Since I joined the warrior forum, and more specifically the War Room I have had a great chance to engage in some awesome learning and debate with some like minded business people across a broad range of topic. It has been awesome and I seriously feel like I can not turn my head here without learning something new or getting something amazing for free.
I know in the Internet universe it is typical in landmark posts (100th,1000th etc) to give something back to the forum either through something tangible or some sort of knowledge so here it is.
As well as the local marketing consulting I do, I am also a partner in quite a successful franchise and prior to that ran a independent retail operation in the same industry as that franchise. This gives the me unique perspective of someone who not only is trying to sell marketing products to small businesses, but also as someone who people try to sell those same products to on a almost daily basis.
I am have been actively developing some training materials on how to develop a relationship with local businesses that is profitable for both you and them for the last few months. I plan on maybe releasing as a WSO in the not too distant future.
This got me thinking and for my 100th post rather try and convey something some marketing gem that depending on peoples niche they may or may not find helpful I have decided to give you the perspective of a business owner who you are trying to sell to.
I hope you find it enlightening and it helps you all in your endeavours.
Over the last 5 years I have fielded approximately 1600 telemarketing calls and have only ever purchased a service from one. This is not because I am one of those people who hangs up as soon as they find out you're a telemarketer. It is because most of these sales calls are terrible!
The first thing I am going to want to know is why I need what you are promoting to me. This sounds bleedingly obvious but it is amazing how many people call me and say something like “I can give you SEO to get your site to number 1 for keywords x and y” and I will ask them why I need this and there will be silence.
Secondly if you come across as just wanting to close a deal with me and you are clearly not interested in helping me make more money then I will hang up that receiver faster than you can say but wait there is more.
The third one is do not be afraid to cut the call short and ring another day. In business people tend to get emotional. Business owners have bad days, and just because we are listening to you and seem to like your product or service does not mean you are not outstaying your welcome on the phone. Knowing when to back out of a call, is key. A simple question like “Hey mate you sound pretty busy there, is there a better time to call you back this week” will be far more likely to land you a sale than just pressing on when I have to put the phone down frequently because my staff come into my office every 2 minutes to ask stupid question.
2) Walk Ins
As far as selling to local businesses goes this is pretty much the ducks nuts. If you walk in to one of my businesses while I am there and I am not flatout there is a pretty good chance I will at least say g’day to you, in fact I think you will find most people will due to common courtesy.
Having said that if I say I am really busy, then introduce yourself and ask if you can come back another time. Give me some info on what you do and ask if there is a good time to come see me. If I say not really, take the hint, I am probably having a bad day. Email me in a few days time or warm call me and I will probably have a chat. If you do not know my email address just ask me, I am a business and I am used to giving my cards away to everyone and their dog soI will most likely give it to you.
The most common walk ins I get are the local newspaper. If print advertising worked for my business (it doesn’t) they would probably get a lot of business from me just because they always know how to approach me and they can take a hint and come back.
If your email starts "dear friend/business owner/amigo/whatever it will end up in the trash before I read it without a question.
I get approx 40-70 emails a day that I actually NEED to action, I do not need to read the other 30-70 I get that are just trying to sell me ink cartridges I do not need or want. To avoid sounding like a spammer find out my name (it’s Simon by the way). It is not that hand just call and ask whoever answers the phone for the managers email address and name. They will usually tell you. Its not like you are asking for my home address and the school my kids go to.
Make sure the email makes you sound relevant and ALWAYS follow it up with a warm call. If you rely on emails to sell to small business owners on their own you will be in a constant state of disappointment. There have been many times I have been interested in a product someone emailed me about but they never called so I never purchased.
4) Being scammy
This goes without saying but unforudently it needs to be said. Us local business people in your area talk to each other. A lot. And if you do a dodgy on one of us then the repercussions will be felt in your hip pocket. I got done by a “fire hydrant tech” who said he was here to check my extinguishers. I have a contract with a company that does this every few months and costs $75 so I assumed he was from them. Three days later I got a bill for $899 from a different company. Long story short I never paid him and I emailed everyone I knew plus all the listings in the local chamber about him and even emailed all the businesses I could find in his hometown about him. He went out of business and I kept my cash.
If you are in the habit of sending invoices for advertisements I never ordered in magazines that have a print run of 60 that have “this is not an invoice it is a solicitation” written in fine print then I wish hell upon you.
5) You sold me something! Hurray! Now do NOT wreck the respect and trust you have earned by going do I want this, do I want that, I will also need this. You will do much better if you just take your contract and run. Let me see how you perform and then come back to me and try and sell me your other products. If I am a happy user then I will probably not only buy more from you, I will tell my mates to as well.
6) Price yourself honestly
Nothing will incite my wrath than me buying your product and signing up for your service and then finding out that I am being ripped off. Now I personally do my research before signing, but a lot of others do not. DO NOT USE THIS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. It will bite you in the ass in a big way eventually.
Note: Honestly does not mean being the cheapest. If you are twice as expensive as option B but you are three times better let me know and be proud of it. I do not buy to for price point, I buy for a quality standard.
7) Do not lie
If you can not do something be honest. If you think it is going to be impossible to do a certain run of flyers in a certain time frame do not say you can and hope you can figure it out later. This goes for everything and is an extension to do not be scammy, but I thought it deserved its own quick note.
8) Give me something for free
Seriously. Drop by and give me a pen with your name on it or something. Or a DVD about SEO. Or a goldfish (yes it happened). Nothing is more likely to make my pockets open up than you showing me some form of generosity. The more imaginative the better.
I really hope that you have all managed to get something worthwhile out of this and please if you have any feedback let me know below . I am sure there are many grammar and spelling errors, but I can not be bothered proof reading right now. As I mentioned at the start I am making a course about effectively marketing services and products to small businesses that may or may not become a WSO. If you are interested in it click the link in my signature and I will let you know more about it as it develops.