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How to sell to SMBs: Referrals

SMBs are tough to reach. Small business owners are extremely busy managing the day to day responsibilities and problems of their own business, making selling to them very difficult.

One way to get an SMB’s attention is through referrals - your customers may not trust you yet but they (usually? hopefully?) trust their friends and family. In fact, 82% of people have said they ask for recommendations from friends and family before buying a new solution. This makes referral marketing one of the most lucrative marketing strategies for any company. Here are some quick tips on how to get started:

1. Get your customer’s attention

Your customers may love you, but you know what they love even more?

Asking your customers for referrals is asking them to put their name and reputation on the line to promote your company. This is a BIG ask so make sure your customers are properly motivated and nothing motivates like some real hard $$$. 

2. Get the prospect’s attention

Similarly, any prospects your customers refer also need proper motivation. We suggest giving them a “time-sensitive” incentive to create a sense of urgency to get them to act now.

Balancing both sides (customers and prospects) of the referral flywheel can lead to explosive results. Dropbox's referral program fueled years of massive growth.

3. Make it super easy for your customers to refer people

Your customers are busy. They don’t have time to play “telephone,” so asking them to memorize different promo codes and secret phrases is asking for a lot of mental time and energy.

Instead, make referring people as simple as possible - a straight forward “copy and paste” or “enter an email here” should be enough. Like everything sales-related, every step adds friction and will directly impact your results.

If you make the referral process super easy then your customers can spend the extra time and energy referring people to you!

4. Make your referral program “social media friendly”

Sharing is caring and sharing on social media is the fastest and easiest way for your customers to quickly let their entire networks know about your referral program.

Look how successful sharing on social media was for Wordle

Make your referral program easy to share on social media and let Facebook and Instagram do the work for you.

5. Partner with super “influencers”

Influencers come in many shapes and sizes and many industries have their own specific “super influencers” that you may be able to partner with. Do your customers have:

  • Companies / success stories that they look up to?
  • Groups, networks, or industry associations?
  • Federal or state regulatory bodies?
  • Industry newsletters and other publications?

Find the super influencers in your industry and partner with them.

6. Regularly remind your customers about your program

How often do you recommend a new product to your network? Usually only when someone asks you for help and these conversations typically happen spontaneously and unexpectedly. Thus, you need to constantly remind your customers about your referral program to catch them at the right time. 

So make sure your referral program is top of mind for your customers - add reminders to your website, mention it every time you interact etc. Make sure the next time someone asks for a recommendation your customers remember your program.

Selling to SMBs can be hard. Let your current SMB customers make the process a bit easier for you :) 

5 Cheat Codes to help you Sell to SMBs

Did you know that there are more than 31 million businesses in the U.S. with fewer than 100 employees, aka SMBs? This means the SMB market is HUGE.

SMBs also have two extremely attractive qualities:

  • Shorter sales cycle: SMBs can make decisions FAST because they have fewer decision-makers than enterprises. Thus, SMBs need fewer touch-points than enterprises, allowing you to close more customers faster.
  • Lower requirements: SMBs are more flexible feature-wise and have lower security, compliance, and other technological requirements. SMBs just want to know that you can solve their problem and are more willing to adapt their workflow to your solution vs. enterprises which will need you to fulfill a long stringent list of requirements before even giving you a try

Thus, SMBs are an incredibly attractive market if you can figure out an efficient sales cycle. Here are 5 cheat codes to help you crack the SMB sales game.

1. Build Trust

SMBs are usually run by mom and pops – human beings. They are very different from the giant mindless money printing machines that enterprises are. SMBs do business with people they know and trust.

They find their bankers through recommendations. They find their accountants through recommendations. This means… you should find a way to get recommended to them via a warm intro!

If you can’t, find a way to show them that you’re a human being:

  • Conferences
  • In-person sales
  • Personalized emails and phone calls

SMBs owners are human beings, so show them that you’re a human being they can trust.

2. Show Value

SMBs don’t want to see a fancy PDF with a bunch of charts or some flashy sizzle video. They just want to know that you solve their problem. The easiest way to convince them you can do that is:

  • Referrals from people they already know and trust (the warm intro).
  • Third-party social proof: Testimonials from “name brand” logos.
  • Great reviews on Yelp, Google Reviews, G2, Capterra, etc.
  • An actual product demo that is easy for them to “see themselves using.”

