it’s time to change the way you do things, then change them. That way, you’re always a step or two ahead.

B2B sales quotes for supporting your sales team

20. “When he took the time to help the man up the mountain, lo, he scaled it himself.” — Tibetan Proverb

Helping your customers helps you, but so does helping the rest of your team. I haven’t checked the math here, but I think this means winning to the power of 4.

21. “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” — Reid Hoffman

Your sales team should be just that: a team. And everything we’ve said about the customer should apply to them, too.

Are you asking your team questions? Learning? Adapting? Teaching?

If you aren’t and they’re all competing solo in the sales dance competition, what happens when another competitor shows up dancing a perfectly choreographed Thriller rendition?

Alright, this metaphor kind of got away from me. But you get the idea: everyone on your team should be supported by everyone else.

Bonus B2B sales quotes: Be persistent

22. “If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” — Steve Jobs

Crafting a solid strategy requires time and hard work! But, if you’ve taken the time to listen, learn and adapt to your customers’ needs, you’ve already done most of the work. And if everyone in the team works together, it just gets easier.

23. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” — Thomas A. Edison

Fake Einstein was right: You shouldn’t endlessly repeat strategies that don’t work and expect different results.

But Real Edison is also right: That doesn’t mean you should give up on implementing the new things you’ve learned before you’ve given them a chance to succeed.

Final thoughts on B2B sales strategy

A lot of these quotes give advice on how to succeed in life in general, but they apply to B2B sales because it’s a field centered on people.

You. Your customers. Your team.

It shouldn’t really be surprising then that the wisdom that helps everyday people succeed is the same wisdom that helps sales teams succeed.

To improve your B2B sales strategy, you’ve got to ask if you’re doing these things:

  1. Listening
  2. Teaching
  3. Adapting
  4. Supporting

If you aren’t, there’s no better time to start than now.

If you’re looking for more awesome B2B sales content, you can subscribe to The B2B Sales Show anywhere you listen to podcasts.

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