Gail Kasper, Author, Television Host, Certified Fitness Trainer, and Motivational Speaker
In my years of experience, I have seen many businesses experience the good fortune of sellingl through call-in leads. But all too often, receiving sales via call-ins becomes a crutch to owners and sales representatives. When the market slows, they suddenly realize that they must develop new tools that will help them generate more business.
Proactively seeking new business opportunities must become the wave of the new economy. It will develop long-term positive habits for employees and empower them to continue to build business despite economic challenges or a shift in the market.
Companies who are reactive and wait for a potential customer to call, run a high risk of failure and, if nothing else, limit success. A reactive approach will also cause a sales representative to become powerless and increase turnover while a proactive approach will increase the growth and stability of your business at a much faster rate.
One of the latest and most productive strategies involves a system where an owner or sales representative will capitalize on businessees within one industry. This is called Vertical Market Development. As the owner or sales manager now has an understanding of the industry, it is much easier to pursue their customers’ competitors. Typically VMD begins when you either notice a marketing trend with an existing customer or you see an “absolute” need with a potential customer.
There are many values of Vertical Market Development. Since you already know this particular type of customer has a need for your product or service, by approaching other customers within the same market, you will 1) Increase your “meeting” opportunities, as similar-type businesses want to know what their competition is doing. 2) Be able to help other businesses within that same industry with regard to their needs and challenges, while at the same time, increasing your confidence and strategy and 3) Have instant credibility. Many companies want to do business with organizations that have established themselves as experts within their industry. Whether you are working with jewelers, schools, hospitals or any type of business for that matter, they realize that you are aware of specific mandates and concerns and that you understand the business. This builds rapport and helps people feel more comfortable about doing business with you.
Let’s take a look at how to successfully build a Vertical Market.
Explore Your Existing Customer Base. Do not limit your research to recently sold customers. Explore your entire existing customer base. Not only may you find a Vertical Market opportunity, but you may also find an opportunity to sell them additional services.
Then, identify the competition. Research the Internet, local chambers of commerce directories, or associations. Create a list of companies for which to call.
Cold Call. Reach out to these new opportunities via telephone or field activity. When calling these organizations, establish credibility by mentioning your knowledge of the industry and that you’d like to schedule a time to meet.
With regard to associations, they are perhaps one of the most powerful ways to network with companies centered on the same industry. Call your current customer base and ask them “Which associations are you involved with? Then, call the association and attend as a guest. If you find the meeting to be effective, join the association and start attending. But remember, consistency is key. Inconsistency breaks the rapport process. The more you go, the more businesses will call upon you for your expertise.
While attending the meeting, you might also consider asking, “How would I become a guest speaker?” Guest speaking is a great way to build a need and educate without selling. The speech, when done effectively, will not only be able to use this speech as a template for other association meetings, but you will develop a portfolio of leads.
Once you have assessed the viability of a vertical market opportunity, it’s up to you to become an expert in their industry. When meeting with any business, explore and thoroughly evaluate their business. Ask many questions. Leave no stone unturned. Learn the business as though it were your own. Become the expert.
About Gail Kasper: Mid-1998, Gail Kasper started her business from a small one-bedroom apartment, in the middle of bankruptcy, with no money in the bank. Today, Gail is one of the nation's leading speakers, author, Top 1% Club Mentor, a television host, advice columnist, Certified Fitness Trainer, Ms. Continental America 2008, and the creator of SAD-T™ (Systematic Attitude Development-Technique™). A former Contributing Editor to Success Magazine with the "Ask Gail" column and host of the "Ask Gail" segment on the Comcast morning show, Gail is the author of her self-help autobiography Another Day Without A Cage: My Breakthrough From Self-Imprisonment To Total Empowerment and the self-help parable Unstoppable: 6 Easy Steps To Achieve Your Goals. With national media appearances that include Inside Edition, The Today Show, FOX Business News, and Oprah and Friends, Gail has earned the ranking of an in-demand national media personality who has been the topic of discussion on Regis and Kelly. The current host of the Philadelphia Visitors Channel, she has also made numerous appearances on network affiliates that include ABC, FOX, CW11, Comcast, and CBS, where she co-hosted the Emmy award-winning America's TVJobNetwork. www.gailkasper.com
This article is courtesy of the Top 1% Club and the Top 1% Club Mentor Gail Kasper. For additional information on Gail Kasper, her television appearances and speaking engagements, please visit gailkasper.com.