So many times we become complacent by keeping things status quo. We know what to expect and there is no unknown. Good, bad or indifferent, we can usually predict the outcome.
But for some of us, we want to be a little more daring and put our stake in the ground with a new adventure. We are ready to build and grow our businesses by entering into a new market.
Before you just jump in, you’ll want to set yourself up for success. Consider these five steps to ease you through the process. Picture a funnel that represents the parts that are in the system.
1. Get to Know Your Market.
Market research gives a business a snapshot of what products or services might be profitable, who the key players are in the market, what the possible risks are for your business and what your competitors might already be doing in this market space. The primary goal is to gather data that will show the effectiveness of current practices while determining the viability of entering the market. Doing your due diligence can save you time and money.
2. Identify Your Ideal Prospect.
Write a detailed description of who this person or group “looks” like. What are their traits, how will your product or service help them or their team? Why would they look for you? Write business rules that will help keep you within certain guidelines. Be careful to differentiate between your ideal prospect and your end user. While they may be one in the same, there is also a possibility that one is the person that needs your product or service while the other may be the one that can hire you.
3.Where Does Your Potential Client “Hang Out?”
Now that you have identified your ideal prospect, where do you find them? We all know that networking is an activity that can help us meet those people that we may not be able to reach in person or over the phone. Attend those networking events that will entrench you into this new community you have identified – but remember attending once doesn’t make you part of the team. Consistency is key.
You need to network with intention and there are two parts to this. The first is the obvious one, finding those events with your target market or “People do business with people they like and trust.”prospect. The second is not as obvious. Find those business professionals that can take you to your target market – those strategic partners. You can help them and they can help you. It’s a win-win situation for all.
4. Now It’s Time to Connect.
I’m sure you’ve heard that people buy from those they like and trust. This is where you show the person that you are interested and not interesting. Simply put, it means ask questions that encourage your prospect to talk about themselves and their business. The more questions you ask, the more information you will gather and a relationship will begin. Here are three questions to help you start the conversation and make a lasting impression:
- Where do you normally network?
- What do you like best about what you do?
- What got you started in that direction?
5. Follow-Up is Crucial.
Most people don’t think they are in sales if your job is not to provide a product or service. This could not be further from the truth. Every day, everyone everywhere sells themselves and this is where following up takes place.
You have just met some incredible people that have expressed some interest in what you do. After the event, it is just as important as the event itself. Your follow-up actions are the measures that work to solidify your business contacts. As old-fashioned as it sounds, a handwritten thank you note goes a long way. When you schedule a meeting, the fun begins. You are now continuing a relationship that has started and you will now further determine whether or not you can each benefit from the other.
Ask open-ended questions to have a conversation, closed-ended questions to gather information and clarifying questions to make sure you are both on the same page. Two different scenarios can occur. The more favorable, of course, would be that you successfully entered into a new market and are building that community. In this case, repeat the process with others that fit your business rules. On the other hand, you may discover that this potential prospect is not the right one for you or your business. However, don’t forget that you have begun a relationship with this person, and if done correctly, you will both introduce others into each other’s circles. You never know who you will have the opportunity to meet.
Remember, people do business with people they like and trust – the cycle continues.