Contacting Local Business Owners

by 92 comments
Hello everyone,

I have a consulting business and I've been having trouble contacting local business owners. I'm targeting handymen such as roofers and plumbers. I have no problem building a list of business to contact, but once I contact them either through email or their contact page, I never get a reply back. I've contacted almost 100 businesses so far and not one response. I've tried send emails from Gmail and my own hosting account, but still no responses. The emails that I arent spammy and they're full of value. Can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong?
#offline marketing #business #contacting #local #owners
  • Profile picture of the author dave147
    With local business owners you might be better off to get out there and meet them face to face.
  • Profile picture of the author animal44
    Let me guess... You're trying to sell SEO (or similar) from a cold email?

    Most people, especially tradesmen, would consider any cold email as spam.

    Tradesmen publish their tel number and email in order to sell to others, not to be sold to. Think along those lines and you'll get a clue how to get them to respond...

    However, forget email... I'd get face to face, like Dave suggests. Build some trust before trying to sell...
  • Profile picture of the author helisell
    Call them on the phone...

    Say 'I wonder if you could help me?'

    Assuming they say 'yes'

    I have a small web/marketing operation and I've been offering free website analyses in your industry...but the thing is virtually no one responds to my emails and I'm trying to figure out why.

    Could I pick your brain for one minute?

    If you guys have a website have you ever had it analysed?

    Do you actually get much business from your website.....blah blah etc etc.

    Go straight to the people you are trying to target and get THEM to tell you the best way to approach them.

    I doubt you'll take my advice but I can assure you it works like a dream.
    • Profile picture of the author sunshne721
      Originally Posted by helisell View Post

      Call them on the phone...

      Say 'I wonder if you could help me?'

      Assuming they say 'yes'

      I have a small web/marketing operation and I've been offering free website analyses in your industry...but the thing is virtually no one responds to my emails and I'm trying to figure out why.

      Could I pick your brain for one minute?

      If you guys have a website have you ever had it analysed?

      Do you actually get much business from your website.....blah blah etc etc.

      Go straight to the people you are trying to target and get THEM to tell you the best way to approach them.

      I doubt you'll take my advice but I can assure you it works like a dream.
      Thanks for the advice, I will definitely consider giving that a try.
    • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
      Originally Posted by helisell View Post

      Call them on the phone...

      Say 'I wonder if you could help me?'

      Assuming they say 'yes'

      I have a small web/marketing operation and I've been offering free website analyses in your industry...but the thing is virtually no one responds to my emails and I'm trying to figure out why.

      Could I pick your brain for one minute?

      If you guys have a website have you ever had it analysed?

      Do you actually get much business from your website.....blah blah etc etc.

      Go straight to the people you are trying to target and get THEM to tell you the best way to approach them.

      I doubt you'll take my advice but I can assure you it works like a dream.
      Here's the gold in this thread.

      I have sold to thousands of contractors. They buy over the phone every day. That's why you see their ads in print and other media.

      It takes work! They are busy. You'll have to call, leave messages, follow up.

      The above approach is a surefire conversation starter, where the prospect tells you HOW TO SELL, whatever you are selling, to him or her.

      Great share!

      Ron
    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by helisell View Post

      Call them on the phone...

      Say 'I wonder if you could help me?'

      Assuming they say 'yes'

      I have a small web/marketing operation and I've been offering free website analyses in your industry...but the thing is virtually no one responds to my emails and I'm trying to figure out why.

      Could I pick your brain for one minute?

      If you guys have a website have you ever had it analysed?

      Do you actually get much business from your website.....blah blah etc etc.

      Go straight to the people you are trying to target and get THEM to tell you the best way to approach them.

      I doubt you'll take my advice but I can assure you it works like a dream.
      Smart, smart, smart, smart, smart.
  • Profile picture of the author TheBigBee
    The more negative, the higher the response. We humans are weird. We will ignore a "positive" inquiry and will drop everything - all profit generating operating activities to respond to the negative.

    Be as negative as you can and be borderline insulting. When I say borderline, you don't want to say things like "you suck!" Rather, "whoever OK'd the hiring of your marketing guy needs to be fired right now, here's why."