3. Easy Adoption & Usage

Have you ever had a great sales call end with a verbal YES, but then the customer falls out somewhere between the agreement signing -> payment -> onboarding process?

A prospect isn’t your customer until they’re using and loving your product. Every step between your first touch and them loving your product is a chance for them to say no and leave.

So think of your entire sales and customer onboarding process as a user journey. Simplify each step to make it easy and fast:

  • Sales pitch - what do you do, why do you do it, and why should they care?
  • Product and pricing options - make it obvious which one they should pick.
  • Sales agreement - make it simple by including only relevant information and make it mobile-friendly.
  • Payment process - it should be as easy as paying at McDonald’s.
  • Customer onboarding - don’t make them jump through hoops to use your product!

4. Qualify Your Leads

An often overlooked part of sales efficiency is making sure your leads are high quality so you’re not wasting time on “low probability” customers. This means you need to do the necessary research to determine whether a lead fits into your ICP (ideal customer profile) to ensure that they have a high probability of understanding and needing your product or service.

Some typical things to consider when qualifying leads:

  • Business type
  • Business size both by revenue and employee count
  • Geography
  • Title of your contact (are they a decision-maker?)

Most companies use a scoring model to quantify lead quality. Higher quality leads -> higher probability of closing -> higher efficiency for your sales team

5. Counter Concerns with Incentives

Every potential customer is going to have concerns before signing up -> they don’t know you or your product yet! Analyze your past customer conversations to figure out what the most common concerns have been. Develop incentives to provide confidence to your prospects.

  • Price -> free trial
  • Commitment Length -> monthly vs. annual plans, money-back guarantee
  • Missing features -> workarounds, product roadmap / estimates, direct communication with customer service
  • Unproven ROI -> case studies, social proof

SMBs are a huge opportunity but require a tailor made sales process. When done right, cracking the SMB sales process is the ultimate cheat code..

Roger helps sales teams transform their sales agreement, payment, and onboarding process into one simple experience - just like signing up for an app! Interested in learning more? Let’s talk.

PDFs Suck for Sales Contracts

Did you know that the PDF is almost 30 years old?

Three decades ago, every computer had a different way of interpreting and displaying file formats. A file looked completely different if it was on a Mac, Windows, or UNIX computer. Imagine the chaos when trying to share documents - you didn’t know if your report would look like the Mona Lisa or a Picasso!

In 1993, Adobe co-founder John Warnock released the first version of the PDF. Over the subsequent years, PDFs became an accepted standard for document sharing.

Life has changed a lot over the last 30 years. The problems and expectations of users today have also changed. Today, PDFs can cause more problems than they fix. Here are 3 reasons why PDFs suck for your sales contracts.

PDFs are NOT mobile friendly

Did you know that 50% of all emails are opened on a mobile device?

Have you ever tried to read a PDF on your phone?

PDFs are especially bad for sales contracts because they force your customer to wait until they’re in front of a desktop to review. This could be hours, if not days, later! By then, your email could be at the bottom of their “priority” pile and, as we all know, time kills all deals.

PDFs are NOT interactive

The last time you opened up a PDF, did you know:

  • What was important for you to read?
  • What you could skip?
  • What you needed to answer? 
  • What someone else needed to answer?
That’s why PDFs use these super easy to read bold and underlined fonts.
OR HAVE SECTIONS IN ALL CAPS WHICH ARE DEFINITELY NOT INTIMIDATING
Or include these intuitive and user-friendly ____________ fields.

(Please excuse my sarcasm.)

All of these beautiful and aesthetically pleasing changes require your customer to read and digest the entire document. This takes time, adds friction and delays signing.

PDFs are NOT collaborative

PDFs do exactly what they were meant to do: transmit information in an unchanging, emotionless, and dead presentation.

But when was the last time you wanted your product’s sales pitch associated with something described as “emotionless and dead?”

Today’s sales contracts need to be dynamic - customers often request changes. Forcing your customers to use emails to review all of the back and forth redlines is cumbersome and annoying.

