5 Tips on Selling to Small Businesses (from Someone that Runs One)
Are small businesses a big part of your customer base? Are you looking to sell to more of them, or maybe to sell deeper to the ones you already have? If so, I would give the 5 Things You Must Do To Sell To a Small Business Owner, by John Jantsch from Duct Tape Marketing, a read. As a small-business owner himself, Jantsch quickly runs through the logic behind his own purchasing decisions, then inverts the ideas to create five sales pointers for working with smaller companies. The most interesting points for me were "realizing I don't plan that far out" and "know that I am loyal to a fault."
Are you looking to squeeze in some last-minute online marketing before the holidays? Entrepreneur.com recently published a list of Seven Tips for Successful Holiday Marketing Campaigns. It's nothing groundbreaking, but worth going over if you want to make sure any email or Facebook marketing you're planning for the holidays succeeds as much as possible.
Finally, there was also an interesting article on Nytimes.com about a different take on running a web store. Called "AHAlife," the online store sells a mish-mash of goods not too different from promotional products (watches and jewelry, electronics, stylish kitchen items, etc.). The store focuses heavily on product curation as a means of creating interest and value for (potential) buyers. It forgoes the billion-category, zillion-product infinity-of-choices interface of storefronts like Amazon.com for something far simpler, less choice-laden and managed by what I guess are best described as "coolness specialists," people who are often design megastars like Tim Gunn or Donna Karen.
Said coolest specialists are responsible for selecting all the items up on AHAlife, which is kind of the foundation for the whole semi-uncategorized "these are awesome products that you should definitely be into" vibe that the store is going for, as opposed to being the mega-searchable online superstore. AHAlife is all about telling you want you want to buy, rather than asking you what you want to find. You can see it in its daily emphasis on its items: Big, engaging photos of its products paired with compelling ad copy that seems both very random and very interesting. You can see it in its site architecture: a handful of vague, catch-all categories like "gifts for him" and "accessories" rather than the ultra-specific "slub ribbed tank tops, junior sizes, ladies." You can even see it in the store's online sharing gimmick, a system that rewards users who share and recommend AHAlife's items with points, discounts and online titles that label them as taste makers.
I'm not sure how applicable the idea of store-wide curation is to a distributor storefront, but it's worth thinking about as something that can set you apart from your competitors. Social proof and prestige are said to be powerful buying motivators, so if you can find a way to utilize them I'm sure your business will benefit.
Thanks for reading guys, and until next week!
MONDAY MIKE FACT: There is a bagel spread downstairs in our office cafeteria that I can't tell if it's butter or cream cheese. It tastes good, but "good like what?" is becoming more and more of a burning question.