I hope this helps when talking to small business owners...
As an offline business owner I get a lot of sales calls and sales people stopping in my place of business. Everyone from stockbrokers, real estate brokers, carpet cleaners and sales people selling internet marketing strategies. In fact, I had two different IM'ers drop in last month alone.
I am a firm believer in talking with every salesperson that comes in my door (even if it is for five minutes). By following this mindset, I have not only made very good friends but also I have made great business contacts that I still have today.
Although my company runs almost all of our IM in-house I especially make it a point to talk with IM'ers walking in my place of business. Because I may end up hiring one in the future J
Anyway here is a quick overview of what I look for in the IM's that walk in my door. I hope this helps when talking to small business owners...
- They must be polite to everyone they met at my place of business. A salesperson should never think they can be rude the receptionist at the door and polite to the business owner. In many small businesses, the receptionist may be a family member or the spouse of the owner.
I had one guy come in demanding to see the owner of the business and said he didn't want to talk to anyone but the owner. The reason he was so demanding was because he said he was an IM'er who could teach us how to double our sales by following his Internet marketing advice. (Little did he realize he was already talking to the owner.)
One thing IM'ers should keep in mind when they walk into the door of a small business is it is as if they are walking into the home of the business owner. Many small business owners (SBO) live at their businesses 10-12 hours per day. Many don't appreciate it when a person they have never met before walks into their business who is impolite or rude.
- If the owner of the business tells you they are busy and asks you to leave a business card and a brochure, please don't continue to try to sell them. The SBO may be very busy. You may have caught him/her in the middle of an important meeting or just walking out the door. Leave a business card and make a note to follow up.
- Make the sales appointment early in the morning. I really like it when a sales person says she will meet me in my office at 7:00AM. It not only shows me she is an aggressive sales person but she also understands how hectic late morning or afternoon hours can be at a small business.
By meeting the SBO early in the morning you will have a better meeting. The phones aren't ringing off the hook or their store isn't packed with customers. This will allow the SBO to really listen to your presentation and fully understand what you are offering.
- If an SBO asks you the call them or meet with them at a specific time...don't be late. Just like you, SBO's have very business schedules. Nothing is worse than waiting for someone who is 15 minutes late for a call or meeting. If you are going to be late, give them a call and let them know.
- Don't oversell your services. About six months an IM'er walked into my store and after five minutes of talking with him, I agreed to meet him later in the week to further discuss his IM services. Unfortunately, he oversold his services.
Within fives minutes of our meeting he pulled out his presentation binder and all that he was going to do for my company was to install McAfee Anti-virus on my computers ($350 charge) and charge us $500 per month (a six month contract) to tell us how to use Google Adwords (he wasn't even going to manage our keywords account, because he said he didn't know how to). He simply oversold his services.
I hope this helps, let me know
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If you are in the process of creating a product that teaches offline business owners how to market their businesses and products online; Or if you are looking for guests to interview for your blog talk radio show, etc. for this niche maybe I can help.
You see, I have owned an offline store since 2001. My offline business sells gourmet food products locally, nationally and internationally. I have experience in distributing products via distributors, wholesalers and brokers.
I can offer valuable firsthand insight to your readers/listeners to what offline business owners are looking for when they are contacted by Internet marketers selling internet marketing and consulting services.