If you’re an immigrant entrepreneur setting up a business in Canada or an existing business owner expanding to Canadian markets, before you start cold calling or knocking on doors – you may want to take a beat.
It’s a new market, new people with different lifestyles, problems, and cultures from your own.
What do you need to do differently to ensure you get your sales pitch right in Canada?
In this blog, we focus on 3 main elements to make your first sale in Canada and highlight what you can do to optimize it for the Canadian market.
1. Perfecting your Pitch for the Canadian Market
2. Perfecting your Marketing Collaterals for the Canadian Market
3. What do you do after making your first Canadian Sale?
Step 1: Perfecting your Pitch for the Canadian Market
Your sales pitch, in the most literal sense, is a concise description of why your customer should choose you. And this pitch could be delivered through channels like website content, phone texts, email content, social media ads, or face-to-face.
If you’ve developed your product for the Canadian market, then you may already be on the right track, but if you’re entering the Canadian market with a product built for another country or do not have experience in dealing with the Canadian market – your sales pitch might need some work!
Let’s look at each component that contributes to your sales pitch:
Presuming you’ve already checked if Canadians actually want your product, use this primary and secondary research to validate pain points, statistics, and overall sentiment. Incorporate that into your marketing and sales pitches to infuse authenticity into your brand message.
Grab your Canadian customer/client’s attention by showing them how well you understand their problem. Pull out language, instances, or emotions from your primary and secondary research to get your introduction right.
- Value Proposition:
Clearly communicate the benefits – not the features – that your Canadian customer/client can get out of using your product/service. Consider a storytelling style to engage your target audience. Canadians do not respond to brash or pushy marketing.
- Social Proof:
Champion evidence of your capabilities through customer stories, testimonials, research data, and guarantees. The more Canadian-centric the social proof is, the better it is for you! Avoid connecting stories or situations to the US; Canadians prefer not to be sold products or services by what is happening in the US or how the US may be reacting to your product/service.
- Unexpected Value:
Go beyond known problems and present additional needs or values your audience may not have considered, sparking their interest. For example, Canadians love it when companies have some element of Corporate Social Responsibility, so they are doing something for the environment, helping people in need, or taking steps to be more ethical and conscious.
- Specific Request or Action:
Whether it’s a verbal pitch or a marketing collateral like a website or brochure, always conclude your pitch with a clear call to action, guide your clients or customers to the next step and make it easy for them to convert!
Step 2: Perfecting your Marketing Collaterals for the Canadian Market
Marketing collaterals refer to the various materials and assets used in the sales process to promote and communicate your brand, products, or services. These can include websites, brochures, flyers, social media content, videos, and more.
Marketing collaterals are the face of how you convey your brand’s message, values, and offerings to your target audience. They help create brand awareness, generate interest, and ultimately drive conversions.
Designing marketing collaterals for your Canadian market would require you to put on a different thinking cap, just like you did with the sales pitch.
Below are some best principles when designing marketing collaterals for your Canadian customer/client.
- Canada is a huge country: Each province has its own unique characteristics. Decide which provinces you want to focus on to start with and tailor your marketing approach to each province, as what works in Quebec may not necessarily work in Ontario or Newfoundland. Take the time to understand holidays, traditions, and local customs to create content that truly connects with Canadians.
- Be inclusive in your messaging: Canada is a mosaic of cultures. Canadians love their heritage. For eg, Someone in Canada with Italian heritage will identify their Italian heritage with pride versus in the US, where ‘being American first’ is more important. Canadians want to be associated with brands that reflect their values, so ensure you respect and celebrate cultural differences.
Canada also has two national languages, English and French. If you want to sell in Quebec or to companies that have multiple locations, ensure that your product, flyers, website, and any instruction manuals are translated into French as well.
- Be Local, not Stereotypical: Use local references, settings, colour themes, geographic mentions, local actors, and/or influencers that resonate with Canadian audiences. But do not use eh’s, beavers, mooses, or mounties just for the sake of appearing Canadian.
- Talk intelligently: Canada is the most educated country in the world, with 60% of the adult population having a degree. Adjust your marketing content and angles accordingly; you will rarely find the need to dumb down anything for the Canadian markets. They are largely well-travelled, well-read, and loyal. If you can pull them in, they’ll stick!
- Do not equate the US to Canada: Use Canada-specific statistics and stories when speaking to your Canadian target audience. The two have different economies, cultures, business landscapes, and customer behaviours.
- Use genuine imagery: Genuine and original photos of your products, employees, and physical store (if applicable) add authenticity and build trust. Consider using CIRA‘s free Canadian Stock Photo library for a uniquely Canadian touch.
