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Selling to Small Business Owners

Opportunities to sell to small businesses aren’t hard to come by. 99.9% of all businesses in the US are small- to medium-sized, which equates to about 31.7 million SMBs. Such a vast sector provides plenty of chances to reach a receptive audience.

Successfully selling to small businesses isn’t an easy feat though. This market comes with a unique set of challenges. As complex as it can be, there are, however, a few noteworthy principles that hold true for sales in this market. Whether you’re selling to solopreneurs or founders with a small team, here are two strategies you can use to refine your B2B sales method to close more small businesses.

Dial into their mindset

Small businesses operate differently. While large enterprise corporations usually have firm operational boundaries where each employee’s responsibilities are clearly defined, the working parameters for small teams can be a little more blurred. Small teams tend to have an “all hands on deck” mentality. It doesn’t matter if a certain task falls within a team member’s assigned wheelhouse or not. If they see a problem, they’re inclined to pitch in and help fix it however they can. They focus on real problems and want solutions that actually work.

Because small business owners wear many hats, they’re strapped for time and are hesitant to introduce new systems they aren’t convinced will deliver. They want to know how your solution will help them solve the specific problems they’re facing today.

Small business owners don’t want you to sell to them — they want you to build a genuine relationship with them.

These owners are trying to figure out if you truly understand their business needs and objectives. Understanding them means you can speak to them in their own language and use terminology that’s familiar to them. You connect with them on their level, empathize with the pain points they’re dealing with right now, and want to help them achieve their goals.

Give them a “need to have”, not a “nice to have”

Once you’ve dialed into their mindset, you should have a good understanding of what constitutes a “need” from your target small business owner’s perspective. The best way to motivate these owners to buy is by selling them something they can’t operate without. Your solution should be so good that once they start using it, they wonder how they ever got by previously.

Selling a “need to have” to small business owners means you demonstrate value.

Tight budgets and narrow operating margins are often the norm for small businesses. They make every penny count and don’t quickly commit to large purchases. Small business owners lean toward inexpensive options, but they’re willing to invest if you can prove the value they’ll get out of the purchase.

For these owners to pay a premium, they need to see how your solution helps them reach their long-term goals. Show them exactly how it resolves the immediate problem they’re facing so they can reach their business objectives faster, easier, or more effectively. Demonstrating consistent value over time gives you a better chance at convincing them the investment is worth it.

The art of selling to small businesses is one that takes time to refine. If you need help narrowing your target audience in this sector, use our guide to pinpoint your ideal SMB leads. Having a focused audience will help you craft a marketing strategy that maximizes your results.

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