B2B vs. B2C vs. Reality

I met with two energetic heads of a wine distributor yesterday, people that love catchphrases and acronyms and buzzwords. I imagine they have the Harvard Business Review podcast playing while they sleep so they can absorb all the jargon of the moment.

Some of the jargon of the moment is the whole “B2B” and “B2C” conversation. The idea that business-to-business selling (i.e. wholesaler to retailer/restaurant) is totally different that business-to-consumer selling. Of course some people can’t say “business to business,” they instead have to say “bee-to-bee” while shimmying back and forth, sometimes with a finger extended for added effect.

Here the truth: there is no such thing as B2B and no such thing as B2C. If we need to use a dumb acronym, it’s P2P: Person to person.

A wine wholesale rep is not a business. She’s a person. A restaurant buyer is not a business. She too is a person. A retail buyer is not a business. They are a person too.

And one person sells wine to the other person. Often neither of them have a financial stake in the inventory they are selling or buying. That means they are agents of a larger entity. But that doesn’t turn the individual into a business.

The reality of all sales is that it’s about people talking with, trusting, and building relationships with other people. B2B and B2C has nothing to do with it.

Related Articles