by Jon Isaacson
A new market can feel like a new planet with new customs, languages and people groups. If you are going to survive your new assignment and build thriving business relationships, whom do you need to know?
First Who of Whom You Need To Know – Know Yourself
Bring on the psychobabble, right? Yet, the reality is that sales interactions are relationships. If you know yourself then you will have a firm grasp of at least one player in the game of life as it turns the bend towards building new partnerships. If you do not know yourself then you have at least twice the work of native salespersons as you are chasing the unknown you while you also explore the topography of the unknown market.
“You have to understand your own personal DNA. Don’t do
things because I do them or Steve Jobs or Mark Cuban
tried it. You need to know your personal brand and
stay true to it.”– Gary Vaynerchuk
The ability to be honest with yourself about your strengths will enable you to operate from a position of confidence when approaching others. What makes you unique as an individual is often aligned with what creates a brand stand out as you colonize new territories. To the contrary, if you don’t know who you are it will make it that much more confusing when engaging new clients as they will be unclear about where you fit into their needs.
Second Who of Whom You Need to Know – Know Who You Want To Work With
If you don’t have hunting gear, a trail plan and a target list, then you are not a hunter. Every individual and organization has their target client list. A salesperson empowered by the confidence of knowing oneself and armed with the clarity of what they are offering to the marketplace is able to identify clients that they would like to engage in commerce with. Whereas those who are lost in the forest of self-discovery continue to wander through life unable to identify nor capture their opportunities.
Trust is the currency of relationships of mutual value. When entering a new market the battle starts with getting the opportunity to build brand awareness and churn that into organizational momentum. In a new territory with unknown clients there are no introductions, they all have to be initiated. Initial branding strategies are essential as there is only one shot at making that first impression and getting the word of mouth train whistling down the tracks.
Third Who of Whom You Need to Know - Know of Whom Knows Who You Want To Know
We don’t always control how our opportunities come in and therefore when entering a new market any invitation to the dance may at first be the only invitation to the dance. Like a bird in the hand, a customer who is willing to give you an opportunity and will pay for services/products is worth more than all those clients who aren’t yet paying attention. Strategic partnerships with community leaders that will build an organic presence in the circles that you want to operate in are important to long term success.
Leverage the strength your brand has and partner with those
that can fill in the gaps. Like minded marketers and
brands can do incredible things. – Kurt Uhlir
In most communities, large and small, word of mouth is the key to the city. Discerning who’s opinion matters, or at least who’s opinion can help you build your brand momentum is an important exploration benchmark. Seek opportunities to create win-win situations where assistance is mutual and the momentum is beneficial to all parties involved. Learn what is important to the community and find ways to engage with those values.
Third Who of Whom You Need to Know – Know Who You Don’t’ Want To Work With
Nearly as important, if not even more important, than knowing who you want to work with is identifying those clients that you don’t want to work with. Whether your values do not align or for various reasons the relationship is not a good fit, everyone deserves at least one dance but that does not mean that we will form a partnership with everyone who expresses interest. As noted in a prior article, Marketing Step One, There is no substitute for meeting people and sharing who you are and what your company does. Listen for opportunities. Observe those whom you do and do not want to do business with. Be clear in who you are, what value you bring and with whom you want to partner with.
Bad relationships can be costly, do your research to ensure that you only enter into partnership where your values and vision are aligned so that you are not confusing your brand. Risk and rewards are always measured in relationship to opportunities, knowing which ones to pursue and which ones to pass on is the reason you get the above average dollars. Keep your eyes and ears open, try new things and don’t let fear be the reason you don’t take steps to explore the new territory. Learn the nuances and customs of the new market so that you can align with what matters to the community. Engage people from a standpoint of confidence in yourself as you embrace the community, create beneficial partnerships and build a brand of value. Go and do good things! If you need assistance with ideas, let us know.
Jon Isaacson is the director for Local Facilities Manager's Connection (LFMC) which is a peer-to-peer networking group started in Eugene, Oregon. Jon has been working in business development, systems optimization and team building with organizations large and small for nearly 15 years. He has been writing, speaking and assisting teams with creative business solutions, helping those organizations bring their vision into reality.
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