Resources for Entrepreneurs

Selling to an Industry

Selling to Convenience Stores

There's no question that convenience stores are excellent sales targets -- and that makes them attractive to companies who want to improve bottomline profits. If your company has a history of sitting on the sidelines, maybe it's time to start selling to convenience stores.

There are no one-size-fits-all strategies for selling to convenience stores. The basis for success is the same as it is in many other industries.

In any B2B industry, one of the key indicators of long-term success is the ability to expand your customer base. The good news is that convenience stores can be found throughout the nation, but the trick is to acquire and retain new accounts.

Casting a Broad Net

The first step in selling to convenience stores is to take a broad approach to the marketplace. Strategies that are isolated to the local market are not likely to succeed in an environment that leverages the benefits of long-distance sales techniques.

Although a geographic concentration may be a useful strategy for new sellers, you will eventually need to broaden your focus to include prospects outside of your initial range. You can also broaden your prospect base by introducing new products and partnerships into the mix.

Sales & Marketing Tips

Some B2B convenience store suppliers opt for third-party marketing over internal marketing activities. Either way, your marketing strategy should leverage a multichannel approach that addresses the diverse ways convenience store owners access information. Traditional channels like direct mail and telemarketing are important, but they should be combined with online strategies like e-mail campaigns, website SEO and social networking initiatives.

The best B2B sales teams routinely use reliable lead generation mechanisms. Leads drive sales cycles. Until your company develops a system for acquiring and qualifying convenience store leads, you will have a hard time breaking into the market.

If your sales force is failing to generate enough leads, consider buying updated lead lists from a recognized lead list provider. Experian and other vendors have a reputation for delivering accurate and affordable convenience store lead lists to B2B sellers.

Networking Tips

The convenience store industry is relationship-based. Businesses that sell in the industry leverage networking and contacts throughout the sales cycle.

Lead lists are helpful in expanding your network, but only to the extent that your team invests time and effort to develop lead list contacts into long-term business relationships. As an owner or manager, you need to encourage networking strategies and proactively model relational sales techniques.

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