A Note From The Field: Selling to your neighborhood business…lessons for all.

What most business owners look like to salesmen...

I do not like to sell to businesses in my neighborhood because more often than not I don’t like the results.  It isn’t necessarily the “no” that often occurs in sales, but getting to that no that’s the problem.

I prefer to think of my local business owner as a sincere and sharper invidual than most, but a short sales call can turn around that impression in a hurry.

Sadly, most business owners would do much better if they were a little less sure of themself, a little less close minded, and this is as true as it is of your local grocery store owner as it is of the dentist across town.  Your favorite business is likely run by someone no different than most.  So when working on sales I mostly avoid my local business owner and almost always regret it whenever I don’t.

Today, for example, contacting a business facing new competition in my neighborhood is an ideal candidate for a local marketing campaign that includes a mix of direct mail, loyalty promotions, and internet marketing.  Plus we are offering
incentives to new advertisers that make this program especially attractive to a small business owner, including complimentary add ons to even a small marketing campaign.

But the business owner never learned about the promos.  He stubbornly refused to accept any information and when I explained some of the features, he mocked them.  We have, for example, QR links to custom websites we offer at no charge on direct mail pieces.  He said he had never seen a direct mail that included a website, telling me that he only sees websites on the internet.  “I have no time for you.  Sorry.”  And that ended it.

First off, I’m not going to waste my time on the stubbornly naive and unwilling to be informed business owner.  Secondly, I didn’t want to sour my impression of this business any further.  True, what he chooses to do with his business is indeed his business.  I understand that.  And I understand that business succeeds without me.

What most salesmen look like to business owners.

However that does not mean that I might not bring value to a business.

Let me suggest, however, that if you’re going to spend time — even as little as five minutes — you might as well spend that time wisely.  LISTEN!  When people listen, the often learn.  At the very least you can determine whether the offer has merit or not.  It always amazes me when people won’t listen to a salesman.  What do you have to lose?  Do people think they are so weak that a salesman might trick them into making bad decisions?

Have confidence, be bold, and listen to a salesman!  Have some backbone.  All we ask for in return is a bit of civility and professionalism.  In the end you might come out ahead…and maintain a good impression, too.  How you treat clients — and many sales people are also clients — reflects on your business.  Keep that in mind.



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