How to Build B2B Sales
Your ability to provide other businesses what they need gives you a great opportunity to generate added income.
The days of waiting form business to come to us are over forever. Creating programs that take your services to people who need what you offer is a key aspect of staying in business. To some extent, that’s always been the case when building a business to business service.
Why? Businesses rarely have the time to shop for the things they need. If a business owner can’t pick up the phone and get a service to come to him, he probably won’t use that service. Sales to businesses require a different strategy than just having your doors open to the public- it takes a special plan to grow this kind of business.
Here are some of the things to consider if you decide to grow B2B sales:
- Create A Program
Catering to businesses is completely different than servicing residential customers. These clients will expect you to come to them. They will expect you to find artwork that is correct for their environment and image and they will also expect you to install the pieces you frame. Businesses will also expect better pricing because they are working on a budget and are usually buying several pieces at one time. Being effective in soliciting business clients requires that you create policy and procedures for these issues. It can also be a good idea to name your B2B program something slightly different from your residential program. This will make it obvious that you offer a completely different program that is designed for the special needs of business clients.Because you will be providing a lot more service to make these sales, don’t be trapped into thinking you must also offer huge discounts. Surprisingly, in many cases it the SERVICE or the convenience you offer that gets you these sales. Price IS important, but rather than cut your prices on the moulding you offer residential clients, consider adding a new line of 36 to 60 mouldings that you offer only to businesses. If you buy them in box quantity or work out a program with a good vendor, you can create some very attractive pricing without destroying your margins. One final suggestion- designate one team member to head up this new division of your company. Why? It’s much easier to keep things consistent and to build valuable relationships. Remember, it’s a separate area of your business with separate ways of conducting business. If one person handles all these accounts, it keeps things from getting confusing.
- Go Find Business
You have to go out and find B2B opportunities. Don’t wait for them to come to you. How? Now that you have a separate division with a separate service, create a brochure that captures your abilities and services. Take it around to local lawyers, dentists, doctors and other small professional offices. Don’t worry about being able to see the professional- because you won’t-instead, give the brochure to the office manager or secretary. Then conduct a follow up call to in a few days to see if the professional received your brochure. Offer to come in to meet with them and answer questions. This activity rarely results in immediate business but it is very effective in laying the ground work for future opportunity. You should repeat this effort every year and keep good notes about any interest they may have. It’s time consuming and sometimes a bit deflating, but doing this will pay off in many ways over time.Next, find out which local design firms cater to small businesses in your area. Call them and ask if you can do a presentation at their next sales meeting. If that’s not possible, drop off your brochures and then follow up with a call. Remember it can take many trips before you may get an opportunity to present your service. Don’t give up- eventually this will lead to many opportunities. When soliciting design firms, you will also need to create a program that rewards them for doing business with you. Many times what will be truly valued is your service. If you offer the ability to find art for clients, deliver and install the art and do whatever the designer needs to get that art on the client’s walls, you will be a valuable source for a busy designer. Sure, they will also want some commission for finding you this work, but the real value you can offer is complete and reliable service.Use your shop to also find opportunities. Post signs and give out the business brochure to residential customers that own a business or work for companies that could use your service.
- Build Momentum
A B2B service starts slowly. It takes a lot of leg work to get your service in front of the right people. But after a while, businesses and designers will begin to try your service. When you get these chances, you must meet deadlines and expectations. If your efforts don’t make the designer or office manager look good, they will never offer you another chance. Part of your preparation when creating this division of your company should be a written contact that spells out the details and conditions of each project. A very important part of meeting expectations is recording exactly what they are BEFORE you start the project. Remember to communicate with the designer or business throughout the project so they know that you are on track. When you are ready to deliver and install, give the business plenty of advance notice so that you will not create any distraction or conflicts when you are doing the installation.Remember to take lots of “before and after” pictures of your installations. These are very helpful in attracting new business because potential clients can see what you have done to help others. Try sending these pictures to design firms that you are trying to partner with, so they also can see what you are doing. Post these pictures and any testimonials you can get from these businesses to your website.Remember to add a separate page to your site to host information about your B2B program. Keeping these activities separated in every way really works well to eliminate confusion while helping you to target the types of business that will help you build an effective program.
As the custom framing industry continues to evolve, it will be essential that we offer more types of service than ever before. Your ability to give businesses or design firms what they need is a great opportunity to create additional business. Start creating a program today and soon the opportunities will roll in.