Selling to Businesses

30 replies
Hi,

I live near an exhibition centre and I could easily attend the trade shows there. I've looked at some of the exhibitors attending a show there and some of the websites are quite old or don't look all that good.

How would you approach these businesses with a view to updating their website?

John
#businesse #selling
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  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    Get your own booth and let them come to you. That way you will not only get the exhibitors attention you will also get the visitors to the event who are probably business owners themselves. You also get some networking time as most vendors will be there a few hours before the event opens and will linger after it closes

    al
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    • Profile picture of the author JGPhill
      Thanks for providing the great ideas. This is not only helpful for John but also for a newbie like me.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Marshall
      "Get your own booth and let them come to you."

      Thank you. That's a great idea. I'll check out how to do it.
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  • Profile picture of the author palmtreelife
    Do you have any experience in website design or upgrading business websites? If you do, you could set up demos of before and after to show your skills.

    If not, then you could take some of the business websites you're talking about that you feel are outdated and create your own mock up design and show it to them. Don't do the entire website, but just maybe on page so they get the idea and then propose what you could do for the rest of the site.

    I think in this case, it would be critical for you to have your own website about website design. They will want to see SOMETHING you've done before even if it's just your own site.

    Showcasing your own website and showing a sample of the other businesses and what their website could look like will make it difficult for them to say no to you (if you're good of course and your rates are not insane for someone who is inexperienced).

    I think it's a great stepping stone for you though because if you can get a few businesses on board from that trade show, you'll then have a portfolio built to show others what you can do.
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    • Profile picture of the author MichaelQuinn
      Originally Posted by palmtreelife View Post

      Do you have any experience in website design or upgrading business websites? If you do, you could set up demos of before and after to show your skills.

      If not, then you could take some of the business websites you're talking about that you feel are outdated and create your own mock up design and show it to them. Don't do the entire website, but just maybe on page so they get the idea and then propose what you could do for the rest of the site.

      I think in this case, it would be critical for you to have your own website about website design. They will want to see SOMETHING you've done before even if it's just your own site.

      Showcasing your own website and showing a sample of the other businesses and what their website could look like will make it difficult for them to say no to you (if you're good of course and your rates are not insane for someone who is inexperienced).

      I think it's a great stepping stone for you though because if you can get a few businesses on board from that trade show, you'll then have a portfolio built to show others what you can do.
      Hi John,

      I think the above advice is spot on for what you're trying to do. Being able to showcase work that you've done in the past for other businesses is critical to obtaining new business in the future. Palm's advice is definitely the way to go, so you'll need your own website to advertise and display your design business, and you'll need to create sample business websites to show that you're able to actually do what you're advertising. Once you've landed a gig for updating a site, you're going to want to be able to show the before and after.

      Best of luck!
      Mike
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  • Profile picture of the author filiks
    since you have already identify some websites that needs updating...you can send a mail to the site owners offering a free site audit check. And since most of these sites will fail the audit check send the report to them with some call to action why they need to fix the site and blah blah blah. But then i still like the idea of @agmccall - get your own boot and let them come to you!
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  • Profile picture of the author John Marshall
    Thanks for all of those thoughts. Really useful stuff!

    There's also another scenario I've come across recently. I'll be in a business of some kind, a shop, garage, restaurant or whatever, and they'll either have a poor website or none at all.

    How would you make an initial approach to such businesses?
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    • Profile picture of the author palmtreelife
      When you're in the business, you need to be talking to the decision maker, which can be difficult to do and a topic for another post.

      Simply ask them for their website for more information on xyz or to order abc in the future. One of 2 things will happen...1) they will say we don't have a website or that information is not on the website...or 2) they give you the website.

      1) Without being pushy, let them know how much business they're leaving on the table by not having a website and then demonstrate (preferably with your real examples...or find relatable case studies to use) how you making a website for them can increase their business. Offer them a free demo website for them. Tough to say no to that.

      2. Put their website through your diagnostic program and follow up with them as soon as possible with your results. Again, show them a demo of a new and improved website that you made and explain why those changes should surely increase sales.

