Selling Business-to-Business

You can break down business-to-business (B2B) selling into the broad categories of products and services: The large product categories of B2B sales in China are

Product components
Raw materials
Capital equipment (such as factory machines and telecom equipment)

On the service side, businesses are commonly selling other businesses the following:

Consulting
Software/IT outsourcing
Financial services

Businesses’ purchasing decisions are more complex than consumers’. If you’re selling to state-owned enterprises (SOEs), you have to sell at multiple layers of the same organization. That’s because SOEs have a number of people involved in making purchasing decisions. Therefore, building good and trusting relationships with these people is important.

Private companies’ purchasing decisions are generally all made by one person — the owner. Don’t waste time pitching to middle-level employees. Employees usually have little empowerment in Chinese companies.

In open, competitive industries (such as garment industries), companies are used to and are reasonably receptive to cold-calling. However, in certain industries dominated by large companies that the government highly regulates and protects (such as in oil production), you need introductions to get in the door because they operate in a more “members-only” type of environment.

Here are some tips for courting B2B sales:

When selling to businesses, have a nice, glossy brochure. Fortunately, you can print them in ...

Get Doing Business in China For Dummies® now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.