“Advertising is sold, not bought.” So goes the tired cliche in the local media industry.
While it’s true that small business owners (“SMB’s”) are frequently too busy running their companies to undertake marketing or advertising initiatives on their own, anyone who still believes this adage is setting his or her company up for failure in the long run.
SMB’s are increasingly interested in handling marketing themselves, and Google and Facebook in particular have released advertising products that are dead-simple for them to use. Artificial intelligence is enabling these do-it-yourself products to deliver darn good results to business owners who aren’t, and who have no desire to be, full-time marketers.
Nonetheless, there are plenty of great software companies, agencies, even large media resellers out there whose business does still depend on outbound selling to customers.
But all too often they go in trying to sell a specific digital marketing package or service without even knowing what the business owner wants help with first. It’s an approach that immediately turns off their would-be customers and loses credibility before they’ve even had a chance to earn it. Setting aside for a moment that the package or service isn’t even delivering what the customer is looking for!
My advice for the best way to sell digital services to business owners: ask a lot of questions.
- Find out what their goals are with their digital marketing efforts.
- Ask about the parts of their job they hate the most or consume the most time (especially the parts involving marketing, of course).
- Listen intently to their answers.
- Find solutions to these problems, either with human involvement or with software–not everything can be automated.