How to Start a Business

How to get B2B Clients: 13 Actionable Ideas & Strategies to Find Business Customers

Thursday, August 22, 2019

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Entrepreneurship - Marketing - Wealth & Taxes

If you're wondering how to find great business to business clients, I want to provide you with a simple roadmap that will allow for success.  If you're wondering how to find new business clients for a bookkeeping, accounting, tax, or cpa business, this is ti.  If you're wondering how to find high paying business clients for your digital marketing company, web design firm, or SEO company, this is how I did it.

Hybrid is Best

A Hybrid between digital marketing & in-person prospecting is the most effective for small business.

I propose all B2B agencies and businesses work a hybrid model, using digital marketing such as Google Ads, Content Marketing, Search Engine Marketing

These tips are super practical, but they're not focused around digital marketing (ironically), they are primarily meant to help you get connected to business owners and people so you can actually connect.  

While digital marketing is absolutely king, it's nearly impossible to land good business customers (aka, business to business clients), when you don't have any wins.  

Read the Article, or Watch the Video Below

How to get Business to Business Clients when you first start your business.

I believe that B2B businesses are best, but it's not always easy to get clients.

When you first start a business, you usually can't afford Google Search campaigns, so here's some practical steps to find clients.

In this video, I explain 13 practical steps anyone can take to get the ball rolling on client acquisition through prospecting and sales.  Some of these B2B prospecting and sales tips are focused on networking, while others are about strategic relationships.

Prospecting is King for B2B Clients

I don't care what anyone says, great businesses will always have the most success if the core sales staff is supplementing digital activities with some pro-active prospecting.

Digital Marketing is probably king in many ways, primarily because it helps maximize time, but it's not easy to pay for high-bid Google search keywords or facebook campaigns when you're first starting out.  

Throughout my time on youtube, I've been providing tips on how to grow your business, whether it's one of my Outsourced Accounting videos, Real Estate, or other entrepreneur videos, people always ask me where they can find clients.

Finding clients for your Bookkeeping, SEO, or Digital Marketing Comapnies

I try to speak and coach primarily on what I know and have experience with, so most of my B2B client advice would be good for building an SEO, Digital marketing or CPA firm.  

SO watch the video, and I hope it helps you head upward and forward!

14 Actionable Ideas for Getting Business Clients

1 - Get Meetings & Stick to a Sales Cycle

  1. Prospect
  2. Connect Meeting
  3. Analysis
  4. Presentation
  5. Take-Action

To get business to business clients, whether it's online, or in person, you better have your sales cycle down.  

If you want to win in a digital marketing, bookkeeping, financial planning, insurance, or any other type of b2b business, you're going to need to keep your activity up.

Seek 3 Connect Meetings a Day

If you shoot for having 3 connect meetings a day, you won't have to do that kind of prospecting and sales activity for long before you start finding clients.

Nothing is more important than meeting with qualified prospective clients.

This Sales Cycle is Your Most Likely Path to Establishing Trust

Please stop and take a minute to listen to what John Maxwell says about building trust, because the goal in all these meeting is to develop TRUST.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Hc5j0_jY_I

You want to build trust, and an increasing level of intimacy with each prospective client.  You'll have to trust your gut on this one, but for the most part, I find it really helpful in meaningful sales to stay patient, and always keep the first meeting lighter and more about connection & vision than asking for the sale.

The Connect Meeting

The connect meeting is meant to be a place where you can connect professionally with people for 30-90 minutes.

Come prepared with knowledge and perspective about their business, but don't get over-eager.  This meeting is NOT meant to be too forward, it's not about selling, it's about building a relationship and earning the trust of someone.

The Sales Cycle is All About Building Connection and Earning Trust.

However, you need to be ready with enough pre-work done just in case the meeting turns into a sales  meeting.  But for the most part, leave this meeting for connection, hearing each others stories, and casting vision.

The connect meeting is what establishes a relationship with someone, and gives you the opportunity to build connection, learn about each other, and not over-reach.