    To take it another step further, the more you don't care about whether they will not reply the higher the response. I've shipped e-mails with no idea how to monetize the e-mails and instead focused on; "I'm going to make you feel something."

    If you're leading with value - a lot of value, it can convey neediness or that you've done the same thing with 100x others. If you've done this 100x times, they're like "how valuable can this info be if everyone is getting it?" In short, no one wants to give a weakling their money.

    Think about it. If you're leading with value, how successful can you possibly be by cold e-mailing them with value? On a primitive level they're able to conclude that "this person is trying to be liked and win me over." At that point, you've lost.

    I sold consulting and raked it in a market in a market where they don't buy "consulting" by simply not giving two f**ks about their feelings.

    So, if I were you I would lead with negative; "PROOF; Your Marketing Guy is Eating Your Lunch." Think about that. You're telling a guy the guy he hired is eating his lunch. It hits at his pride. We own businesses because we don't want folks eating our lunch. We want to eat the lunch of others.

    Or, "Why are you letting your marketing guy rob you???" Again, you hit them in a way that they haven't been hit before.

    Describe what you see in authoritative but negative fashion and forget about a call to action. Don't say "I can help you if you call me..." etc. Rather, no CTA at all. Rip them a new one and end the e-mail with absolutely no request or invitation for them to reach back out to you...

    Then wait for replies. You'll get elaborate and "defensive" replies. From there, you got em. They'll open every e-mail you send from there. You've just gotta finesse that into a sale.

    I'm only sharing what's worked for me.... Negativity gets clicks, sales, etc. Humans are weird.
    • Profile picture of the author sunshne721
      Originally Posted by TheBigBee View Post

      The more negative, the higher the response. We humans are weird. We will ignore a "positive" inquiry and will drop everything - all profit generating operating activities to respond to the negative.

      Be as negative as you can and be borderline insulting. When I say borderline, you don't want to say things like "you suck!" Rather, "whoever OK'd the hiring of your marketing guy needs to be fired right now, here's why."

      To take it another step further, the more you don't care about whether they will not reply the higher the response. I've shipped e-mails with no idea how to monetize the e-mails and instead focused on; "I'm going to make you feel something."

      If you're leading with value - a lot of value, it can convey neediness or that you've done the same thing with 100x others. If you've done this 100x times, they're like "how valuable can this info be if everyone is getting it?" In short, no one wants to give a weakling their money.

      Think about it. If you're leading with value, how successful can you possibly be by cold e-mailing them with value? On a primitive level they're able to conclude that "this person is trying to be liked and win me over." At that point, you've lost.

      I sold consulting and raked it in a market in a market where they don't buy "consulting" by simply not giving two f**ks about their feelings.

      So, if I were you I would lead with negative; "PROOF; Your Marketing Guy is Eating Your Lunch." Think about that. You're telling a guy the guy he hired is eating his lunch. It hits at his pride. We own businesses because we don't want folks eating our lunch. We want to eat the lunch of others.

      Or, "Why are you letting your marketing guy rob you???" Again, you hit them in a way that they haven't been hit before.

      Describe what you see in authoritative but negative fashion and forget about a call to action. Don't say "I can help you if you call me..." etc. Rather, no CTA at all. Rip them a new one and end the e-mail with absolutely no request or invitation for them to reach back out to you...

      Then wait for replies. You'll get elaborate and "defensive" replies. From there, you got em. They'll open every e-mail you send from there. You've just gotta finesse that into a sale.

      I'm only sharing what's worked for me.... Negativity gets clicks, sales, etc. Humans are weird.
      Thanks for the reply, I will have to start implementing this in my emails. This definitely sounds like a great way to stand out from other marketers.
  • Profile picture of the author 3ym3jtmmk
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  • Profile picture of the author xInd
    When I am not on the computer building websites or running marketing campaigns, I am running a roof and home maintenance business. Tradespeople usually aren't interested in a free website analysis. They want jobs. Most of them have too much work, are very busy and selling them on an analysis of something that's already working is a hard sell.
    What is a conversion for you? What is your end goal? How will you make money by building contacts with these contractors? Cut to the chase and put that in front of them might be the answer. If whatever you're doing works, then what makes you money should be what makes them more money. Show me right now, how you can make me more money as a contractor and you've got my sale, but I don't need anybody to analyze anything on my websites.

