Selling to Small Businesses: Do's and Don'ts | Carmen Sognonvi

are you having a hard time selling to

small businesses are you getting doors

slammed in your face because small

business owners don't want to hear your

sales pitch hi i'm carmen sognonvi i

recently got an email from a viewer

who's struggling with that exact issue

in his business keep watching to find

out what advice I have for him by the

way if you want to get a list of the 7

tools I rely on to run all of the

marketing in my business head on over to

Carmen's and you'll be calm slash tools

I'll tell you everything from who we use

for graphic design and printing and I'll

even share with you a mobile app that

allows you to track how your fliers are

being distributed today's question comes

from a viewer we'll call Ron who lives

in Northwest Arkansas

and this is what he writes hi Carmen I

spent 30 years as a photographer for an

agency but recently struck out on my own

I thought it would be a good idea to

visit all the local merchants in my

small town to let them know about my

business photography services but they

haven't been receptive at all apart from

a few non conference confrontational

types everyone else has been either rude

or apathetic in my previous career my

job was to be the number two man through

the door who delivered the services

after they were already sold I'm

starting to wonder if I just don't have

what it takes to be the first man

through the door from my own business

what do you think thanks Ron well Ron

you have my sympathies because truth be

told selling to small business owners is

one of the toughest gigs on earth I know

this from experience not because only I

am a small business owner myself and I

know how I treat sales people to be

frank but I have actually been in a

sales position where my job was to sell

advertising to small business owners and

the home decoration home maintenance

kind of industry and it was really

really tough so you're not alone here

are three ideas that I would share with

you that may help you get better results

number one don't walk in or call now

this may take you by surprise because

you might think well if I don't walk in

or call how am I going to make

with them well there are other ways but

let me first explain why walking in or

calling as a bad idea number one walking

in as soon as someone walks through my

door I know immediately that they are

there to sell me within one second I

look at that guy in his cheap suit and

his ugly leather portfolio thing and I

am immediately on the defensive because

I know he's trying to sell me something

that I don't want and my only primary

objective is to get him out of my

business as quickly as possible that is

the harsh truth now if someone is

calling instead of walking in this is

usually what's happening on the other

side of the line in other words you're

calling you know what's happening on

your end on my end it looks like this

I'm talking to a parent of one of our

students the phone rings I pick it up I

excuse myself I pick it up it's a

salesperson he's trying to sell me

something the longer that I talked to

this guy the more waiting my students

parent has to do so my primary objective

is to get off the phone now even when I

am not actually physically face-to-face

with a customer at that point that the

phone rings I still want to get him off

the phone immediately you know why

because the longer I spend on the phone

with him the longer it takes for a

potential prospect to not be able to get

through and call my business so I never

want to stay on the phone with a

salesperson because he's disrupting my

business he's getting in the way of me

actually making money and delivering my

service so that is why I recommend that

you do not call and you do not simply

walk in unannounced so what should you

do instead I would actually recommend

doing cold emails now you may think to

yourself oh but our small business owner

is really on email they don't seem very

tech savvy blahblahblog I think this is

a huge misconception people tend to

think that just because you own a bricks

and mortar business means that you're

some kind of light dinosaur it's just

not true a lot of us are extremely tech

savvy and are running our businesses

online in terms of communication so

don't assume that just because someone

has a bricks and mortar business they

are not savvy enough to have an email

account and know how to work that thing

okay we're using email trust

now the reason that email is so much

better than calling or walking in is

because it's so much less disruptive

when I sit down to check my email I'm

there for a reason I'm kind of in like a

processing mode where I'm going through

and I'm reading things and it's on my

own time so it's not like I'm in the

middle of something and then the phone

rings and I have to stop what I'm doing

to look at that I'm already in my inbox

so I'm there to check email number two

don't copy and paste what I mean by that

is don't just write up a bland sales

pitch and then copy and paste the same

thing over and over again to every

single business what you want to do

instead is actually start with picking

one particular type of business or

industry so for example restaurants now

you want to actually hone in on a

particular problem and explain why what

you offer can be a solution so you're in

the photography business so one thing

you could do for example is to email a

restaurant and say hi I noticed that on

your Yelp page you only have you have

fewer than 10 reviews it could be

possible that this low amount of

