Small business owners are typically more focused on surviving rather than thriving. This makes them a peculiar breed to sell to. They also work really hard and expect their vendors to work just as hard as their own employees; which isn’t a very realistic expectation to have.
However, if small business owners make up a major chunk of your prospects, you’ll simply have to follow a sales approach which will address their concerns as well as match their expectations.
Let’s see how you can successfully sell to small business owners, get into long-term business contracts with them and even get some referrals while you’re at it.
1. Help them without expectations
Small business owners hold their pockets so tightly. So, forget closing a deal with them on the very first call. Instead, be helpful and demonstrate your value to them without being too pushy in your approach.
Without seeing any short term gains, you cannot expect a small business owner to invest in the long-term gains that you’re going on about. Make sure you offer them a free POC and align your value with the resources of your small business customer.
If your product or service demands long-term investment before they can see any results, you will have to take it up a notch and convince them why it’s worth the wait.
You might also have to adapt to their financial limitations until they see value in your product and are ready to pay a premium price.
2. Prove your value
Funds are a major constraint for small businesses. Owners are often worried about covering their expenses and making some sort of profit. Although they were ready to take a leap of faith to start their business, their risk appetite would have depleted by the time you’re ready with your sales pitch.
This would mean that demonstrating your value is the key. But it’s not hard to do either. Trustworthy reviews, client testimonials, third party verifications and even brand partnerships act as social proof that can convince a small business owner that you will deliver the value you claim. However, transparency is crucial with small businesses; remember, even small traces of doubt could land your sales email in the dreaded “seen zone”.
3. Be consistent
It goes without saying that when dealing with small businesses, your sales promises have to be kept, or even exceeded to keep the deal intact. You must make sure that your account management team handles the deal with the same enthusiasm or you can expect a quick churn.
Small business owners don’t want to spend money without demonstrable returns, so they won’t think twice before cutting you out, if at all the service quality drops. Your grace period mileage may vary, but make sure you make it count.
4. Make referrals simple
Generally, there exists a community among small business owners and they take referrals very seriously. If you manage to help one small business owner who can vouch for your value, others will be willing to give you a shot.
To enable this, make sure you have your referral program prominently displayed on all channels where you contact your customers. This way, you can ride the wave of success with your customers’ referrals and thus keep expanding your customer base of SMBs.
5. Continue educating to sell more
Once you’ve won a small business owner as your customer, don’t toss them into a generic up sell and cross sell drip campaign with little more than some canned marketing material.
You should continue to educate your customer, share personalised information and above all, consider them as your friend to earn their trust. As we mentioned earlier, small businesses trust slower, but if you have the patience to nurture them, you can expect their loyalty and even openness to buy something else from you.
6. Have a hassle-free refund policy
When dealing with a small business owner, you should know that they are scared of losing money. They would be more open to doing business with you, if you take away this fear from them. Having a hassle-free refund policy is one of the easiest ways to tackle this problem.
Make sure you let them know that you understand what it’s like to be a small business owner to win their trust.
Hope these tips help you sell more and drop a comment if you have something to add.