Want a quick tip to get an “in” with nearly anybody in any industry?
Find a common problem.
I don’t mean common like “everybody gets the flu” common, I’m talking about a problem that you have in common with your target.
Let’s take a winery for example. You (obviously) want to sell more wine. You’re targeting a specific retailer, because you have smartly determined the qualities and traits of your ideal targets and developed your laser focus.
Now, try to find a problem that you and your perfect “dream retailer” are both facing – one that you are solving in a common way.
This can, literally, be anything. Do you both get your floors cleaned by a commercial cleaning company? Are you hiring using the same recruiting firm? Do you get your signage or labelling printed at the same place?
Do your grandmothers go to the same beauty parlor?
Find a problem that you both have, that you are both solving in the same way.
Then, get in touch with the “middle man”.
Strike up a conversation. Don’t approach the cleaner/recruiter/printer/hairdresser and say “hey, can you give me so-and-so’s phone number?” – that will just build more resistance.
Talk to this service provider about how your business is growing, and you’re going to need more help from them soon (because truthfully, you will.)
Tell them that you wish you could find more retailers in the area that have X, Y, and Z qualities.
Wait a second, and see if anything happens.
Most of the time, people won’t need much prompting – they will gladly mention the retailer you’re looking to target, and maybe even offer an introduction.
If they don’t say anything, just ask: “Would you happen to know of anyone? I know you’re so well connected here!”
Now you’re not cold-calling this retailer.
You’re calling because a mutual service provider mentioned them, or even introduced you to them. Resistance? Rejection? No more! (Okay, well maybe it will still happen occasionally, but not nearly as much.)
One could refer to this as networking 101, but there is a specific reason that this works:
The service provider gets to feel like the well-connected big-shot (ego boost) and knows that you’ll be needing more from them as you grow (business boost.)
The retailer/target gets the knowledge of knowing that the service provider thinks highly of them (ego boost) and gains access to a new product that will sell well in their store (business boost) and solve a problem of theirs – you have identified the problem your product solves for retailers, right?
You don’t have to worry about rejection (ego boost) and find a great retailer to work with (business boost) while building a more satisfying relationship with your service providers (bonus!)
Nobody loses in this situation. That is why it works so well.
Try it and share your results in the comments!