Selling To Small Business

Selling To Small Business - Strategies to help you sell to small business entrepreneurs

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Small Things Count in Selling to Small Business

Guest Contributor: Albert Luk
Albert's Posts - Albert's Site


I recently discovered that my financial broker, a large multi-national company, has a department devoted solely to transfer requests. All day, clerks sit and deal with requests to transfer money in and out of other financial institutions. I would suspect, after a while, the clerks would be quite good at these forms.

Small business owners do not have this same luxury of being so specialized in their tasks. Owner-managers have to be schizophrenic- they do everything from strategic planning to taking out the garbage. Their typical day is a jam-packed and they don't have too many waking moments to think things through.

Thus, I am often surprised when companies that sell to small business make small business owners take time out of their already packed day to think about a sale. The best way to a sale is to present a trouble-free sales proposition to their potential client. So why do businesses not do that?

Let me give you a real life example from Malcolm Gladwell's book The Tipping Point (a great general interest book with practical business applications). In his chapter about the "stickness" of trends, Galdwell summarized a study where university students were more likely to get immunization shots if the informational piece on the subject had a map to the health centre. The key factor was always the insertion of the map; no matter how different the copy was written, a higher percentage of students obtained immunization shots if there was a map present.

What I got out of that study is that people know what to do (i.e. go to the health centre to get an immunization shot) but small things help jog their memory and serve as an impetus to a call to action (i.e.: here is a map as your call to action). More often than not businesses presume that SME's have enough time to think through the smaller things in order to take the call to action.

Let me give you a few practical examples of companies missing the small things:

  1. Email/newsletter campaigns that set out the benefits of a product or service but do not imbed in the copy who to call to find out more information. Instead, the phone number is buried in the footer of the email/newsletter.

  2. In the financial industry, failure to set out what steps are required to actually purchase the product being pitched. Do I call an advisor or broker? Can I buy through my existing accounts? What paperwork is required?
  1. Products/goods aimed at multiple markets but the company fails to obtain a 1-800 number to support sales calls or fails to put in the address of the local office where there is one.

One of the best examples I ever saw of a company thinking of the small things was a financial firm that gave a prospects a checklist of what would happen next when they became a client- simple, effective and trouble-free for the client.

Next time you are thinking of making a sale think about the small things to increase your effectiveness. This my last post this year so have a great holiday season!

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Selling To Small Business