Many times people assume that small businesses are at a disadvantage in sales when competing with larger companies. But the truth is, today it is more possible than ever for small businesses to compete on equal footing or even BEAT the big players at sales.
Here are a few sales strategies to help you outrun your bigger competitors:
There are great online tools today for small businesses to manage relationships with customers, conduct automated email marketing and lead generation, provide easy to manage customer loyalty and rewards programs, and otherwise handle the details of your various customer accounts in a way that used to be possible only for the big brands. But customer relationship management (CRM) systems and other advanced sales tools are not just for big companies anymore – with the rise of online business tools and cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) apps, your company can sign up for various monthly subscriptions on a per-user basis to get access to just the right level of support and capabilities that you need to suit your current scale. You can make your company look bigger than you are by using professional sales tools and resources that used to be available only for the big companies – while still providing the personal attentiveness and high-quality customer service that your customers expect from a smaller business.
There's an old slogan for Avis rental cars, which the company used for 50 years: "We try harder." They weren't the biggest, #1 rental car company, but they made being #2 into a virtue and developed a reputation based on being faster and harder working than the biggest companies. Your small business can do the same! Out-hustle your big company competitors. Look for opportunities to emphasize the advantages of your smaller size. For example, can you ship orders faster, reply to customer complaints more quickly, or resolve issues more speedily than your big competitors? Small businesses often have closer relationships with their customers – what do you know about your customers’ needs and preferences that can help you make more sales?
Small businesses have a built-in advantage by being small – they are able to focus and do really well at just one thing or a few things, instead of trying to be all things to all people. Embrace this advantage and run with it. There’s no shame in being a small business; being small often means that you’re better at what you do best. You can't compete with big companies on price or scale or sheer array of options, but you can compete by showing your customers why your company is the best in the world at what you offer. Double down on your unique competitive advantage: find out what your company does better than anyone else, and weave this story into every sales conversation.
Competing with bigger companies is nothing to fear. The big companies often have their own unique challenges – layers of bureaucracy, slow response times, and a sometimes frustrating cluelessness about what their customers really need. Small businesses have several advantages that can help you win more than your share of sales from the big players: focus on what you do best (emphasizing your competitive advantages), use your small size as a benefit (by offering more responsive service, etc.), and maximize your use of the latest technologies that offer big company features with small company scalability. Sales success is not about how big your company is – it’s about how smart your strategy is. Embrace what makes your small business great, you’ll outsell the big players.
Gregg Schwartz is the Director of Sales for Strategic Sales & Marketing, one of the industry-founding lead generation companies servicing the B2B marketplace. Gregg has developed and implemented hundreds of lead generation programs resulting in millions of dollars in revenue for his clients.
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