Fortune Marketing Inc.
Help Others and Share!

I Hope This is Not Your Small Business Sales Process

May I sell you something without understanding anything about your business?

I understand you want to grow your business – I’m in business to help you do that.  But if your small business sales process sounds like the story I’m about to share, you’re making a mistake and we should discuss…

I recently received a phone call. Yes, not all that rare, though it is rarer these days than it used to be, my leads come from inbound communications or in-person conversations and referrals, not from the phone. The Caller ID popped up “UNKNOWN from UNKNOWN.” 9 times out of 10 that’s enough red flag that it’s going straight to voice mail (and never returned). I’m pretty good at saving the contacts of folks I want to talk to, so UNKNOWN remains UNKNOWN.

But for some reason this time I decided to answer it. Maybe I thought I was going to get a blog post out of the conversation, maybe I couldn’t think of something better to do, maybe my papa-bear instincts kicked in and I had a brief moment of terror that something had happened to my children…who knows, but in any case I answered it.

Turns out it was a cold call from a well-known, global leader in business credit information. I could hear all of the other call center agents (or are they “Business Development Representatives” now? Or maybe “Business Credit Analysis Specialists”?) in the background – very loud, lousy headset, lots of background noise including a pretty clear conversation about what was for lunch that day.

Then we got down to business.  My Rep proceeded to ask me:

  • Do you have a legitimate business?
  • What does your business do?
  • Are you meeting your goals for 2015?
  • What are your goals for 2015?
  • How would you like to spend $495 for a “full” credit report that will enable you to never be nervous when selling because customers will know you’re a real business?

I of course signed right up and gave her my credit card number.

Ok, no I didn’t. But I did roll my eyes a lot. At some point this did become a “I’ll get a blog post out of this” call so there was some value, though not the value the Rep was after.

Now, I don’t blame the Rep, I’m sure she’s been thoroughly coached and trained (maybe even successful) at this volume-based, cold-calling, completely ignorant approach to selling. And as I mentioned this was coming from a very well known large global brand so they clearly have been selling a bunch of something to someone for a long time.

But if you are a small business owner concerned with growing and marketing your business there are a few things to take from this as you think about your sales process:

  • For you personally: if they get by your gatekeeping get off these calls in a hurry, in fact try real hard not to answer them.  You don’t have the time and you’ll be doing us all a service by helping to slowly but surely extinguish this type of selling and marketing
  • For your business: Please for the love of all things good don’t let your sales force sell like this. Instead:
    1. Determine a target market – which includes understanding the needs of your target market.
    2. Determine your key messages and unique difference.
    3. Build from your referring customers.
    4. Have a process for gaining, nurturing and renewing lead sources.
    5. Rinse and repeat. Discipline and consistency is the most important thing here.
  • If you simply MUST do relatively “cold” prospecting – at least empower and teach your sales reps and partners to do basic research on their targets – Google Alerts and LinkedIn go a long way for this and cost you nothing.

With some time investment and stopping the madness long enough to actually think through your sales and marketing strategy you can beat a large number of your competitors by communicating and selling better. Small business sales & marketing does not have to be that complicated, even when you are constantly assaulted by tactic-of-the-week and pressure-based sales techniques.

Concentrate on markets where you’re already successful and it’ll do much more for you.  As a small business you cannot afford to waste time on tactics like this, you need to get your sales process down to a much more focused approach to growth.

To learn more about the Duct Tape System for simple, practical and affordable small business sales & marketing services please download our eBook 7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success from the form above in this post.

Post-Script: I also recently received an email with this opening line:

“I wasn’t sure of the exact services your firm offers, but I’m assuming it’s more than just {fill in the blank with some random acronym they’re guessing at}?”

I just love emails like this.  Has anyone ever actually bought from one of these? My assumption is that they’re purely a spam tactic to somehow verify an email address and/or open a malware download but I’m a bit amazed they exist.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…

4 comments
Dale Thomas says April 29, 2015

Spot on! Love this.

    Mark Fortune says April 29, 2015

    Thanks Dale! Appreciate you reading and commenting!

David Froment says April 29, 2015

Is this Mark Fortune from the shoe business?

Comments are closed