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9 ways to find new business in your defined sales territory

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Many people selling to businesses are expected to have laser-like focus. Their territory might be geographical, as small as midtown Manhattan or as large as Nebraska. Your territory might be defined by a profession or industry. If you were an insurance wholesaler, you might be dedicated to servicing only one specific firm. In all these cases, you need to find new business within your assigned constraints.

More food for thought: every business need a benefits plan regardless of size. You know many of the established businesses. How can you identify businesses new to the area? Let us assume you have a territory. How are you going to find prospects?

  1. Buy the book. Unfortunately, we have moved beyond resources like the Dunn & Bradstreet Middle Market Directory, showing companies by revenues and number of employees. There are resources you can find online today showing the firms or business units in your market. Now you have a starting point.
  2. Who are your current customers? You already have a different sort of book, a “book of business.” These are firms already doing business with you. Financial advisors at major financial services firms are often paid through recurring revenue. If they buy a product and pay the firm fees year after year, you get trailers. Sometimes you are only paid on new business generated, meaning you need to deepen the relationship. What makes sense for them to buy? What new products have you brought to market?
  3. Where have your previous connections gone? We live in a fluid work environment. It has been estimated people will hold about a dozen jobs in their lifetime. You had contacts at firms who are no longer there. You developed a rapport with the previous guy. What happened to them? Where did they go?  If they left for a better offer in the same field, you may have a new connection at a firm with the potential to become a client.
  4. What about your old clients? You might fit into that previous category yourself. You changed firms and are doing the same job, but now for a different employer. Are you allowed to approach your previous clients and let them know about your move? (Some firms might not allow this, considering the client relationships property of the firm.) Assuming it is permissible, does it make sense to look them up and share the good news about your move?
  5. What businesses are new in the area? This can be discovered in a variety of ways. Drive around, looking for grand opening signs. Look at new construction, see who moved into the office space. Your local business journal might have a section announcing new incorporations. Who are the new Chamber members?
  6. What is the right professional organization to join? Running a business can be lonely. Many industries have trade groups who represent their interests in Washington. These organizations often have local chapters. They often have associate memberships for people and firms not directly employed in the field, but selling services utilized by that field. Which should you join?
  7. Who are your local college alumni? According to Job Market Monitor, approximately 50% of college graduates work in the same metro area where their college is located. You have “the old school tie” working in your favor. Many older graduates might own their own businesses. You have a reason to call and get to know them better. Learn if your school has rules concerning these forms of solicitation or meet fellow graduates socially at local alumni gatherings.
  8. What is your social media presence? Everyone seems to be getting involved with LinkedIn. It’s the accepted forum for business-to-business networking and communication. It’s an ideal place to establish yourself and find local business prospects. It is also a good forum for drip marketing. Do not forget about LinkedIn groups.
  9. What does a Google search show? It has been said 81% of consumers do online research before making a purchase. Enter your name and firm or field and do a search. Do you show up on the first page? It has been said 90% of people never go beyond the first page of results.  Even more amazing, about 25% of people click on the first result given. Where do you show up in the results?

There are many ways to find prospects when your territory is defined. Consider your situation like a card game. You have been dealt several playing cards. What is the best hand you can assemble?

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.

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