Selling to a business market and selling to a consumer market are very different approaches to business and sales. Business markets include companies who buy products largely for business use, whereas customers in the consumer market purchase products mostly for personal or family consumption.

Business Market Basics

Selling to the business market means you typically meet with company executives, department heads or buying committees. You have to call upon the business, identify the right decision maker and try to get a first call appointment with your prospect. Larger volume is a common advantage of selling to businesses. If you sell a phone system to a company with 500 employees, for instance, one sale can turn into an order for 500 products. This makes each sales call very important.


Business buyers generally buy for one of two reasons: your solution either helps them make more money or save on costs. You need to research your prospects before you call to understand what their company needs are going forward. Once you understand their business direction or critical concerns, you call to set up a meeting. Success comes when you can effectively show an awareness of the prospect's needs and the correlation to your solution and why it best helps the buyer's company meet them.

Consumer Market Basics

Selling to a consumer market means you normally meet with individuals or couples. Some consumer market sellers work in retail settings with customers who come looking to make a purchase. Others work in offices and must call on customers to get appointments. Consumers buy for personal or family use, which means your job is to persuade them that your solution addresses functional or emotional needs they have better than competing products.


A number of prospecting techniques are used to get connected with consumer market customers. Cold calling, referrals from existing customers, websites, telemarketing and networking are common ways of going after potential customers. Once you get a meeting with a potential customer, you need to ask questions to understand his needs. Once you know them, you decide which of your solutions is the best match. The challenging part of consumer selling is making a persuasive sales presentation and closing the deal. Then, you need to follow-up to ensure customer satisfaction and try to build ongoing relationships with top customers to get more business.