Goals and Wins for the Connect Meeting:

  • Personal Connection (know and be known)
  • Vision Casting
  • Convey Competence
  • Learn about them
  • Win by being "others focused"
  • Network & build connections
  • Qualify the prospect
  • Identify interest in taking another step

The Analysis Step

Because you need to run so many connect meetings to be succesful, it would be silly to do deep analysis on all the prospects you have before you know if they're even interested.  

When you find out they are interested in your services or product, you should do some in-depth sales analysis.

The analysis step is done away from the client, and it allows you to really do your homework.

Analysis in the Tax / Bookkeeping business

  • Get the tax return
  • Get access to the current bookkeeping system
  • Take a complete survey of the systems they use
  • Take a financial snapshot of debt, assets, liablities

Analysis for Digital Marketing & Web

  • Perform your in-depth analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Build an Action Plan

The bottom line of the analysis is that it allows you space to dive deep and build up a great case.

Take Action Meeting

This is where you come to the table and show them what you've found.

The beauty in taking these steps is that it's no longer about trying to sell someone something, it's now all about showing what you've found to help them out.

Add a ton of value here, don't' get too worried about giving away free advice. I think that this sales cycle will help you win trust, convey competence, and it will lead to a superior long-term customer compared other approaches.

Be Ready to Take the Order.

Get your logistics ready, and know what you'd like them to do when you enter this meeting.  You want to be confident that you have a solution for them and yet you don't want to be pushy.  Professionally confident in what you think will work for them is gold here.

#2 Build Long Lasting Relationships with Other B2B Folks

In all business, you should work to identify your core focus. You should be prospecting INSIDE and ALONGSIDE your core focus clientele.

There are a number of other consultants, professional services, and businesses that by their very nature, will have relationships and trust established with your same clientele.

If you build genuine trust with these other professionals, it's likely you'll be able to get a web of connection going in these sectors and influence networks.  

Referrals are the best form of lead, but those only come from establishing trust with others, and keeping an ongoing connection going with them.

Cultivate a Relationship with Referral Partners.

I hate saying it this way, but you should cultivate relationships with potential referral partners.  I would prefer to say "build life-long friendships with other professionals", but it's probably better to be more frank about it.

Cultivation Tips:

  • Have fun with other professionals, go golfing, do stuff, etc.
  • Feed them clients
  • Help them, give them discounts etc.
  • Be their advocate
  • Do events
  • Give gifts & holiday things

#3 Build Relationships with Local Bankers

Connect with every banker around your region, and find the ones that specialize in SBA loans, lines of credit, etc.

Help them out, get to know how they really work, and see if you can do co-marketing events with them,  The idea is to get them to tap their best clients for help.

Here's what you should know about businesses that use a bank - they usually have large payrolls, large manufacturing, inventory systems, building, construction,  or equipment needs.

Basically, there's a whole line of businesses that utilize a line of credit for purchasing inventory instead of using cash every time.

I'm stating it very plainly so you can understand this, but think about businesses that manufacture stuff.... they don't want to empty their bank account every time they need to build up some new raw materials right?

Besides manufacturing & inventory based businesses, you'll be able to find commercial construction companies.

Bankers are notoriously hard to crack, but a great relationship with one over the long term can be absolutely game changing.

#4 Car Wrap Companies

Car wrap companies are those organizations that make construction pickups, heavy machinery and other businesses looks sweet.

Every single construction company I know buys a sweet truck and then get's it covered in some cool wrap.

You want to have the favor of the businesses that are doing this.

Why?

Well, the egos of men are stroked just a little bit when they get a big badass truck with their own business branding on it, which means customers find them for the most part.

Long story short, these business owners establish long-term relationships with all sorts of businesses, and it's a fun, happy, ego-stroking transaction, which can be fun for them.

Just invest in these guys, and they will be in proximity of other businesses.

#5 Web Design, SEO, and Digital Marketing Companies

These are B2b companies that usually have some good connections if they've been around for a long time.

