Football coaches love to use clichés. One of their favorites is the credo that you either get better or get worse; you never stay the same. This mantra also holds true for business owners. You probably never become fully content with the state of your business. You always are looking for ways to improve, find new revenue streams, or grow your business to reach new customers. Retail businesses typically market themselves to individuals, looking to sell their specific goods to consumers. If you run a business that offers professional services, however, are you marketing your products or services to fellow businesses as aggressively as you do to regular people? If not, you might be missing out on an easy way to expand your business and your income. Let’s take a deeper look at the advantages of business-to-business or B2B marketing.
Business-to-business marketing involves offering your services to other companies, instead of consumers
Marketing in this way requires a different approach than traditional marketing, such as investing in signage or purchasing advertising in print, radio, TV, or online channels to reach potential customers. Instead, take advantage of the natural fraternity that exists between small business owners. After all, who is better able to understand the struggles of owning and operating a business than someone who is doing the same thing themselves?
Sometimes, the best approach can be to collaborate with other businesses that are nearby to promote one another. In essence, you can enter an agreement where you agree to promote their goods and services to your clientele, and they do the same for your business. Marketing your services in this way can produce a new channel that opens up commercial businesses as a new pool of clients. Your business also gains exposure with the business you market with, gaining attention from people who otherwise may never have considered your business or been aware that it existed in the first place.
Follow these steps to start a business-to-business marketing plan:
- Do your research. The first step is to compile a list of other small businesses located near yours, or business owners you know and are friendly with and may be interested in working together. If your business does not have a traditional storefront or physical office, then the sky’s the limit when coming to the composition of this list. Still, it can be easy to be overwhelmed. If your business is located in a densely populated area, for example, we suggest choosing five nearby businesses to target. On the other hand, if your business operates in a rural area, you may need to cast a wider net.
- Know about the business you are approaching. You will have a better chance of brokering a referral partnership with another business if you can speak with the owner or manager in person. That means you need to time your visit, preferably at a time of day when any customer traffic is likely to be its lowest. A bar, for example, is likely to be slowest when it first opens. Likewise, if you are approaching a landscaping company, you probably want to schedule a meeting for the end of the day—or, better yet, a rainy day.
- Have a plan. When approaching another business owner, especially if you are nervous about any type of public speaking, it’s a good idea to have a plan. You don’t have to script out every word you plan to say, but making some notes ahead of time will help you feel more comfortable and confident. Any personal information you have about the owner or manager also will help, if only to provide a few extra talking points. Make notes after this meeting on what you discussed, that you can refer back to for future communications.
- Follow up every few months. After making the initial contact, try to follow up in person once every quarter. This is where those notes you made become helpful. It’s a good idea to note any specific personal interests of the person you are dealing with; if the owner or manager loves going to the movies, for example, you could make a special, personalized thank you for any referrals by gifting some movie passes. Use these follow-ups to update these other businesses on the state of things at your business, as well as any new goods or services you may be providing. And be sure to show the same interest in their business and what they do.
Business-to-business networking is a great move to grow your clientele and revenue, but implementing it can be tricky. Luckily, Bryant Consultants is here to help. Our services can help you realize your vision, establish goals, and set processes in place to evolve your business. Contact us by calling (877) 768-4799.
We provide consultation, training, and coaching to help improve the operations of your business so that you can provide exceptional results to your customers. No office is out of reach for us; we will even come to you!