Small Companies-How Do You Sell Stubborn Owners?

The simple answer might be-leave them to their own devices! Owners got to be owners by taking risks, making tough decisions, being right more often than being wrong, having a good product, and decent to good distribution. Owners tend to separate themselves from the rest of corporate America. They know their business, their industry, their customers better than other people do so their attitude is “don’t mess with me or what I’m doing.”

OK then! I’ve dealt with my share of stubborn owners. They come with different attitudes:

  1. You (meaning everyone else) don’t know my business; you can’t help me.
  2. I’m doing alright; the economy is tough.
  3. I don’t have the money to make improvements.
  4. Our distribution channel(s) are doing alright; why mess with success?
  5. You want too much money.

You can’t dent the mental dam of the small business owner by telling them what they need to do to change, grow, re-think, etc. The arms will cross the chest, the scowl will appear, and the words “don’t need it/you” are beginning to form in the frontal lobe.

If you want to get a consulting project with the small business owner you might want to pull them in the opposite direction from where you really want them.  Pushing will get you nothing but blank looks. Try some of these during a sales call:

  1. “From my experience, business owners like yourself don’t want anyone from outside the organization giving advice”.
  2. “Why is it that so many small business owners resist common sense advice from consultants?”
  3. “Business owners tend to run their businesses with blinders on. Why is that?”
  4. “Businesses fail to grow for a couple of reasons. Business owners won’t take advice, sales are flat and going nowhere, or the margins are too thin. Do any of those apply to your business?”

It is human nature to prove someone wrong. More often than not if a business owner is told something about themselves or their business that they disagree with they will produce an argument to refute the statement. Once that happens the close is a little easier to pursue.

In Thursday’s post I’ll provide information on how businesses can “find” money they did not know they had.


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