Having a group of growing small business owners attracts a lot of attention from people who want to sell to them. I have received calls from insurance companies, bankers, real estate brokers, and countless other B2B vendors who want to sell their products and pitch to my groups.
They are taking the entirely wrong approach. Entrepreneurs do not want to be sold to and therefore nobody is allowed into the groups to pitch their products. Very few account managers realize this and stumble back to their offices wondering why they cannot break into the SMB market.
Then I was contacted by Jordan from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). The BDC has a number of small business financing options and Jordan was interested in discussing how we might be able to work together. Jordan is a young guy but understands the importance of relationship building - he wanted to meet and get to know the members instead of handing out literature and promoting his products right off the bat.
Because of Jordan's approach, he is going to get in to meet the groups where many other companies have failed. For the event on Tuesday, Jordan is sponsoring the food and will be the only non-business owner in the room. He will have a captive audience and no competitors to worry about because he is there for the right reasons. I am sure the members of my groups will take well to his approach, making him the default supplier they turn to when it comes time to financing their businesses.
The message is a simple one: Get involved in the small business community and build trust with entrepreneurs instead of trying to come in and sell your products. By doing so you will not only be more successful and surpass your quotas but have a lot more fun in the process.