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5 Tips for Wooing a Fellow Business

You have two options when designing your business: Either you’re going to largely serve “regular” consumers or you’re going to serve other businesses. Choosing to focus on businesses in a B2B type of model can be a smart move, especially if you also pepper in the occasional “regular” customer to balance things out. However, there’s a catch: Other businesses already know all the marketing tricks and hacks because they do this themselves.

When it comes to wooing fellow businesses, transparency and quality are more important than ever. You need to provide a product or service that trumps the competition in quality, customer service and price. The dynamics between your business and another business is vastly different than a B2C setup. It doesn’t matter if you specialize in alarm systems for commercial and industrial spaces or providing printing services to publishing houses. You need to charm the pants off your B2B customers, and here’s how.

1. Skip the marketing gimmicks

 This doesn’t mean you have to skip marketing all together, but those buzzwords many companies use are going to be instantly tuned out by a fellow business owner. Instead, showcase what you provide in the best possible light while still embracing honesty. You can do this with an impressive online gallery or portfolio, testimonials, and tie it all together with a quality website design.

2. Approach them properly

 You know what annoys you about sales pitches: Getting spammed, getting requests on social media without a personalized note, cold calls from people who clearly didn’t research your company, or getting offers on “deals” that aren’t very deal-like at all. The golden rule applies here. Simply treat other businesses how you’d like to be treated.

3. Establish a like connection

 This is easier for brick and mortar establishments where you’re geographically close to one another. Humans naturally seek out connections, and if you can establish one, you’re already ahead of the game. This is particularly important if you’re looking to take over an existing connection. You probably haven’t invented anything new, so you need to show that your product or service is better than the one they’re using. If you can lead with a shared connection, you’ve already caught their attention.

4. Work on their terms

 It’s your job to make this relationship as easy as possible, which means working around their schedules and preferences. Maybe you’d rather not drive across town during rush hour to meet in person with a VP over something that could easily be discussed on video chat or the phone. However, going that extra mile (literally) shows that you value them. It could even be a test to see how far you’re willing to go, and that demanding client might end up being your best one.

5. Show that you understand

 You’re a fellow business owner, so you’re expected to understand the unique challenges other businesses face. This means talking to them on a real level, peppering in examples of what challenges they might be facing based on your own experience as a business, and providing concrete solutions via your products or services they may not have had offered to them yet. For example, maybe you can offer 24-hour turnaround for a lower fee than anyone else. Show them that you’ve thought of things from their angle.

Wooing a fellow business is similar to wooing a romantic interest. You need to put down the groundwork, show that you care, and basically treat every business like they’re something special because they are. They could be the future glue that holds your business together in tough times. Respect goes a long way.