      Obviously, you need need to have done some preliminary research before opening up this discussion with them. You never know where the day will take you, but you can go home afterwards, do your research and go back to the business a few days later for something else and initiate that same opening conversation.
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  • Profile picture of the author byom
    thanks for the idea
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  • Profile picture of the author myob
    What I do is attend trade shows (no booth), and just network with the vendors. Collect their business cards and followup with my offer(s). This is usually faster, better, and cheaper than having a booth.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Marshall
      Originally Posted by myob View Post

      What I do is attend trade shows (no booth), and just network with the vendors. Collect their business cards and followup with my offer(s). This is usually faster, better, and cheaper than having a booth.
      Sounds like another good approach.

      Do you introduce yourself and start talking about their website whilst at the trade show or do you just go to the trade show and quietly collect the business cards and approach them later?
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      • Profile picture of the author palmtreelife
        Also interested in hearing myob's response to your question, but if it were me, I would collect and network, but not so quietly. These vendors are at a trade show to sell THEIR products and services and not as much to be SOLD by someone else's products or services. I would not collect cards so quietly though. It's very important that the vendors can put a face and voice to the name that comes into their inbox a day or two later when you write and say "hey, we met yesterday at the trade show. I was looking at your website for more information and it's garbage ...." or whatever you feel is best to say
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      • Profile picture of the author myob
        Originally Posted by John Marshall View Post

        Sounds like another good approach.

        Do you introduce yourself and start talking about their website whilst at the trade show or do you just go to the trade show and quietly collect the business cards and approach them later?
        I briefly engage with them to see if there is any commonality or entry point. Keep in mind they are also focused on generating leads and sales. My primary focus is to find out who the decision makers are for the company, which generally are not the ones manning the booths.

        I collect business cards after speaking with them, write down the contact information, then call within a few days or so. I may send out post cards to the ones I can't reach right away. I would never prospect these particular leads by email, primarily because that can dilute your marketing leverage. However, it is essential to have a strong online presence because they will check you out.

        My introduction is generally to compliment them on the booth and staff, then open with a relevant bold power offer (big claim, ie: "I am going to show you a product that will increase your sales 40% guaranteed"), but other than that it's not much more than a cold call. Be professional, and resist the common tendency to act overly familiar.

        Since you live near an exhibition center, you are literally sitting on a perpetual lead generating goldmine!
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        "If you're a true warrior, competition doesn't scare you. It makes you better." - Andrew Whitworth
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        • Profile picture of the author John Marshall
          Thanks, myob. Most appreciated

          I was trying to understand how you go about it because, as you say, they are there to sell not buy. To clarify, you do this:

          1. Compliment them on their booth/product/service.

          2. Ask them "I am going to show you a product that will increase your sales 40% guaranteed" and see how they react.

          3. The objective of the call is to open the conversation and to get the contact information if at all possible.

          Any other tips?
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  • Profile picture of the author kyurin
    What bothers me with this is the businesses are there to promote and sell their own products and probably not looking to buy services from others.

    It would be a good idea to call all of them (or email them) beforehand and book a short meeting at the venue if they are interested to update their websites.
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  • Originally Posted by John Marshall View Post

    Hi,

    I live near an exhibition centre and I could easily attend the trade shows there. I've looked at some of the exhibitors attending a show there and some of the websites are quite old or don't look all that good.

    How would you approach these businesses with a view to updating their website?

    John
    You can pull the website up on your cell, and see if it is mobile friendly. If not, point that out to them and explain to them that they are losing leads and sales because of this. Explain to them the importance of having a mobile friendly site, and show them the difference between their site and a mobile friendly one. Then, offer your services, ie, creating that are mobile friendly.
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  • Profile picture of the author cearionmarie
    Attract them or drive their attention to you. If you are going to have your own both then let it be catchy, one that will get their attention. Provide some visual aid that would make things easier to understand. Something that will entice their curiosity.
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  • Profile picture of the author anandsama1990
    let them know with your past work experience and projects....show them the past project digital marketing benefits and aware them about updation their websites
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  • Profile picture of the author Tiara Mueller
    You don't sell to businesses, you sell to people.