The sales contract is one of the last steps in your product’s sales pitch - don’t use an emotionless and dead PDF. Instead make your sales contract dynamic, web-native, and mobile-friendly. 

Interested in learning more or having our team review your sales contracts? Let’s talk.

How to write Sales Contracts that even Jay Z would love

“My word is my bond.”

This simple phrase has been said by everyone from:

Is “my word is my bond” one of the few things that all humans can universally agree on?

The origins of the phrase are simple: in the past, relationships were built purely on a person’s words and actions. Your business partner’s word was literally worth their “bond.” 

Unfortunately, over the years, distrust and disputes have corrupted the simple concept of “my word is my bond.” Trust has been replaced by threats and “my word” has been replaced by the dreaded “sales contract.” 

However, not all sales contracts need to be "dreaded." Here are some simple guidelines for how to write sales contracts that are so simple and easy that even Jay Z would love:

1. Do you even need a sales contract?

Not all couples need a marriage certificate and not all business deals need a sales contract. However, in general if your business deals involve:

  • Specific products or services
  • Negotiated prices
  • Set timelines and terms

Then a sales contract is actually helpful for both you and your customer to confirm exactly what you’re both agreeing to and what each side’s expectations are. Relationships are about expectation setting and a simple clear sales contract sets the foundation for a good business relationship.

2. What do you need to include in the contract?

Beneath all the heavy legal jargon, sales contracts are really just confirming what you and your customer are agreeing to. Thus, we suggest including the key terms of your deal:

  • What goods or services are being exchanged?
  • What’s the price?
  • What are the payment terms?
  • What are the timelines?

You should also add any important terms specific to your business:

  • If you’re selling physical goods - delivery and logistics information may be important
  • If you’re selling a SaaS subscription service - a section on data privacy may be helpful

Our general rule of thumb is to include any information that’s been discussed or negotiated during the sales process since these are clearly the deal points that your customer cares about.

Also, make your contract stupid simple to read - put the key terms upfront and in plain english so that they’re easy to see, understand, and review.

3. What do you need to EXCLUDE from the contract?

One common mistake we see businesses make over and over again is including unnecessary questions: 

  • Do you really need your customer’s phone number? 
  • Their home address?
  • Their pet’s name? 
  • Their mother’s maiden name?

Make your contract stupid simple to fill out - only ask for information that is absolutely required, explain why you need it, and how it’ll be used.

What about the “extra legalese?”

Sometimes your sales contracts just require a lot of necessary language and disclaimers. We’ve seen two successful strategies when dealing with all of the “extra legalese.”

If this is an ongoing business relationship with numerous “transactions” in the future: 

We suggest having your customer sign a Master Service Agreement (MSA) to start off the relationship. Your customer can then use simpler order forms or change orders whenever a new “transaction” happens. This minimizes the friction for each new additional order.

If this is an one-time transaction where you don’t expect many changes in the future: 

We suggest using a simple, easy-to-understand “order form” and including any lengthy terms and conditions as an addendum or even a clickwrap agreement. 

Signing a sale contract can be as scary as signing your life away or as simple as a “yes.” Let’s bring trust back into our relationships. Let Roger help you create a sales contract even Jay Z would love.

Interested in learning more or having our team review your sales contracts? Learn more here.

7 Remarkably Simple Tips to Get your Contracts Signed Faster

Have you ever gotten a customer's verbal “yes,” sent them your contract only to never hear from them again?

“Contract ghosting” is a real problem that all sales execs have experienced.

Here are 7 remarkably simple tips that help Roger agreements get signed 80% faster and 2x more often than average.

1. Keep (the contract) simple, stupid

BIG COMPLEX WORDS IN ALL CAPS NEW TIMES ROMAN FONT CAN BE TOUGH TO READ AND CAUSE YOUR CUSTOMERS TO HESITATE AND SECOND-GUESS

We recommend shortening your contract to a simple, easy-to-understand “Order Form” and including any lengthy Terms and Conditions as an addendum or even a clickwrap agreement.

2. Keep (the questions) simple, stupid

Does your contract require your customer to enter their phone number… when you’re already on the phone with them?

Are you asking your customer for their e-mail address? Their mother’s maiden name? Their pet’s name?

