Surviving The Small Town Sales Slump
Do you live in a rural area? Do you feel like your sales territory is tiny? I speak to a lot of sales professionals who complain about having a limited prospect base due to not living in an urban area. All it is, is another excuse like anything else. “But where I live, there are only 10,000 people in the area.” blah blah blah
It’s been my experience that smaller markets are easier to make money in. After all, we are always trying to find niches to sell to. Think of a small town as that niche. I don’t care what you sell, the size of your local population isn’t a deal breaker. There are several ways to sell more in a smaller market and even branch out into larger markets.
The first thing you need to come to grips with is the internet. If you live in a small town, you need to rely heavily on your computer to communicate. You’ll need to utilize online tools to cut down on the amount of time you would have to drive to the nearest city too.
If companies like Amazon.com can get products from India and seamlessly deliver them to your door in 5 days, you can use the internet to reach someone two cities over. The “my area isn’t that big” excuse is BS. You’ve got a phone, email and Facebook that can reach anyone in the world.
You’re only limited in your market by what you think you are limited by. Whatever you think, is true. Let me say that again; Whatever you think, is true. So if you think you can’t reach prospects in the nearest big city, it’s because of your limiting beliefs, not the demands or needs of the marketplace.
When I was a loan officer, I was based out of West Dallas. The majority of the people I did business with were in Houston. That’s a 200+ mile drive. There’s no way I could have closed 30 loans a month, driving down to H-Town every day to get applications. That would be insane.
Instead, I used fax, email, Fed Ex and anything else I could to get the information from them I needed. We didn’t need to meet. Our meeting face to face was not important to the relationship. What was always important was my ability to deliver on my word.
Still today, I haven’t met many of the people who’ve bought my stuff in person. There’s even some people in the Tribe that I’ve never met in person. It’s not important to meet. Everything we need to do can be done online. It’s the same in your business as it is in mine.
But Ryan, what if you don’t know people in the other areas?
Well, worst case, you can always cold call them. I hate that though. Here’s what I’d do. I’d run an ad in the local paper there, in the Facebook newsfeed and on google adwords specifically targeted to that area. I do this in my personal business all the time.
If you’re not a part of the in crowd then you need to advertise and market. There’s no two ways about it. The longer you avoid marketing and advertising, the longer you’ll avoid those big commission checks you’ve been craving. The sooner you get the word out to the people in your area, the sooner you’ll be the go to person for what you sell.
In a small market, advertising is cheap. If one of your go to excuses is “Ads are expensive”, save it for someone else. You could target damn near everyone in your area on Facebook for less than $30 each day. Yeah, for the price of a decent meal for two, you could attract enough prospects to eat like a King!
Here’s the other great thing about advertising to people in a small market. Repetition. You see, the average consumer needs to see and hear your brand 5-9 times before they decide they are familiar with you. Once they are familiar you can move to the next phase and close them.
In a large million plus person market place, it costs a fortune to get an ad in front of millions of people 5 – 9 times. However, in a small market, you can get in front of 100,000 people 10 times at the cost of one view per million. Are you following my math here? I can get in front of the same 100,000 people ten times for the price of getting in front of a million once.
Chances are, I’ll pull more business out of the 100k pool, than I will the million. Even though it’s more people, repetition is what creates familiarity and familiarity is what gives you the right to close. If you’re in an area with less than 100,000 people, even better.
There’s really never an excuse for failure. One of two things will always happen. You can keep coming up with excuses to why a limited market and your situation are different, or you can expand your mind, territory and sales skills by not accepting BS excuses and making it happen. Two choices, which one is for you?
It’s actually easier to take over a smaller market. People corner markets on penny stocks every day, but you never hear about it happening to any Dow Jones listed companies. What’s even cooler about small markets is the extreme familiarity that you build. People will know you at the store, out to eat, and everywhere in between due to your advertising and marketing efforts. Those same people will tell other people in different areas that they worked with or met you. Word spreads fast.
If you’re in a gridlocked territory due to how your corporate job is set up, make the most of what you got in the area by advertising, marketing and closing. If you’re able to work remote and get business anywhere, use your ad dollars and systems in places that will most likely get you the most customers. That may mean outside of your metro area.