    It's not fishing where you catch them in a web or hook them on a line and slowly wear them out until you can easily pull them in and then chop off their heads, tails & scales.

    It's not milking them like cows, injecting them with drugs or feeding them to extract the maximum amount of milk for two years then selling them to the meatworks.


    They are real human beings who are trying to do the best they can in this short fragile life.


    That is sales.

    If that is too complicated then;

    Tell the truth attractively.
    Be nice
    Keep a smile on your dial
    Use their name
    Look at their eyes, don't look up, down or sideways
    Be patient, many times you are going to have to suck up their anger towards you and the pain they feel
    Touch them in ways not just limited to the physical. Show them you care. Bandaging up the wounded takes compassion
    Finally, all relationships are a gamble - an educated guess.

    You've got to,

    Know when to hold 'em
    Know when to fold 'em
    And, know when to walk away.
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  • Profile picture of the author AdamGLM
    I have sold website designs at trade shows, via cold calling/email, and through inbound methods. Here is what I will tell you.
    1. If their website sucks, they probably know it. They either don't care, can't afford a better one, have a design in process, or are actively looking to get it upgraded. You will be surprised how many people have crappy websites and just don't care.
    2. If their website sucks, they are already getting sold to a ton. You won't be the first person calling or emailing them. So how are you going to stand out enough to get them to talk to you, let alone buy from you?
    3. Trade shows are most effective for people that have very outgoing personalities who can make friends easily and quickly. Go to the luncheons/dinners, golf events, or whatever else they have going on that allow you to socialize. Make friends first and then let them find out that you do web design afterwards.
    4. If you are going to pay for a booth, then you need to work it hard. I have been to trade shows / conferences and sold $60k+ marketing agreements. I have also gone and not sold anything. Stand up, smile, chit chat, participate in the event so you know what is going on and what people are saying about it, collect contact information from everyone, send LinkedIn connection requests, send follow up emails, add people to drip campaigns, find out who is going to be there before hand and send marketing flyers/emails (Advertise your booth.), give stuff away, talk to the other vendors and build your network for referrals, find guest post opportunities, offer to help as many people as you can, and have a booth that stands out. What I am getting at is that you can't just show up and expect it to work.
    5. Consider running display ads.

    Hope the above helps.

    Adam
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    All marketing works. Knowing what marketing is supposed to do is the problem.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Marshall
      Thanks, Adam. A dose of reality and some great advice from someone who obviously knows what they are talking about.
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    • Profile picture of the author palmtreelife
      1. If their website sucks, they probably know it. They either don't care, can't afford a better one, have a design in process, or are actively looking to get it upgraded. You will be surprised how many people have crappy websites and just don't care.
      I agree that this happens, but is it really the norm? If someone doesn't care that their website sucks, then they really don't understand the money they're leaving on the table. Even if the website is just for brand awareness and not any direct sales. If that's the case, they will never be an ideal customer.

      However, I feel like if you explain yourself properly and demonstrate real value by showing a demo and explaining to them what a proper website can do for their business, that should change their mind and have them caring a lot more about their crappy website?

      2. If their website sucks, they are already getting sold to a ton. You won't be the first person calling or emailing them. So how are you going to stand out enough to get them to talk to you, let alone buy from you?
      Everyone receives cold calls to be sold on everything and anything. The pitches are generally the same, but the cold calling industry is still alive and well. The same could be said about cold callers - what's going to make you stand out from the rest? The same answer applies to fixing a crappy website - simply have a better pitch than the others.

      We're all online marketers and we're all trying to do it a little better than the next person. I wouldn't be concerned if 1000 people have tried to get their business to fix their website. I would still give it my unique shot.