Developing a Canada-Friendly Website
According to a report by Harvard Business Review, clients are quite agnostic about where they get their information from to make a purchase – a website or a sales rep – it’s all the same to them! In a survey of over 1,000 B2B buyers dealing with complex purchases, it turns out customers rely on digital channels, like the supplier’s website, just as much as they rely on sales reps. And guess what? They don’t actually crave human conversations; they’re simply after the practical need of getting the necessary information.
This points to only one thing – your website – the mother of all marketing collaterals! It’s basically your sales pitch and point of purchase rolled into one!
Rev up your website for the Canadian market with these tips:
1. Opt for a .CA domain name: Choosing a domain name with the .ca extension instantly signifies that your business caters to Canadians, enhancing your credibility and SEO. If your core clientele is in Canada, this is a really good strategy to fit right in.
2. Canadian-Friendly Content: Boost your visibility for Canadian users by nailing search engine optimization (SEO). Use relevant Canadian keywords, especially location-specific ones. Get your business listed on Google and other local directories to show up in Canadian search results. Canada is a huge country with different regional tastes. Based on the type of product/service, you can use this opportunity to customize your content and marketing messages to connect with specific regions or provinces.
3. Language Localization: Canada is officially bilingual, with English and French as the main languages. So, if you’re targeting French-speaking Canadians, make sure to have a Canadian French version of your website.
4. Utilise custom Canadian stock photos: You can use local imagery from CIRA‘s free Canadian Stock Photo library.
5. Currency and Payment Options: Always show prices in Canadian dollars (CAD). Include popular Canadian online payment methods like VISA/ MasterCard/Amex debit and credit cards, Interac-transfers, EFT, and PayPal
6. Canadian Contact Information: Make it crystal clear by displaying your contact details, including a Canadian phone number and maybe even a physical address. This builds trust with Canadian clients and shows you’re locally available.
7. Shipping and Delivery: If you are shipping a physical product, be upfront about shipping options, delivery times, and costs for different Canadian regions. Definitely add trackable links. The average Canadian consumer reports checking delivery tracking an average of 3.2 times per order.
9. Mobile Optimization: Mobile-optimized websites are expected by customers not only in Canada but most markets in the world, so optimize your website for mobile responsiveness. Make sure it looks great and works smoothly on smartphones and tablets of all sizes also.
10. Website Performance and Speed: Canadians expect fast-loading websites, so optimize yours for speedy performance. Reduce page load times, optimize images, and ensure seamless navigation throughout your site.
Step 3: What do you do after making your first Canadian Sale?
Woot! You’ve sealed the deal, made the sale, and now it’s time to celebrate!
But hold on; this is just the beginning of a beautiful relationship that requires your attention and care.
Here’s a little secret: Acquiring a new customer can be anywhere between 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing customer. So let’s get on with what to do after making a sale:
- Offer Support: Be there for your customer. Canadian customers, corporate clients and individuals have high expectations for sales service and after-sale customer support. They value top-notch experiences throughout their buying journey and beyond.
Solidify their trust and loyalty by ensuring you have a local team available to address questions, concerns, or issues promptly. You can do this in the form of a dedicated customer care phone number, email ID, or even an automated chatbot to offer various levels of support.
- Seek Feedback: Reach out to your newly acquired Canadian customer and gather their feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask them for their input and give them a chance to share their experience. You’ll be amazed at the unique perspectives customers can bring that can inform your entire sales strategy.
You can use automated tools to send out feedback forms to your customers/clients or even request some to get on a 1-on-1 call with you in return for some added benefits/features/offers.
- Upsell: Once you’ve established a foundation of trust, explore opportunities to upsell or cross-sell relevant products or services. But remember, Canada has one of the world’s most strict anti-spam laws; you can’t go on badgering a customer with emails and text messages without having the required compliances in place.
Retargeting using social media is also another option to upsell or cross-sell products to your customers/clients.
- Establish a Loyalty Program: Canadians are loyal, and they also love their loyalty programs. A PWC report stated that, on average, every household in Canada has 8 reward memberships.
Show your Canadian customers and clients some extra love with your very own loyalty program. Reward their repeat business with exclusive perks, discounts, or special offers. The Government of Canada website has some examples too!
Making that initial sale is just the beginning. Now that you’ve laid the groundwork for long-term success in the Canadian market, we can’t wait to see what you achieve!
Are you looking to start up in Canada?
BHive is a startup incubator helping international entrepreneurs expand their businesses in North America and thrive in Canada’s Fastest Growing City. To apply to our Global Entrepreneur Incubation Program, click here!