Small business

Top Questions Small Business Owners, Sales Prospects Want Answered

With the wealth of information available online, small business owners can research and find ample material about a product or service. But quantity doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with quality.

While 80% of owners are able to find enough information during their research, only 26% say they have a “deep understanding” of a product or service at the time of purchase, according to CEB data.

This is because although many suppliers now provide an abundance of information, they often fail to answer the specific questions owners have during research. When owners are unable to get their questions answered on a supplier website, they are most likely to do one of two things: Conduct research with another supplier (43% of owners, according to CEB data) or become frustrated and abandon the process altogether (42% of owners).

The Top Questions Owners Have During Online Research

According to CEB analysis, small business owners tend to ask these five questions while researching a product or service -- regardless of their buying cycle stage:

1. Cost:

  • What is the exact price I need to pay?
  • How does the price compare to competitors?
  • Are there extra or hidden fees?

2. Satisfying business needs:

  • Will this product or service cover me for what I need?
  • Do I need the product or service?

3. How a product/service works:

  • What are the features of the product or service?

4. Options:

  • Is there a better product or service option than the one I originally have in mind?
  • How does this product or service compare to other suppliers’ products or services?

5. Flexibility:

  • Can I customize to meet my needs?
  • Is it easy to adjust if my business changes size?
  • What is the cancellation or return policy?

Filling in the Knowledge Gaps

Suppliers can use a variety of tools such as FAQ pages, video demonstrations, and side-by-side comparisons, among others, to answer business owners’ questions.

However, the question in each of these five categories needs to be answered in a way that makes sense for what you know about your small business customers, and fits with their own learning preferences.

Contributed by CEB, a best practice insight and technology company. Read more CEB blogs here.

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