Hey Kelly – How Do I Sell Into New Verticals?
This week, I’m returning to the Hey Kelly format and getting back to answering all the great questions and problems that you all wrote to me back in February. Was that really two months ago? My head is spinning!
Here goes: (and I’m paraphrasing)
"We've been focused on one vertical market, and doing that for over 25 years, and in all modesty, we are very good at what we do. We now want to get into another vertical market, but here's the problem: we have no idea how to find good companies/people to talk to. We can get lists of theoretical decision makers, but we don't know the industry and we don't know the people, so it's hard to sort out the quality leads from the chaff.
So how do we find the quality leads in a new vertical market?"
First things first. Take a really hard, close look at the clients in your rock star vertical market. What are they doing? Selling stuff. And what do you help them do? Sell the stuff they are selling. Truth be told, you can help lots of other companies do that too. Here is my list of things you should do to get ready to break out and break in to new markets.
1. Schedule a team brainstorming session. Get people from sales, customer service, estimating, production, and anyone else you can think of who has good ideas and knows your customers. Allow for two hours. Lock the door. Let them know that the goal of the session is to identify other kinds of businesses that you could be of service to, and why. Try to think of ways that the stories that you have to tell about your current vertical could have meaning to other kinds of companies.
2. Think about your personal experiences and those of your team. It is a lot easier to talk about something that you already have experience with. For example: are you a car guy? Talk to dealerships, car makers, retailers, after market specialists, insurance companies, and any other ancillary markets that you can think of in which you would already have some idea about challenges, customer needs, and great ways for them to communicate and sell more stuff.
3. Think about other vertical markets that are fundamentally similar to your comfort vertical. If your client sells real estate, what about commercial real estate? Or you could think about other really jumbo ticket items like luxury yachts, aircraft, or the technology side of all those markets, like companies like Air BNB.
4. Act like a rookie. Pretend it’s your first day on the new job, and act like your life depends on making a great impression on some key prospects in these new verticals. Court them. Call them, e-mail them and check them out on social media. Visit.
5. Just do it. Today is your day. You’re off to great places. You’re off and away. (Thanks Dr. Seuss)
Go get ‘em tiger. You got this.
Blogger, author, consultant, coach and all around evangelist for the graphic arts industry, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include sales and marketing coaching, enabling clients to find engagement strategies that work for them and mentoring the next generation of sales superstars.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league. She is also the mother of two sets of twins under the age of ten, so she fears nothing.