Remove any unnecessary questions that your contract is asking. More questions = more work = more chances for your customer to decide you’re not worth the trouble. Amazon found that the average check-out process used 14 forms when only 7 forms were needed. How many unnecessary questions does your contract have?

3. Make your customer's life easy

Now that you’ve eliminated your contract’s unnecessary questions, go the extra step - fill out as many of the contract’s questions for your customer as you can.

Do you have their name, phone number, and address already? Fill it out for them! 

4. Context, context, context

Do you give your social security number to anyone on the street? Of course not! Or at least we hope you don’t.

For any sensitive questions you need to ask, provide context. What information are you asking for? Why do you need it? How is it used?

5. Talk like a human

Your customers are human beings, not lawyers! Unless you’re selling to lawyers I guess, in which case - good luck.

Help your customers understand what they’re signing. Are the descriptions of your company’s Service, Price, and Terms all on different pages? Pull all that critical information upfront and make it easily digestible. These are the important terms your customers want to see. 

Human beings want to know what they’re signing, why they’re signing it, and what they’re getting in return. Don’t make it hard for your customer to get the answers they need.

6. Time kills all deals

Send the agreement ASAP! 

The best time to send a contract is when you’re still talking to them so you can…

7. Hold their hand

The best time to get your customer to sign is when you’re still talking to them - that’s when you have their complete attention and their intent is highest. It also allows you to answer any questions and objections before time and indifference seep in.

Send the contract while you’re still talking to them or, at the very least, make sure that you’re available (and that they know you are) when they’re reviewing your contract. 

Getting your contract signed is the final step of your sales process so don’t just send over a PDF and assume your customer will figure it out.

Roger agreements help deal with all of these issues. Find out more at thanksroger.com.

🚫 Top 10 mistakes selling to SMB owners like me

I own ~50 restaurants, have sat through hundreds of pitches, and have spent millions on new software and hardware solutions. Here are the biggest mistakes I see over and over again.

1. You send email or Linkedin messages instead of getting a warm introduction

I am not going to read your emails. Also, please stop the LinkedIn messages requesting specific call times or sharing product demos - it gets old quick. Instead, get a warm introduction to me - a recommendation from someone in the industry is worth infinite “perfect pitches.” If your pitch needs to be cold, call me and leave a short message. I’ll probably still ignore your call but I may listen to your VM. If you don't leave a message, I will assume you’re spam and block your number.

2. You talk to my employees

Don't Google my store number and call my employees. You are wasting everyone’s time. You need to talk directly to a decision-maker - usually the owner or a department head. Department heads are good leads because they’re usually working on initiatives and are open to new solutions.

3. You don’t scrub this “secret” free database of contacts

Did you know you can find the contact info for every major U.S. franchised system in their publicly disclosed FDDS? You can get names, phone numbers, etc. - all for free.

DFI Franchise Search

4. You think you got the entire call to get my attention

I barely have time to breathe, much less to listen to your pitch. You got 20 seconds to get my attention or I am hanging up. I don’t care what you’re trying to “disrupt,” just start with what process or system you are replacing / improving and why I should care.

5. You think you will blow me away with your “results”

Everyone promises me everything but I know your estimates are BS. I expect only <50% of the higher revenue / lower costs you promise to end up flowing through as real dollars. You won’t be able to fix my skepticism, but defining a short-term success metric and hitting it will make me much more comfortable rolling you out to the rest of my system.

6. You want to do a big deal

Unless you are a well-established name-brand player, don’t even ask me to consider signing up all my locations for whatever you are offering, it ain’t happening. Offer me a low-risk trial with 1 location and a short-term commitment or even better - no commitment. To be honest, if you’re an important system that’s adding value, we will just keep using you.

7. Your onboarding process takes more than 10 minutes

If your onboarding process is non-intuitive, takes more than 10 minutes, or is disruptive to my team’s workflow, go away. My employees are busy and we don’t have time for it.

8. You don’t offer integration with our critical systems

Our point-of-sale system (Toast, Aloha, Square, Lightspeed) is our central nervous system and command center. So if your product doesn’t have easy integration with our POS just stop talking. This is an absolute dealbreaker. Figure out your customer’s critical systems and make using your product as painless as possible.