    Hope that helps
    • Profile picture of the author sunshne721
      Thanks for your response, it's nice to see someone reply who's actually in the skills trade industry. The main goal of the website analysis is to figure out why their websites aren't ranked higher in Google. I've seen plenty of websites that look very outdated, aren't mobile optimized and have little to no customer reviews in Google Places. I don't target all businesses, I actually use a white label service that analyzes each website and gives me a report of what needs to be done to improve their ranking. So my end goal is to get the businesses ranked higher in Google so they can get more visitors and potential customers.
  • Profile picture of the author Starlyn Tejada
    Hi!

    Construction companies, handy men etc those type of business are out there driving and working hard and maybe don't even know what a website is.

    If they have one is because their son took html in school and made one for them. I know because I seen them and most websites are garbage.

    So when You call you have to be really simple and explain things very simple and how that is going to help them get more and better customers.
  • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
    The easiest way to lose my trust or interest is to offer me something for free. If your product or service isn't worth charging for (which is indicated by you giving it away), it's not something I would ever have any interest in.

    Business owners aren't stupid. They know that there is no such thing as a 'free lunch.' The psychological barrier you create with this tactic is very hard to overcome. Better to tell them that if they aren't completely satisfied, you won;t charge them. That at least shows that you believe in your work product.

    Frank
    • Profile picture of the author PaulintheSticks
      Originally Posted by BigFrank View Post

      The easiest way to lose my trust or interest is to offer me something for free. If your product or service isn't worth charging for (which is indicated by you giving it away), it's not something I would ever have any interest in.

      Business owners aren't stupid. They know that there is no such thing as a 'free lunch.' The psychological barrier you create with this tactic is very hard to overcome. Better to tell them that if they aren't completely satisfied, you won;t charge them. That at least shows that you believe in your work product.

      Frank
      Ever heard of free samples? No, free samples has never worked. 90% of my business has come from free consultations.
  • Profile picture of the author PaulintheSticks
    Sunshine,

    Giving value up front (in any form) to build trust is one of the best business building strategies and its how I got my business established.

    Of course, this isn't my idea. It came from world-class marketers such as Jay Abraham and Dan Kennedy.
    • Profile picture of the author eccj
      Originally Posted by PaulintheSticks View Post

      Sunshine,

      Giving value up front (in any form) to build trust is one of the best business building strategies and its how I got my business established.

      Of course, this isn't my idea. It came from world-class marketers such as Jay Abraham and Dan Kennedy.
      There is nothing wrong with giving value.....

      A free sales pitch is not value however.
    • Profile picture of the author animal44
      Originally Posted by PaulintheSticks View Post

      Of course, this isn't my idea. It came from world-class marketers such as Jay Abraham and Dan Kennedy.
      Don't think I've ever seen Jay Abraham or Dan the Man cold emailing free stuff to anyone...?
  • Profile picture of the author PaulintheSticks
    Just remember there are always going to be haters out there that will look to put you down and bash anything you do. Don't pay attention to them. They have low self esteem and their hate is really directed at themselves.
    • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
      Originally Posted by PaulintheSticks View Post

      Just remember there are always going to be haters out there that will look to put you down and bash anything you do. Don't pay attention to them. They have low self esteem and their hate is really directed at themselves.
      Just remember that there are always going to be morons out there that don't have an original thought and will try to encourage you to run your business by their dictates.

      Their self-loathing is so intense that they are blinded by fact and they believe that they are always correct, regardless of how idiotic their claims may be.

      Follow their lead at your peril.

      Frank
  • Profile picture of the author umc
    Why can't it just be a matter of different strokes for different folks? That's the beauty of marketing. There are many things that work...if you do. Too many people here are wrapped up in their own ego as if they do it right and their way is the only way. If it works and you're happy, do it. If it isn't working or you're not happy, look for another way.
    • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
      Originally Posted by umc View Post

      Why can't it just be a matter of different strokes for different folks? That's the beauty of marketing. There are many things that work...if you do. Too many people here are wrapped up in their own ego as if they do it right and their way is the only way. If it works and you're happy, do it. If it isn't working or you're not happy, look for another way.
      That wasn't my point. I maintain that a 'free consultation' is not a product or service. It's a conversation with a goal of selling a product or service. It has absolutely no intrinsic value. It is NOT a free sample. Why would you want someone to take advice from someone that doesn't understand the basics. We should be looking out to protect others from misinformation. Don't like my tone of breath? Sue me. I ain't Mary Poppins.

