The other customer

We can all identify with the buzz that comes when you have a customer ‘sign on the dotted line’.

It’s very fulfilling.  And the bigger the job, the bigger the buzz.

And what many retailers have realised, is that often a bigger buzz comes when you’re able to get a different sort of customer to sign on the dotted line.

You see, selling direct to consumers is important, but you’ll do all of that sales and design activity for what is, in reality, a one-off project.

However, when you also focus on trade or contract business - each time you ‘make a sale’ you’re paving the way for many more sales, and many more buzzes.

In some cases, trade and contract projects can be worth more net profit, but in most cases, it’s easier work to deliver.

So, here are some of the strategic and tactical things you can be doing to target these ‘trade or contract customers’, because the approach is not the same as the way you’d target your consumer customers.

It’s less about ‘selling’ and more about building relationships. At Inspire Marketing, we follow a three-step process to help our clients build more trade relationships and get more B2B work:

  1. Build a big list

  2. Make friends with it

  3. Ask them to buy every once in a while

Build a big list

Pick a niche you want to target.

Once you’ve picked the audience you want to go after, it’s pretty easy to acquire the data to add to your existing list – there are reputable data brokers we can recommend, and you’ll be able to find a lot of the people you want to speak to on LinkedIn.

Make friends with the list

Data is just data until you’ve interacted with it, built a relationship with it, and turned it into a list of people who know, like and trust you.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, but over time, as you create valuable content for that audience – which you can distribute via email, on your blog, and social media – you’ll elevate your company’s status in their eyes and earn the right to do the next bit…

Ask them to buy

Once you’ve got your audience engaging with the content you’re creating, and you’ve earned that readership, you can then ask them to take the next step.

The chances are that in a B2B context you won’t be asking them to ‘buy’, but maybe you’ll ask them for a meeting or a phone call, to discuss how you could work together.

If you did this without the previous ‘making friends’ step, the chances are it wouldn’t work, but because you’ve put effort into nurturing the relationship, you’ve earned the right to ask them to take another step.

And that’s it – the simple three-step process we use with great success for many of our Inspire Marketing clients.  If you want to talk about how we can help you do the same thing, just let us know.