Local Marketing Source Blog

Methods to Approach Local Business Owners

In a perfect world leads are coming to you, but for the first while you need to generate leads. Nobody likes cold calling, and besides, it’s not effective or a good use of your time. In this game, you need to build relationships and in order to do so, you need to offer value to the other party. You need to figure out what each prospect needs and deliver it to them.

While the final goal is to close business, most people require education. Some require that point out the need for your services while others have a specific problem that needs to be solved. You need to eventually create systems to attract the right audience from the places they are hanging out.

While it is effective to attract local business using online Web 2.0 methods such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, I’m going to only cover some of the effective offline methods to attract and approach leads at this time. There are several online and offline strategies discussed in the Marketing Local Business Online Coaching Course.

First, you need some tools in your tool box. You will need a couple of hard pieces of marketing material such as a brochure, advertorial, business card or event advertisement.

You may want to create some sort of advertorial on a future event, such as a workshop or a quick top 10 tips for a service you provide. Keep in mind that your target audience is the decision maker, typically the business owner. They want to see benefits, not features. Your brochure should cover the benefits of your company and not your technical features. Business owners do not care if you offer SEO with “x” number of links and directory submissions. They want their phone to ring. They want qualified buyers on their site. They want sales.

Industry trade shows are a great way to attract new business if you have the means. You can become a vendor at an industry trade show for less than $2000. That’s one new client and you’ve paid for the event. A trade show booth can be bought and purchased for less that $2000. Of course, if you have no customers, you can’t quite afford this. Even with 5 clients, you can afford to attend a trade show and they are very good to find new business. Try to find a trade show where you’ll be the only vendor in your market. Even if there are only 100 attendees to this trade show, if it’s the right people, you can pick up a few customers.

The local Chamber of Commerce is another excellent source of leads. Becoming a member of the chamber is extremely affordable; some charge as little as $20 per month. The benefits are great and they provide you a list of the members. Other members feel a part of a club and typically the business owner is the member. Chamber mixers are fun and a great place to seek out leads. Remember though, network with only those who are potential customers!

Cold Calling is a boring job but sometimes it needs to be done. The trick here is what you are calling about. I would only want to cold call if the closing rate is very high and I have a very small list of people to call. So, this is in your message. We only call qualified businesses from exclusive lists like the Chamber of Commerce. We only would call to invite them to an event and the event is all about helping them. When we call, we first say we’re both members of the club and we’re inviting you to a special workshop on how to find more customers using the Internet. We’re just down the street, the event is free and there is no pitching. We will be feeding and watering you and the event is being sponsored by our local restaurant.

This simple script is non-intrusive, inviting, respectful and provides value. You used hardly any of their time and your closing rate will be super. You don’t need to make that many phone calls to fill a room. It gets even better when you have employees to do all this for you.

A final offline method I’m going to share with you today is “old skool” door knocking. You make a list of businesses you want to visit. There are many ways to get a large list and hand pick 50 or 100 companies within a 5 or 10 mile radius. Get in your car and drive to these companies, requesting to speak with the decision maker because you personally want to invite him/her to a special event. Make sure you’re clear that you are not selling anything on that visit. Take a day before your event to get out of the office and talk to some folks face to face. You’ll be pleasantly surprised what you come across.

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Written by

Scott Gallagher is a founding faculty member of Local Marketing Source and owner of WON Marketing, Inc. For over 14 years Scott has provided consulting and online marketing services to hundreds of businesses.

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