9. You think you got the deal

Once you get me interested, you still need to convince the other stakeholders in my org - usually my GM or Head of Ops who will need to implement your solution. If they don’t like what they see or hear, we are not doing it.

10. You make it difficult for me to say “Yes”

If you’ve passed all the hurdles, don’t make me jump through hoops to close the deal by sending a 20-page doc full of complicated and aggressive terms - I'm not going to deal with it. Send me something easy to understand and mobile-friendly so I can read and sign it on my phone. The best sales teams close me while I’m still on the phone.

If you are selling to SMB owners and want me to take a look at your closing process and documents, just email me.

Email Agreements are Legally Binding. ROGER That

Whether you’re a sales executive signing a new deal or a gym owner sending a liability waiver, you need an easy way to get that “Yes.” Your top priorities are speed and certainty - you know that time kills all deals.

Electronic signatures are a huge improvement vs. traditional paper contracts and wet signatures. However, electronic signatures can also create unnecessary friction. Making your clients and stakeholders create an account, sign in, enter names and draw signatures may give the impression that they’re signing away their first-born child. Often they get cold feet and loop in their legal department for review, delaying or derailing agreements.

DocuSign and other e-signature platforms are useful for complex, bespoke and highly negotiated agreements like home purchases, prenuptial agreements, or merger contracts. However, for more standardized and routine processes such as non-disclosure agreements, sales proposals, service terms, waivers, consents, or memos of understanding (MOUs), DocuSign is often overkill.

A common misconception is that legal contracts always must be long, formal and executed with formal signatures. However, agreements reached via email are just as legally enforceable as wet signatures on paper or digitally drawn with a mouse. Court cases have upheld the validity of legal agreements accepted via email in business transactions.

The email does not even need to contain the person’s full name; a first name or initials are sufficient for a legally binding contract. While hashing out an agreement, the terms “non-binding proposal” or “for discussion purposes” are often included to indicate that the terms are still being discussed and are not yet binding.

Say hello to ROGER.

ROGER is the easiest and most convenient way for your clients to give you that “Yes.” ROGER’s 1-Click Accept button is securely embedded in email so your clients can accept any agreements with the least amount of effort. They click the button once and it’s done. No more going through the hassle of creating an account, logging in, entering a name, and drawing signatures.

Let ROGER help you get that “Yes.”

Legal Agreements 101 - Phone Calls, Handshakes, Napkins and Email

To be legally binding, an agreement needs these components:

  • Offer: One party makes an offer, such as selling a product or service to the other party.
  • Acceptance: The parties agree or accept the offer.
  • Consideration: One thing of value is exchanged for another thing of value. For example, if you’re selling 1-Click acceptance software to a customer, you’re exchanging software for money.
  • Intent by both parties to create legal relations: Both parties should know that they are entering into a legal agreement. In agreements between businesses, the law generally assumes that both parties intend to enter into an agreement. When an agreement is between a business and a consumer, the bar may be higher, because the consumer may not be as savvy about legal agreements.  

Of course, many agreements also include other details such as how the agreement can be terminated, what happens if a party breaches the agreement, and how disputes will be handled. However, as long as these four key components exist, whether it’s a verbal agreement over the phone or a handshake deal scribbled on a napkin, a legal agreement has taken place.

That’s why emails are legally binding. Despite not having a formal document or signature, email can outline and record all of the key components needed for a legally binding contract. As long as the agreement’s terms, parties, and intent are clear, accepting contracts via email is faster and more convenient.  

That’s where ROGER comes in.

Similar to how Amazon brought convenience to millions of consumers and revolutionized retail with its 1-Click checkout, ROGER offers 1-Click acceptance of standard agreements via email. ROGER is the quickest and easiest way for both parties to acknowledge the agreement and is 10x faster than any other e-sign method.

Once the recipient clicks “I ACCEPT,” ROGER creates a secure and immutable digital audit trail and sends both parties executed copies of the agreement appended with a watermarked Certificate of Acceptance with a globally unique identifier and hash. The process makes it clear to both parties that they’ve reached an agreement and removes the extra steps of creating new accounts and signing in. This means faster Yes’s and fewer headaches for everyone involved.

Let ROGER help you get that “Yes.”