activity is because you don't have any

photos of your dishes on your Yelp page

or on your website studies have shown

that restaurants with photos of their

dishes get 50 percent more reviews than

restaurants that don't have photos

something like that okay I made up that

statistic by the way but basically you

want to point out a specific problem

that you see potentially and explain how

your service can actually solve that

problem because the thing is with

photography business owners don't lay

awake at night in bed thinking oh if

only I had better pictures that's just

not something that happens you know

photography we know it's important we

know it's nice to have but it tends to

be on the bottom of the priority list I

mean even in our business at urban

martial arts we are very visually driven

and I'm all about good design and

branding and even with us it's been

three years since we did our last photo

shoot in terms of the karate program the

main karate program so even I who is

very visually inclined and

procrastinating big-time

getting new photos done so the more that

you can pinpoint a pain point and

explain how your service can help with


the better off you'll be number three

don't forget to make an offer now one of

the best ways to get an actual response

to your email is to have some kind of an

offer with a price tag attached in other

words don't make me have to guess how

much you're going to charge for that

because it's too much work for me if I'm

just going through those emails that

opening a paragraph that you have about

hey I notice you don't have photos maybe

that's contributing to your lack of Yelp

reviews that's going to intrigue me but

I'm not going to be intrigued enough to

go over to your website and to fill out

a form to request a quote so that I have

to have a long boring phone call with

you and find out finally how much it's

going to cost

give me some pricing information right

away now doesn't have to be your entire

price list but put together some kind of

a trial offer package that they can get

behind and that end of itself could

actually be kind of a sales point for

you because in your email you could say

something along the lines of hey you may

have thought that professional

photography was out of your budget

because you are a small business but we

actually have a small business starter

package where you can get 50 photos for

just $4.99 something like that whatever

the appropriate price would be for you

right now suddenly I have a price in

mind I can think about him does this

make sense to invest it and here's

another secret that I'll let you in on

wrong small business owners may tell you

that they have a marketing budget but

really we don't have marketing budgets

we have a rough idea of how much we

spend on marketing each month but if

something cool comes along and we think

it's worth investing in we will find the

money to pay for it that's how it is

you know because guess what we run the

show we're the boss we don't have to get

it approved by 14 corporate layers we

pull the trigger we make the decision so

just because someone says oh it's out of

a marketing budget that just means that

they're not interested if they're

actually interested they will find the

money to pay for it so that's an insider

tip for you so now that you've followed

those three tips one thing that you want

to keep in mind is don't

forget to follow up this is really

really important because guess what the

fortune is in the follow-up you've

probably heard that phrase um the first

email that you send is going to be very

easy for me to ignore when you followup

with me at first time I'm going to think

to myself huh alright maybe I should

respond if you followup with me a second

time and I didn't respond to your first

time then I'm going to be like wow this

person is really standing out from the

crowd he's really following up and at

that point I'm probably going to either

get back to you and have a conversation

or I'm going to let you know that this

is something I'm definitely not

interested in because I don't want to

hear from you anymore but either way you

have a specific answer you have a

response which is better than no

response at all so don't be afraid to

follow up if you don't hear back I would

follow-up at least four times so you

send the initial email and then send for

follow-ups and leave anywhere from three

to five business days in between each

follow-up so if you don't get a response

then follow up because we're busy and

just because we don't respond the first

time doesn't mean we're not interested

maybe we are but it will we weren't

interested enough to kind of leap off

our chair and get back to you right away

but if you keep following up then you're

going to see much better results okay so

if you found this video useful I would

encourage you to get email updates from

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video just email it to me at info at

Carmen's and you'll be calm okay it's

time for some shout outs and we're doing

another Instagram edition so if you're

not already following me over there my

handle is at Carmen soon you'll be very

easy to find so I want to shout out

Fullerton photo delia christian hasta

mate' hopefully i'm saying that right

growth hack wizard and rosin five one

seven who is actually a parent at our

karate school so thanks for following me

there Roseann thank you all for your

lovely comments I've linked up to their

profiles below so the rest of you be

sure to check them out and again thanks

for watching