Breaking into a new market can be hard and intimidating at times, but having a plan will definitely help you to head in the right direction. I’ve entered a new market four times now, here are some things that I’ve learned along the way that have proved to be beneficial:
GIVE VALUE….the most important part of entering a new market and networking. Find ways that you can be of value to your new connections/community. For me, I love offering them photography because it’s a great way for us to work together so they can see how professional I am (ultimately I want them to trust me) and I’ve given them something useful.
Find small ways that you can give value that doesn’t cost you a ton of money, time, or effort. I’m not saying to always give out your service or product for free, but find small ways that you can help them, even it’s a connection with someone who can help them with a problem. My goal is to build relationships and find ways to give value so they will eventually know, love, and trust me.
Simply get yourself involved, involved in whatever makes sense to you personally and fits into your lifestyle. If you’re a mom, get involved in a group with other moms, if you’re a military spouse then join the spouses group, As an introvert, big networking groups can be rather intimidating to me, so I stick with groups that I know will be smaller, about 6-10 people at a time.
I love groups that have people that are in the same season of business, or a big farther along, than me…it really pushes me to be a better business person. Go to a few, find which works best for you, but do it consistently…you can’t expect to go to just one and you immediately start forming relationships. Get out, be seen!
Go to these groups to see how you can connect with someone and give them value…don’t go in only to sell (I promise you won’t do anything but turn people off).
I pride myself in being a connector of amazing women. One of the best forms of relationship building that I’ve found over the years is forming my own mastermind group of talented business owners. Each time I connect with a person that I think would be a great addition to the group, I simply invite them to the group. We get together monthly and chat about our goals and see how we can give value to each other. We end up being a great referral source for each other and great friends.
My favorite part of moving to a new area is discovering my favorites–favorite restaurants, favorite boutiques, favorite coffee shop, etc. As someone who finds it useful to connect with other business owners, sharing my favorites actually allows me to be seen by others…but in a way that gives value to them. Think about highlighting your favorites, especially things that you know your ideal client would be interested in. You can do this on your social media, blogs, or simply sharing it with a friend!
Look at your personal network and ask them if they have any contacts with anyone in your new area. Friends and family are always willing to help make a connection, if you just ask!
One of my most most successful networking comes from offering someone a small branding session. I’m very strategic about who I offer these to, I usually select individuals who are connectors, someone who I know is going to use their images and possibly be a great referral source.
Because I’m doing this to break into a new market, I will usually plan the details behind the shoot according to what I’m needing in my portfolio. I target specific locations (great for SEO) and ask the client to pay for hair and makeup so that they look and feel their very best. At the shoot we have the opportunity really talk one-on-one and get to know each other, adding to the mutual trust.