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How to approach businesses for sales

10.5.2015

When your sales materials arrive and you send your sellers on their way, their first port of call will always be friends and family. Sure, grandmothers, aunts and neighbors make great wreath customers, but the sales shouldn’t stop there. Businesses are too often overlooked as potential contributors to nonprofit fundraisers. Here’s how to get in with this untapped market. 

 

Contact local your local chamber of commerce

The mission of a chamber of commerce is to advocate for and support the local business community. If your group isn’t a member already, joining the local chamber of commerce can be a fantastic way to spread the word about your fundraiser to businesses in your area. The potential sales should more than make up for the cost of your membership.

Benefits of membership often include free listings in the chamber’s newsletter and website. You’ll also be able to attend members-only events and network with local businesses that are always keen to support nonprofits in their community. 

 

Suggest businesses give wreaths as client and/or staff gifts

Many companies, both large and small, give holiday gifts to their employees as a way of showing appreciation for a year of hard work. By giving fresh evergreens, local businesses won’t only be pleased to have such a thoughtful and fitting Christmas present for staff, but they’ll also appreciate getting their employee gifts organized well in advance of the holidays.

Fresh evergreens also make ideal gifts for business clients. Business owners may be interested in scrapping the generic corporate Christmas card and sending their top customers wreaths instead. 

 

Ask businesses to sponsor a ‘wreath-giving’ cause

Businesses often give to charities and nonprofit causes as part of their corporate social responsibility. Around the holidays, businesses in your area may be interested in buying a large batch of wreaths to give to a local cause. For example, they may buy a batch of wreaths to hang in a local homeless shelter, nursing home or children’s hospital ward.

This ‘wreath-giving’ model is a different take on our fundraising program, and businesses will see it as a way to support two worthy cause at the same time. If you have a company in mind that you think would like to support your ‘wreath-giving’ cause, contact the human resources department.

 

General tips for selling to businesses

✓  Start with businesses you know. ​

To increase your chances of success, begin by approaching businesses that you have a connection with. For example, your own dentist’s dental practice, your cousin’s law firm or your parents’ accountant. ​

✓   Consider email instead of cold calls or door-to-door sales. 

Check to see if the businesses you want to target have an email address or online contact form. Contacting companies by email can be a less intrusive way to deliver your sales pitch, as it ensures you’re not interrupting work during business hours. It also makes it easy to link to your group’s website where business owners can read more about why you’re raising money.​

✓   Spread the word. ​

Don’t overlook the power of word-of-mouth. When you sell wreaths to friends, family and neighbors, mention that you’re also interested in selling to businesses. They might mention it to a friend, who will mention it to someone else who just happened to be looking for a good staff gift. Don’t forget to make local businesses part of your sales narrative!

For more sales tips, visit our support page or head to our message board to swap notes with other fundraising groups from across the country.

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