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johndenver 11-28-2007 10:08 AM

Gameplan to sell stuff to small businesses?
zomg a business post

So I want to start a web design business making small simple websites on the cheap for small businesses that currently have no web presence.

Just a simple page or 2 for the mom and pop laundromat or sandwich shop on the corner.

What is the best gameplan for selling this service to such a business? I need a way of talking to the decision maker at the business whomever that is.

Should I send them a letter, phonecall, personal visit?
If I call and I get the 15 yr old working the cash register, what do I say?
Is there a directory of business owners somewhere that I can get a hold of?


gordongecko 11-28-2007 12:12 PM

Re: Gameplan to sell stuff to small businesses?
It depends on your financial situation, and how fast you can pump out a design, but a few years ago I gave a "free" website , domain, etc. to local business...catch was they had to agree to have it hosted/maintained for a year for 30-40 a month. Considering all the local design firms charged that anyway to new clients, it was an easy selling point. I then scabbed out the design work to a guy online. It worked pretty well, and was an easy way to generate some quick cash flow. Depending on your local market though it may not work as well, but it's something to consider. It's really hard to sell a small business like the ones you described a design + hosting package.

skindog 11-28-2007 12:17 PM

Re: Gameplan to sell stuff to small businesses?
It's really hard to sell a small business like the ones you described a design + hosting package.

[/ QUOTE ]

QFT. I think it is very important for you to narrow down the types of businesses you are looking to target before you attempt to contact anyone. Only certain types of businesses will even consider shelling out any money for a website. I can't speak for any other industry, but I run a trucking company and I am constantly inundated with people trying to sell me things. And mostly I treat it like I treat spam. Small business owners like the ones you mentioned (sandwich shop) are interested in cold hard cash inflows, not internet marketing exposure that might produce a benefit sometime in the future. So trying to approach most local businesses will be running into a brick wall.

johndenver 11-28-2007 12:37 PM

Re: Gameplan to sell stuff to small businesses?
Yes, Gordon that sounds like a really good business plan, I'll probably try 20-30/month for hosting, free design and domain, I'll either do the design myself or outsource it to various college kids I know depending on time.

I know sandwich shop owners would be skeptical of a website, I have a feeling service type business would be more receptive. But I expect this to be a numbers game, I plan on getting rejected a bunch.

Gordon: how did you contact the business owners to pitch your service?

Skindog: you got any tips on how someone could effectively sell you something and not be insta spam rejected?

beta1607 11-28-2007 01:49 PM

Re: Gameplan to sell stuff to small businesses?
When you make your pitch do it when the decision makers are likely to have a bit or free time. Small business owners are notoriously busy and don't generally like to be bothered. My industry for example gets busy at the end of every month and end of the year so if you call or stop by at that time there is close to a 100% chance you will be hung up on or asked to leave. Remember that the business owners have 10,000 things more important to do then talk to a salesman and if they are anything like our company get several cold calls and a couple walk-ins a day which is annoying.

Better idea maybe go in to the sandwhich shop, get a late lunch after the rush and chat with the owner then and give him your business card. Don't follow up with a call, follow up with another lunch a week later - make a personal relationship with them so they don't feel like you are trying to take advantage - afterall you are just a nice guy who comes in for lunch a few times a week.

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