North America has millions of small businesses and many of them do not yet have a concrete plan for digital media. These businesses need to take ownership of their online presence and reputation — and many of our partners are using our platform successfully to meet this demand.

If you want to tap into this market with a full service package, you’ll need a different approach for different types of prospects out there. Based on my discussions with our top sales execs, I’ve identified the three most common ones:

Strategy A: When they can do it on their own but don’t have time

Some business people get social media and reputation management. All they want to know is how you can help them with it.

With these individuals, saying less does more. Do not try to educate them in something they already know. Instead, ask them about their strategy and what they want from you.

Taking cues from this discussion, lay out the noteworthy aspects of your service.

In our sales seminars we conduct for our partners, we do a live demo of how our tool manages multiple social accounts, monitors business listings on multiple directories, and brings real-time leads from one dashboard. We also create a working mobile-friendly website for the client live within minutes with Presence Builder.

Strategy B: When they can’t do it on their own and know it

Most business people fall into this category. They are not well-versed with online jargon.

You need to get down to the basics. Instead of focusing on social media jargon, show them how you’ll help bring more customers to their door.

Pitching to them involves giving them a crash course on how new media strategies help their business in the real world.

Prior to our sales seminars, we create reputation reports for every business person using our platform and give it to them before the seminar. Then we walk them through the information in the report and explain how our service can help them.

Strategy C: When they can’t do it on their own but think they can

These business people are more savvy than Type B but underestimate the amount of work involved. They will challenge your claims and a full service offering won’t be an easy sell. They’ll want a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) product.

The best approach here is to get into the details of the process. Walk them through as many action items as you can during your demo:

  1. The different sources they need to monitor to maintain accurate online listings

  2. The procedure each source has for signing up, claiming a listing, and keeping it up-to-date

  3. Use other clients as examples to show how it could take up to 6 months to fix all visibility and then to maintain it going forward

  4. Statistics on how each negative or positive review can directly affect sales, and list all the places where reviews on the client’s business could appear

  5. What mentions are and how to track and manage them

  6. Keeping an eye on the competition online and what it entails

  7. Managing social presence on each network, engaging fans and followers, and keeping an eye on how they’re represented by their own employees

  8. Creating a mobile-optimized or responsive website

  9. Keeping the website up-to-date with new coupons, and publicizing positive reviews on it for maximum exposure

  10. Create a reputation analysis of the client and show how your service will improve the client’s score

As you highlight these activities and explain the time commitment they require, they will begin to see why it is better if your team does the grunt work while they direct the strategy.

Final Thoughts

Despite differences in the way each small business operates, most of them would fall into one of these three categories or a combination of them. Even if you can’t tell the category of your prospective client before the demo, knowing all three types and listening to the client carefully will help you use the right strategy.

(Image courtesy of William Hartz)