Marketing Information

Mastering the ABCDs of Small Business Marketing & Selling

I believe that small business marketing and selling follows a certain flow. The pace of the flow may differ depending on what you're selling, but I still see the flow for virtually every small business. If you acknowledge and understand the flow for your own business then you can implement processes and systems to work within the flow. I call it Mastering the ABCD's of marketing and selling.

Attention. The first step in the flow for attracting new clients is gaining attention. Your prospects need to know you exist and want to know more. This is going to be accomplished by effectively communicating your key marketing message. It comes down to what you say when someone ask what you do, or what attention grabbing headline you use in your letter or brochure, or what title you give your article or speech. Words are critical here.

The key to generating attention is focus on results, not process. People want to know what they'll get from you, not necessarily what you'll do or how you'll do it. Don't talk about you, talk about them. Focus on the primary problems, issues, and challenges you want to help them solve.

Building Interest, Credibility, and Trust. The next step in the flow is building up their interest in what you have to offer as well as your credibility and trust. You've gained their attention and they want to know more. You need to give them information that will provide them with ideas they can actually use. You need to provide them information to educate them to your way of thinking and what kind of results you're capable of producing.

Information to build interest, credibility, and trust could take the form of an article, or a tip sheet, or an audio tape, etc. The objective at this phase of the flow is to let the prospect see you as a possible source of help, and let the ones who are ready to explore the possibilities reveal themselves to you.

Conversation. If you're managing the flow correctly, by providing useful information, the prospect sees both a need and a want that you just might be able to fulfill. Now they're ready to discuss their needs. Through conversation you work to see if you can come to a conceptual agreement about how you could help the prospect.

You are discussing if the services are right for them or not. You talk to the prospect and determine more in detail about their needs and then you explain more about what you do and discover how well they match.

Deal. If you've reached this stage of the flow, then you have agreed in principle that working together is the right thing to do. The conceptual sale has been made and now you're ready to structure a deal.

The key here is structuring a win-win agreement that ensures everyone understands the expectations, and that they will be met. This involves negotiating the deal and getting agreement to proceed with the work.

Now think about your own marketing and sales flow. Where do things go wrong? I would contend that a lot of small businesses are guilty of trying to skip steps in the flow. I've seen it and I'm sure you have also.

Here's what that might look like.

  • You get a whiff of attention, they go straight to the conversation. "Let's set up a meeting and I can learn more about your business and tell you more about our unique approach and experience."
  • You gain attention and build up some interest and credibility, but then going straight for the deal. "I'll send you an engagement letter to sign that will detail our methodology and give you range of prices."
  • You gain attention, build some interest and trust, have the conversation, but then skip the deal process altogether. "Great, sounds like we have deal. I can have the team here to start on Monday."

You need to be patient to make the process work. Skipping steps most likely leads to disappointment. Understand that effective marketing and selling is not an event that happens between projects.

Mastering the ABCD's of marketing and selling is about consistently sharing valuable ideas and information to continuously pursue your passion. And through a focus on sharing solutions and information, you'll become a better marketer that knows how to consistently attract clients.

(c) - Kevin P. Dervin, KPD Marketing

About the Author:

Kevin Dervin is focused on helping small businesses that are ready to grow, but struggle with how to consistently attract more clients. He has created to be an online resource for small business owners to share what he has learned and continues to learn. Visit his site for more great marketing information you can put to use in growing your business today.

You can also find Kevin's Kansas City based KPD Marketing practice at and subscribe to his free ezine called ABCD Grow. Everyone who subscribes will get a copy of his free report "Five Fundamentals To Help You Boost Your Service Business And Increase Your Satisfaction!"

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