A few years ago, I was granted a municipality contract in Gainesville, Florida to conduct communications training for supervisors of employees working in the field. Our focus was to help employees communicate the big picture…from biomass to natural gas and electric as well as telecommunications for probably the largest utility company in Florida. From the training evaluations, it was obvious we made a difference in the way supervisors and their employees communicated over those two years.
What should have happened with a highly targeted audience of municipality owned utility companies across the country while “the iron was hot”, just didn’t. We got busy. We failed to tell our story to the rest of those companies.
If you are like most small businesses, most of your customers come to you by referrals or by all those networking events you attend. However, that doesn’t mean that this is the best way to build a business.
Knowing exactly what kind of new business you want (profitable, interesting, potential for longevity, etc.) is really important. Planning how you will “win” them over is usually half-done, often by sales management goals, but not always based on sound discussions about strategy support from marketing professionals.
Let’s try to keep it simple. There is a lot you can do, but here are a few top of mind strategies to use for most any top targets on your list:
Increase your frequency of branding. You can’t ever expect to stay first in the minds of your targets if you only come to their attention occasionally. We are all busier than ever with more messages delivered through more channels than ever before. What you can do for a business probably is forgotten or confused with more than a handful of other competitors who crossover in some way with what you offer. You must be known for something they might need.
Show commitment to your industry and your community. If you truly love what you do, show it. Your potential targets need to see you as an authority in your industry and a company which is passionate about the communities you serve. Just think about the recent political campaigns. Our values are more important in the mix than ever before. If your business and your management team are viewed as engagers, connectors, and truly concerned about your products and services, you will have value for your targets.
Stay fresh and use the tools you already have invested in to engage your potential clients. Be sure to be ahead of the pack not constantly excusing yourself from updating the website, staying engaged in your social media, researching what is important in the industries of your targets as well as your own, and making sure your staff stays up-to-date in skills that matter to your targets.
Research, Follow-up, and Communicate Value. I lump these three together, because you first need to know what is important to your targets, you need to follow up from every potential opportunity, and you need to communicate the value of your particular knowledge, skills, connections and ultimately, solutions you want to offer your targets.
I hope you will decide right now to write down what strategies and tactics you will focus on in regarding to at least one of these four must-dos. I would love to hear how you are accomplishing more focus on your top targets!