If you're a new bookkeeping company, accounting company, or something like that, get aligned to the local website and digital marketing agencies around you to be able to help each other out.

#6 P&C Business Insurance Agents

You should seek to find insruance agents around you that have been around for a long time and specialize in business insurance.

Most insurance people will tell you that they love working with businesses, but the fact of the matter is that very few insurance agents have hunkered down for a long time to build long-term business clientele.

Most Businesses that work in construction need many lines of insurance.

If you can find a high-protein business insurance agent, they can end up being a spectacular referral source.

#7 Local Payroll Reps

Paychex, ADP and independent payroll companies are great lead generation sources.

They only sell b2b, so the good ones will have lots of companies that they are quite intimate with.

Theses sales teams are high-powered, the good ones tend to make good money, but you'll have to find a way to help them out in order to get their help.

They are good networkers, and their clientele are all businesses.... good to have on your side.

#8 BNI

BNI is a business referral group you can join.

They meet EVERY WEEK, which can be a little much, but it's meant to be a team that you can join and become tight with.

There's only room for one of each profession, and members will attend every single week.

This means that they will try to get you to join, which might be a good idea if you're looking to build a regional  hub for relationships.

As a heads up, you're able to visit a BNI twice without joining, and I assure you that every one of their members is eager to connect with you one on one, since they're looking for sales as well.

That means you would be able to build connection with a handful of professionals in your area if you visited twice, connected with each member for a one on one, and then tried the other BNI groups in your area.

The problem with BNI can be that it can be filled with new business people without any real relationships. There is often a tendency that only new businesses stay at a BNI for very long, and then quit once they no longer need the networking help.

But it's a cool network sometimes, and I really enjoyed the people I built relationships with.

#9 401k Investment Advisors & Company Benefits

Companies and advisors that are working with 401k plans are often connected to local business owners.

You can search "401k companies near me".

But one thing you'll want to be aware of, is that most financial advisors DO NOT do 401k plans, or if they do, it's quite limited.

Here's how to find the business ones so you can build a relationship with them:.

There are about 4 pieces to every 401k plan, read about it here

You could look specifically for 401k third party administrators near you, and you'll find an interesting little niche.

Another niche in this area is company profit share plans, medical insurance plan companies, benefits companies, and other things associated

The bottom line here is that there are definitely b2b companies and sales people you can connect with in order to get to know,

#10 Real Estate Investors

Real estate investors are usually super connected, they tend to have needs for business services, and they are some really great people to work with.

Connect with all the local real estate investing groups on facebook.

#11 Chamber of Commerce

The local Chamber of commerce can be a good way to intersect and meet with B2B prospects.  Attend the events, get to know some of the people, and use it as a networking event. You can also mine out the lists from their websites.

#12 Google My Business Prospecting

You can check out different industry sectors and call, email, ot text the various companies in a sector.  Remember, you can do something as simple as sending them an email, but a phone call or even door knock can do wonders.

Don't be afraid to do things that others are not willing to do, calling in person to introduce yourself is the first step, but find ways to cultivate a relationship with them.

Good businesses understand sales, and if you tell them you're going to keep connecting with them periodically, that will go a long way.

#13 Construction Folks

Construction folks all know each other.

They might be tough cookies to crack, but since there's always a large team of subcontractors on each job, they tend to be quite interconnected.  Not only that, but they know the insurance agents, payroll people, accountants, and professionals that service them.

Spend time building relationships with , or calling on people in the construction world.

#14 1099 Income Earners

Don't forget that those Uber, Lyft, Upwork, Graphic Designers, Video Production, Wedding Dj's, and all the other little freelancers out there can operate as a business and make great money.

Head into Upwork, fiverr, and some other of these freelancing aggregators to imagine other industries and sectors that might be good to prospect.  

Each of the websites below have local businesses that are primarily running from leads on that site.  Finding them on the site and initiating contact can be a good opportunity.