      M2C
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  • Profile picture of the author LindyUK
    I'll tell you a little story re my Daughter and trade shows. My adopted Dad and I own a very large Agency, 76 staff now, but we started off with affiliate marketing and so on. When Sherri was 14 he convinced her to start her own IM business and website, and she chose drop-shipping teen clothes from the US and selling via her website to other students at her high school. Over time she was able to extend her promotions to a number of schools.


    Go forward and she is now 16, still at school and going very well (for a 16 year old) with her business. John (my Dad) and I had just written the monthly newsletter that we send to our business clients, and one article was about QR Codes and how to use them, as well as how to make them for free using online generators. Sherri took our draft copy to read and came back saying she was starting a QR business and asking us to take out the list of QR Code Generators and to put her advertisement in it's place. She set up a one page website using most of our article plus order and payment system. As soon as the newsletter was published she started to get orders. She was charging £20 for something she could do for free in about 5 minutes flat, including emailing them the QR Code.



    Few months later we were going to a trade show and Sherri (still 16) decided to use the three days to promote her QR business. She had business cards made with her own QR Code printed on them. At the trade show she just approached anyone and everyone, exhibitors or visitors, knowing that most of them owned business's. She would just approach someone, start to chat, ask for their business card and if it didn't have a QR Code she would show them hers, scan it with her phone and show them her website.



    In the three days she got hundreds of orders, so many she enlisted the help of two of her school friends to make them for her. I think she paid them £2 for each QR Code they made, which was still very good pocket money for the girls who were churning them out, but even better money for Sherri. lol. She is 22 now, still makes money from the QR Codes but also has four other IM business's and two High Street Fashion Boutiques, selling her own labeled clothing and accessories lines. (sourced from Chinese manufacturers via Alibaba.) She also has a 51% share in a computer repair business that she set up for her boyfriend and recently bought a 50% share of an old fashioned lolly shop in town. She built the customer base for their computer repair business and doing the marketing for both those business's as well as her Boutiques. Yes I know I went on a treat but I am very proud of her.


    Back to the trade shows. She got most of her success with approaching visitors, as usually those running the stands are run off their feet, but she still left them her card and brochure.. She had a very casual friendly approach, not salesy at all but just showing them what she could offer. (She also gave out her business card and an A4 folded brochure) And she had a low price point that they could hardly say no to. One thing she picked up on right away was that there were hundreds of exhibitors but thousands of visitors, and most would be business people if the trade show is directed towards them. Plus they were the easiest to approach. The exhibitors are there to sell not buy. The visitors are the ones in the buying mood.



    Hope you might get something out of that story.
    Cheers
    Lindy
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    • Profile picture of the author palmtreelife
      It's so great you guys got involved in IM at a young age. Your dad is a smart guy to recognize the new face of business and get his kids involved young. Did Sherri go to college?
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      • Profile picture of the author LindyUK
        Hello palmtreelife


        I actually met my Dad online in a chatroom when I was 24 and Sherri was 8. It's a long story but he first started to give m some advice and help, for a week or two he said. Then I convinced him to mentor me, after he had said no a hundred times (or seemed). Then I finally asked him to be my Dad and Sherri's GrandDad and he said yes.


        I don't post in WF very often but I have often talked about my life in hope it would inspire others. I actually brought this up again in another reply post the same day as I made the one in here. This is the thread if you want to read it.
        When is the right time to stop IM?


        No Sherri didn't go to college even though she was a top student compared to me. The last of High School she wanted to be home schooled so we arranged a tutor for her. This way she could race through her school work in half a day then get back to her IM business's. She was already making more than her teachers anyway so the decision to let her do that was easy. Thank you for your comments.



        Cheers
        lindy
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  • Profile picture of the author LindyUK
    Hello John


    I'll have to add to the story I told about Sherri as that was more just aimed at how she made hundreds of sales at a trade show, and I just noticed that you were being more specific in - "How would you approach these businesses with a view to updating their website?"


