How to Sell to Busy Customers

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Numerous surveys of small business owners show that time is extremely valuable to them.  This theme of being "time-starved" shows up in almost any survey you do of small and medium business owners.  The Gallup poll graph on the left shows how 49% of business owners work over 44 hours per week - much more than the typical employed adult.

Understanding the time-sensitive pressures that small business owners have can help marketers and salespeople to better position their products and services. Here are a 7 tips which should help:

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  • Make sure you focus on how your product can save time or improve efficiency.  Include quantitative examples if you can.  Even if it seems trivial, this benefit resonates with business owners.
  • Pick an unwanted task that you believe your product can address and explain how business owners will benefit by not having that unwanted task.  It may seem self-evident but it will help build rapport with the target customer that you know about this unwanted task.  Paperwork is a popular one.
  • Recognise the fact that many small business owners think about their businesses every day, whether they are at work or not.  This will help build your rapport with them.
  • Most business owners prefer to work IN their business rather than ON their business (doing administrative tasks).  So, demonstrate how your product or service will allow them to do those things they most enjoy, e.g., customer contact.
  • Many business owners don't appreciate how valuable their time is and may work on weekends, forsaking the time they should be spending with family or friends.  Try to quantify how valuable that time is and then compare that with the investment they will be making in your service.
  • People buy from people not organisations.  Focus on building a relationship of trust with your customer in your communication.  Show respect by asking for a more convenient time or place to see them.  Invite them to a seminar online which is at a convenient time and make it easy for them to find out about you and your company.  Be personal and passionate about how you help people.
  • People buy for only two reasons: to feel better or to resolve a problem.  If it is the later, make sure you understand their problem.  Don't waste your time trying to educate them if they don't perceive they have a problem.  Stand out in their busy day by remembering your unique business advantage (UBA) - tell them upfront why you are unique in addressing their problem.
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Chris Pattas

Chris Pattas lives in beautiful Melbourne, Australia. He is happily married with two children. Chris is a successful business leader who enjoys helping organisations reach their full potential. Whether it is driving greater profit or sales, growing market share in competitive industries, inspiring executives to achieve great things, negotiating compelling business deals or working as a board member implementing exciting change programs, he knows how to get the most out of any organisation. Chris has worked in various product and service industries including: advertising, software, IT&T, travel & tourism, utilities and telecommunications. His interests and expertise include: leadership & strategy, sales & marketing, online & social media, science & technology, travel & tourism, photography and music.