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Selling to small businesses is big business: Getting it done.

Who wouldn't want to have a gazillion dollar international conglomerate as a customer? You know, a customer so huge that the purchase orders for your stuff roll in almost daily.

Some people say that it takes about the same amount of effort as selling to a mass market or small businesses. And, when you land a gigantic company the revenue rewards is big.

Yet, it's not all roses and sunshine. Aside from all the tough head butting among the competition when going after large buyers, it requires more resources and usually has a very long selling cycle.

Don't get me wrong. I've sold many multi-million dollar deals to billion dollar corporations and it's sweet when it happens!

But, I have seen the light and woken up. You should too. No matter your size, industry or market — retailer, bank, human resource outsourcing company, or insurance agent — there's a better way to go.

Instead of marketing to large companies go after small businesses. Lots of them.

The Small Business Administration says that there are 23 million small businesses in the U.S. Oh sure, many of these are incredibly small. Still that's a ton of potential buyers.

If you're a small business yourself, you have a built-in advantage over a larger competitor — you know how the owners and management team think.

If you are a large corporation that is targeting small businesses, more than likely you're baffled at times how to do it.

Here's the thing you need to know. You can't sell to a small business the same way you do to a big one.

Price is a concern, value is critical, but time is precious. Instantly catch the attention of small business owners by describing how your offering will free up their time. It's their biggest challenge by far. That applies to your marketing too. Realize that they are very busy people, juggling multiple tasks. The less of their time you take trying to sell them your solution, the faster they will get home and spend more time with family — and appreciate your help.

Add complementary services and products to make life easier. Since small businesses are pressed for time they look for vendors that offer leverage and make it straightforward to work with. But, it's more than one-stop shopping. Lowes and Home Depot hire people that have been contractors so that builders who buy from these retailers have ex-small business owners speaking their language and helping to make their buying experience go smoothly. Apple and Best Buy offer small business technical help desks and business-centered sales staff. Figure out what “completes” your offering. But, instead of trying to sell a total solution that they never asked for, have additional products and services that provide the handholding that many small businesses value. This will build your credibility and establish loyalty.

It costs too much and I can do it myself, so why do I need you? Help small business prospects see the money. Don't sell widgets or financial products — Instead turn your features and benefits into dollars. Think beyond the obvious "facts" about your product or service and demonstrate how you'll save money or make money for them. That includes the value of time. Sure, there's a chance they can duplicate the results you provide without your help, but the cost to them in lost time and dollars will easily be more than the cost of your product or service. Ask small business owners how much more revenue they can drive if they had more time — equate that back to your company's offering.

Show small business owners how you'll help them grow. Be more than just an expense item. And never, ever think of them as small — because they believe that their roles are as big as other organizations of any size.

Ron Stein is President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com) and the author of the Rapid Impact Marketing & Selling Playbook. As a speaker, coach, and consultant he works with small business owners helping them to accelerate the path between their vision and the actions needed to reach, win, and keep customers. Ron is the creator of the FastPath to More Customers Now! 7-step marketing system based on more than twenty years as a successful business owner, corporate CEO, business development executive, and salesman. He is also a mentor at two nationally recognized business accelerators. Ron offers one-on-one and small group mentoring, conducts seminars, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com.