b2b Business to Business

How to Sell to Other Small Businesses

By Emily Suess

Selling to small business owners might be a little easier for you than it is for large corporations. For one thing, as a Main Street business it’s going to be a lot easier to make connections and build relationships with other small business owners. These are people who know what it’s like to be in your shoes—people who know that service and value are often many times more important than a bargain price.

No matter how much you have in common with other small business owners going in, it’s important to perfect your pitch. To grow your business-to-business sales, remember what matters most to your prospective customers.

Emphasize Immediate Benefits

As much as small business owners would like to have a five- or ten-year business plan in place, most rarely get that far. In fact, many feel lucky to get next week’s marketing plan put together or come up with a working budget for the year.

That’s why it’s important to show your fellow small business owners what you can do for them right now.

Tips for emphasizing immediate benefits:

  • Share a case study showing how you solved a similar problem for another business in just days or weeks.
  • Estimate how much time the business could recover for other tasks if it acquired your services today.
  • Draw an immediate connection between your product or service and its influence on their bottom line.

Talk About Value, Not Price

Selling on price is simple: you undercut your competitors whenever possible to make the sale. The problem is that price is rarely the only thing a small business owner will consider when it’s time to buy. You need to explain to them how buying from you provides the best overall value, and that’s a little trickier.

In order to illustrate the value of your product or service, you have to truly understand your customer’s business and their need for quality, dependability, and convenience. They’ll likely pay more for clear-cut value.

Example value statements:

  • Switching to our service is hassle-free.
  • Buy online and repeat your last order in two clicks!
  • We’re the only company with 24-hour customer service.
  • Pay for what you need. We make it easy to upgrade or downgrade at any time.

Let Your Loyalty Show

It’s common practice to offer referral rewards to your loyal customers, but try turning the tables on this one. Show them you’re loyal, too! Show them you understand that the small business world is connected and that when other small businesses succeed, you do too.

Tips for showing loyalty:

  • Recommend your customers’ businesses to family, friends, and the rest of your network. (Ask for business cards to share.)
  • Shop at your customers’ businesses.
  • Collaborate with your customers on promotions or community events.

When it’s time to pitch to other small businesses, the key is to remember the importance of immediate benefits, real value, and loyalty. Take advantage of your small business knowledge, and you’ll be several steps ahead of your big business competition.

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Emily Suess
Emily Suess is a full-time technical marketing writer in the software industry and a part-time freelance copywriter. To learn more about marketing your small business online, check out her copywriting blog, Say It With Me.

1 comment

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  1. Thank you, for this really useful blog post. Not sure if I reflect immediate benefits in terms of how quickly what I do will work for someone. Its hard to do that without sounding like I am making promises that might not come to fruition.

    Even if I share the immediate benefits of other members who have joined it doesn’t mean if someone joins their business will gain the same benefits within the same timeframe.

    I can definitely mention how much time people save when they join though because that is a true one. I do save them a whole load of time compared to if they try to do it all alone.

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