Simple question: Difficult answer (Why it is so hard to break into a new market?)

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business development

Good morning Mark. I would like to thank you for accepting me into the group. My main problem I am facing right now is just getting my foot in the door. We are a very new company, and on top of that I’m from (former US state) and haven’t been in (new US state) that long so I don’t have that list of contacts that you build up over time working in the industry. I know there is definitely plenty of work to go around, I’m just struggling to get someone to give us a chance to prove that we do safe, quality work that will exceed their expectations. Thank you for any advice.

My answer:

It is always a challenge to “break into” a new market, especially if you don’t have close connections and relationships. From a marketing perspective, the challenge is to devise your Unique Selling Proposition, something that truly no one else offers and is of real (practical and emotional value) to your market. “Great customer service” or a slightly better price — won’t do the job. ‘

As an example, when I started in my business, I created the first independent construction newspaper (this was before the Internet) and could sell it as something truly different and relevant to businesses wishing to market/sell stuff to the local construction market. When I tried to make a better general business newspaper, even though it was truly an improvement over the existing competing publication, the project failed — because there already was someone in the marketplace.

One way to stand out from the crowd when you don’t have a truly “unique” business is to engage in community/association service activities where you can connect with the movers and shakers within the industry/market. This generally would be possible either through participation in associations for which your potential clients are members, or community causes which they support. A more advanced strategy is to build relationships with your potential customers’ own customers — earning powerful referrals that can work effectively downstream.

Alas, these approaches are definitely not quick fixes. And community service/involvement must be genuine, and not with the expectation of rewards/results. So it becomes a give, give, give exercise because if you even think of “taking” anything in return (before, and if, it happens naturally), people will see through the ruse and you’ll end up losing any trust and relationship values you have earned.

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