    I like myob's advice about just collecting information from the exhibitors and following up later. The reasoning here is that many of the stands would just be manned by staff and even if the owner was present he would be concentrating on gaining new clients or customers for his own business. I also liked Julia's (Strategic SEO) reply and I will add to that in a minute. Not so keen on the idea of setting up your own booth, trade show space is usually very expensive, high hundreds to thousands of dollars plus the cost of your actual stand which can be similar costs. And then you are only talking with those that approach you and if you are a one man show and getting a reasonable number of visits you will find it hard to have a conversation with someone without ignoring others who visit at the same time.


    Then you have the biggest problem, you are unknown and untrusted and trying to sell them on a reasonably high priced re-design. If you do convince them that they need it many will go back to their original web designer to have it done. We have 14 very experienced sales people spread throughout England and they would even have problems trying to sell a high priced service to a cold prospect on a cold call.



    So we use a "foot in the door" sales method by first offering some low priced service that would help them. So you have collected their cards after a quick chat as myob outlined. (can be from exhibitors or visitors - and remember the largest number of business owners at the show are going to be the visitors if it is a trade show directed at business's. So now after the trade show you have time to look through the cards you collected and identify problems with websites. One problem that we find a lot is no contact form on their website, so they have no way of following up anyone who has visited their website. We show them this, explain why they need it and offer to add a contact form to their website for a very low cost. Then we have upgrades that can give us monthly residual income. The first is that we can link an autoresponder to the form so they can send newsletters and offers to their list. They send us the written newsletter or offer and we upload it and schedule for sending. A second upgrade is that they supply us with some information and news about their business and we write the newsletter for them. (we use writers from Fiverr) We can usually sell one or both of these upgrades as not many business owners want to learn how to use an autoresponder, they sound complicated high tech. Now we are not only generating residual income but they are getting to know us and we are building trust that we can then use to sell them on other services.


    Now to Julia's advice on need for mobile responsive websites. That's a major redesign so they are up for high costs. If they balk at that we have another option, we can take their existing website and make a mobile responsive version. You add a small script to their existing website which redirects any visitors that are using cellphones or tablets. So we do this for £195 or about US$250, a fraction of what a new website would cost them. Then we also have a small monthly hosting fee, say US$25 a month. Building residual income again, giving us say an additional $300 a year per client, possibly ongoing for years with no additional work from us. The program we use does most of the mobile redesign in minutes and gives us a Before/After comparison which we can actually show them to help make the sale. Afterwards you might need to make a few manual tweaks for the finished site, but not much. We like to keep our prices low and make our profits on volume. Some companies charge double or more what we charge. One guy from the US told me I was making chicken feed at that price and said he charged US$750. I asked him how many he would do per month and he said at least 3. My reply was that with our lower price we did about 20 per day, so around 100 per week. Thats around 400 per month giving us $100,000 or so per month on just that service alone.. Then we are also adding another $10,000 or so residual monthly income to our pile from the hosting charges. And it only takes 3 girls to do those websites so not a lot of cost at all. I much rather get my chicken feed $250 rather than his rooster feed $750. But I didn't tell him that lol.


    Next idea can be used for the small business's you mentioned that don't have a website. Many of these can not afford the $1500 or more for a website, but they could afford say $100 a month plus hosting to lease one. So say $100 month lease, thats $1200 per year. Plus hosting say $25 a month is another $300. So thats $1500 per year anyway but your getting this for as long as they continue to lease the website, so usually year after year after year. You need to have your own hosting to both build residual income as well as stop anyone from moving their website and stop paying you. We have our own hosting company but you can get shared server reseller accounts at many hosting companies. A reseller account may cost you up to $75 a month but you can host just heaps of websites. It takes maybe 3 minutes to set up a hosting account then you are getting those monthly hosting payments for no additional work whatever. In your leasing agreement/contract you retain the rights to the website you design as well as specify your hosting.


    I could sit here and tell you a hundred ideas but no time for that. Hope above might help you though, even to generate similar ideas yourself.


    Cheers
    Lindy
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  • Profile picture of the author bond87
    I think the best thing to do is to consult a guru who is good at updating website that will result to more buyers
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