How to Sell Marketing Services to Small Businesses

Small business owners are an odd sub-set of people with hundreds of personal reasons for running a business, but one common ambition to successfully build something of their very own. If your selling marketing services, even if it’s only 10 hours a week, you are essentially a small business owner. Knowing the desires and fears of a small business owner is an advantage you have over big companies who are trying to figure out how to appeal to small businesses.

Selling Marketing Services to Small Businesses

You’re now a small business selling to small businesses… so how are you going to sell your marketing services?

How do you convince a prospect that you have the solution to their problem?

That you will make their life easier?

That you’ll help them get what?

Getting this right is the fine art of SELLING! Successful salesmen know it’s all about offering the right product, to the right person, in the right way.

When dealing with smaller businesses, you’ll find that most of them aren’t impressed, much less interested, in hearing about all the bells and whistles that make the magic happen. They just want whatever result you promised, and the most crucial part of selling is proving that you can deliver on that promise.

How to Sell Marketing to Small Businesses HEADER Offline Sharks

Get to Know What Prospects Want Help With

Notice I didn’t say, “Find out what the prospects need.” Specifically, you’ll need to know what the small business is willing to pay someone to do for them.

I can look at a business real quick and see that a business needs a lot of work…

  • Hasn’t claimed GMB
  • Slow site speed
  • No reviews or testimonials
  • No location data on website

And I have services that can take care of all those problems, but chances are that any small business owner isn’t going to be receptive to a stranger telling them, “You’re doing everything wrong, but I can fix it all for a thousand dollars.”

Again, I might know what they need, but I don’t know what they are willing to get help with.

Create opportunities to talk to business owners, and then do more listening than talking.

Ask more questions and do less selling!

When you find out what their digital marketing goals are, and learn what they hate doing the most (or what is the most time consuming), you can position your services as a solid solution to the problems they think they have.

So, while you may know the real problem is this one thing, selling them on solutions to the problems they think are most important is an easier sell. Once you have them as a client and they trust you (because of your excellent track record for results and stellar client service) you can educate them on the benefits of a more holistic marketing approach and upsell your additional services.

You’re Selling Value, Not Pricing

Pricing is important, and something that should be solidly established early on through competitive research. You can try to win customers through low pricing, but a race to the bottom of the cheap services bin is a lose-lose situation for you and the clients. That’s why pricing competitively and provided added value is how you will attract, win, and retain small business clients.

Plus, selling value is much easier than selling dollar signs. That’s why we, as consumers, pour over comparison charts when researching our purchases – we want to see what we are getting for the price. No small business owner wants to purchase services based solely on price, but if you don’t show them the value of your services over others, they are likely to purchase the cheapest option of what they perceive are similar offers.

[Check out these examples of value propositions for inspiration.]

Part of the value of your services is the business owner knowing you are going to be around when things aren’t working, that using your service is painless to switch to and use, and that this is finally the solution that will solve their problems. There is a value in that assurance that makes even premium pricing for the right services attractive.

So how do you prove you’re the right service provider? BY BUILDING TRUST. Know that building trust with business owners isn’t easy, but it is simple:

  1. Build a relationship by educating, not selling
  2. Prove you understand their business by using their language
  3. Show how the service has worked for similar businesses

When you find out what they value and their timeline and budget, selling is ten times easier.

Build Trusts Sell Marketing Services Offline Sharks

It’s important to note that timeline and budget are great qualifiers (and disqualifiers) you should get early. That’s why you need to be clear on your pricing BEFORE you approach businesses if you’re just starting.

Price too low and you’re contributing to a perception of low value and low quality. But when you price too high, you’re quickly disqualifying business willing to pay a fair price but unwilling to pay big company prices for their small business needs.

Perception is Reality When Selling to Small Businesses

Perception of the value of your services is wrapped up in your brand, and it is speaking to your prospects before you utter your first word, send your first email, or display your first ad. You need to be perceived as the right provider for needed services and to do that you need to specialize. This is especially true for new and young businesses trying to grow their client base.

One of the best ways to compete in a crowded market is to niche down and specialize for a competitive edge over your competitors.

As you continue to grow, it’s natural to diversify into new services you can provide to current and future clients for additional revenue, but specializing is how you’ll convince a small business that you’re the right pick to solve the problem they perceive they need solving. The best way to compete in a crowded market is to niche down and specialize for a competitive edge over your competitors.

Happy Small Business Clients are Your Best Salesman

Loyalties run deeper when you are trying to build your own business. You’ll find that small business owners are very loyal to businesses that are loyal to them. If you provide the results promised in a way that is easy and affordable to them, they will trust you.

When clients trust you, they not only keep buying from you, but they buy more products and services because what they know about you is more comforting than what they don’t know about someone else’s shiny sales pitch.

So make it easy for your clients to share your business information with their friends, colleagues, and customers. A happy client can become a champion for your business – a results-boasting unpaid member of your sales team – more effective than any ad you could ever create.


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Tom Gaddis

Tom Gaddis

Attended the School of Hard Knocks. A former restaurant manager in Oklahoma, Tom always wanted to be self-employed and free from the butt-smooching of the corporate world. He wanted success bad enough that he picked up his family, including two small children and moved to beautiful Maui, Hawaii. Starting from zero, Tom embarked on building a local marketing consulting business. And promptly fell on his face! It seems Hawaiians were lovely people, until you tried to sell them something! But he persevered and learned from his mistakes. Today he's arguably one of the most successful in his niche and expecting to grow over 100% this year alone.

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