      Of course people should do what works for them. That doesn't change the facts. Additionally, you'll notice that I didn't retort until challenged with an off-the-rails post. I don't suffer fools, lightly.

      My work here is finished.

      Frank
  • Profile picture of the author jcjonas
    Hi Sunshine,

    You will get so many different opinions on how to market your business on this forum. That's what makes this forum so great yet can drive you crazy on which way to go. You need to decide what works best to your strengths. If you do not like face to face cold calling, then work the phones.

    But you need to do one of them in order to scale your business. Giving away a free website analysis means nothing to this group of business owners. Also, getting them higher on the search ranking means nothing to this group of business owners.

    You need to speak their language and what keeps this guys up at night; What are the challenges they face in their industry. Once you figured that out, you can market effectively to this group.
    • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
      Originally Posted by jcjonas View Post

      Once you figured that out, you can market effectively to this group.
      Why try to figure out what keeps them up at night? Call them up and ask them.

      Frank
    • Profile picture of the author sunshne721
      Thanks for your reply, I agree that it's important to know the needs of the business owner. I know for a fact that the only thing they care about is getting more customers and making more money.

      No customers = no money = no business

      From reading the other responses in this post it seems like cold calling is the best way to go when it comes to contacting them, but how do you all find the time to call 100+ businesses in a day? Isn't there a way to save time contacting these businesses? What about outsourcing?

      The website analysis that I provide is just a way for me to get my "foot in the door" and it also lets them know how knowledgable I am about Web design and website performance. It also allows me to separate myself and stand out from others who are providing the same service.
  • Profile picture of the author jcjonas
    Agreed! Simple enough.
    • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
      Originally Posted by jcjonas View Post

      Agreed! Simple enough.
      Yes. This stuff isn't rocket science but many people like to make it harder than it really is. It's a way of giving oneself permission to procrastinate and/or ultimately fail.

      Someone really needs to come up with a really good slogan. Something like, "Just do it." Yeah. That sounds like a winner. lol

      Frank
  • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
    Originally Posted by sunshne721 View Post

    Hello everyone,

    I have a consulting business and I've been having trouble contacting local business owners. I'm targeting handymen such as roofers and plumbers. I have no problem building a list of business to contact, but once I contact them either through email or their contact page, I never get a reply back. I've contacted almost 100 businesses so far and not one response. I've tried send emails from Gmail and my own hosting account, but still no responses. The emails that I arent spammy and they're full of value. Can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong?
    handymen roofers and plumbers are out working. they rarely use email even if they know how. that's probably 85% of the independents.

    for old school trades, use regular mail or call them.
  • Profile picture of the author SalesGod
    I literally didn't ready any of this thread other then your question so if the problems already solved then sorry but my suspicion is that your telling them too much in your email. Your probably giving them enough information for them to feel like they can make a yes or no decision just from reading what you sent.


    You simply need to spark there interest and that's it. Make a bold claim that gets them curious without telling them what you do. Usually what you think is the perfect email is the one that wont get results. Keep it really simple. Most of my cold emails are like 3-4 lines.
  • Profile picture of the author Ej Designs
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  • Profile picture of the author Carlo Guzzi
    have you tried sending out a Sales letter to your list outlining the benefits of your service
  • Profile picture of the author carriestone85
    Have you tried reaching them via their Facebook Page? Some owners are active on Facebook or they have managers for it that may relay your message to them.
  • Profile picture of the author sonjay
    So many good recommendations!

    Time to TEST, TRACK, TWEAK.

  • Profile picture of the author Unlimitlists
    I would agree with the what a few others say. Small business owners do better with face to face. I had the same problem with my software development consulting firm. The best contracts we have signed have all come from building relationships face to face. Once you have a few client they will begin to help spread the word for you.
    Have you tried Direct Mail Marketing? This was the second most effective way to get people's attention.

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