5 Step Playbook for Selling to Local Businesses

Local businesses are the hardest B2B segment to reach. Less than 10% of small business owners are active on LinkedIn, and none of the major sales platforms (such as Salesloft, Apollo, and Outreach) cater to the unique playbooks required to reach SMB decision makers. 

Over a million local businesses were reached through the Resquared prospecting platform last year alone. That gives us more data than anyone on what actually works for any industry to run high quality, personalized, and effective lead generation. We’ve consolidated all of this into these 5 key tactics:

1.  LinkedIn Facebook and Instagram. 


LinkedIn is a B2B platform. Local businesses are primarily B2C. And business leaders spend time in the places where there clients are. That’s why over 70% of local businesses have an active, monitored Facebook or Instagram presence. This not only makes those sites a great place to research the businesses, but even to message them! 

If done right (see our other articles for how to do this right!), sales professionals get over a 20% response rate from businesses on FB & Instagram. That’s more than 10X the average email reply rate. And, it’s usually a business owner or decision maker who is monitoring these pages. In fact, Facebook incentives business owners to respond quickly to DM’s to maintain their site ranking. 

To get started with FB & Instagram, check out our other articles:

How to Prospect Small Business Owners on Instagram

7 Reasons Facebook Messenger is the Holy Grail for Reaching Local Businesses


If your sales team isn’t using FB & Instagram DM’s for lead generation, it’s the easiest way to grow your small business prospect funnel. 


2. Harness the Power of Plain Text Emails

Email prospecting is an age-old tactic, but when done right, it can still yield impressive results. One of the most effective ways to get a local business owner's attention is by sending simple, plain text emails. 

RE2 Email Blog 3

Emails with images, links, and look like a newsletter, get nearly 0 replies when used for lead generation.

So why plain text? Because it's personal. It comes across as less salesy and more sincere. Plus it avoids the most common issues that land emails in spam. 

Local business owners are inundated with marketing emails daily, most of them heavily designed and clearly automated. A plain text email, on the other hand, stands out. It reads like a note from a friend rather than an advertisement, and therefore is more likely to be opened, read, and responded to.

When crafting your plain text email, keep in mind the following best practices:

  • Personalize: Include their business name and something specific about their business to show that you've done your research.
  • Be brief: Keep your email short and to the point. Local business owners are busy; they don't have time to read lengthy emails.
  • Clear call to action: Make it clear what you want them to do next. Whether it's to schedule a call, reply to a clear question, or check out your product, be explicit about the next step.

3. Smart Follow-ups

Persistence pays off in the world of B2B sales. But how you follow up is just as important as doing it. Smart follow-ups are all about standing out and staying top of mind.

Here's how to implement smart follow-ups:

  • Persistence: Most sales happen after multiple (or many) follow-ups. Don't get discouraged if you don't hear back right away. Stay persistent, but always respectful.
  • Credibility. Following up with a reference to another local business in the same market that you work with is the best credibility you can establish. And it gives you a reason to send that second email and generate a response. 
  • Content: Each follow-up should add value. Share a helpful resource, new information about your product, or an interesting industry trend.
  • Persistence: We already said this one. Never send only 1 email! 

Most prospecting tools and CRMs make it easy to automate follow up reminder notifications or just automated follow-ups. Be sure you're taking advantage. 

4. Utilize Multiple Channels

We’ve mentioned email and social media. These aren’t mutually exclusive tactics. The most successful salespeople know that using multiple channels increases their chances of getting a response.

When prospecting, don't limit yourself to just one method of communication. Instead, reach out to them through email, social media, and phone calls.

Here's why this approach works:

  • It increases visibility: The more you show up in different places, the more likely it is that your message will be seen. This has a powerful impact on name recognition. 
  • It shows persistence: Contacting them through multiple channels shows that you're serious about getting in touch with them.
  • It caters to their preferences: Some people prefer email, others prefer phone calls, and others still prefer social media. By reaching out through multiple channels, you cater to their preferred method of communication.

Monitor the results of your activity - if they've opened your email multiple times or seen your Facebook DM, it's a good time to follow up with a phone call. 


By standing out from the crowd and showing persistence, you increase your chances of getting a response and making a sale. Remember, the goal is to make meaningful connections with local business owners, and sometimes, that requires stepping out of the traditional sales playbook.

5. Offer to stop by in-person

A powerful tactic when reaching out to local businesses is to give them something easy to say 'no' to. Sounds counterintuitive, right? But this psychological trick can actually open the door to further communication.

One of the best ways to do this is by mentioning a time you'll be in their area. For instance, you might say, "I'll be in [their neighborhood] next Tuesday afternoon and would love to stop by your shop for a quick chat. Would that work for you?"

This approach accomplishes a few things:

  • It shows that you're local: Local businesses often prefer to work with people who understand their community and their market. By mentioning you'll be in their area, you demonstrate that you are not some remote entity; you're part of their community.
  • It gives them an easy 'no': Most people dislike rejecting others outright, but they love to have control over a situation. By providing a specific suggestion, you're giving them an easy opportunity to say no. But that 'no' can often lead to a counteroffer, such as suggesting a different time or offering to talk over the phone.

Visiting in person isn’t an option for everyone, but we do see emails that mention stopping by as one of the highest performing “call to actions” you can include. Use it when you can.


Now that you have our data-driven, proven playbooks for selling to local businesses, we'd like to invite you to schedule a prospecting session with one of our experts. They'll walk you through how the Resquared platform works in your choice of market, and demonstrate live how easy is to run our high quality, personalized prospecting tactics. 

Or to do more research on your own, check out these resources: https://www.re2.ai/blog 

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