CRA Business Marketing Explored – USA
By Bryce Sanders
You know if you aren’t asking for their business, someone else is calling on them or they are seeking a local provider on their own.
Let’s start with an assumption: Every business needs a benefits plan regardless of size. You cover a geographic territory. You know many of the established businesses. What about businesses new to the area? How do you identify them? Here are a few ideas:
1. New Chamber members. The Chamber of Commerce exists to promote business in the local market. They offer a suite of services as a rationale for membership, which can be quite expensive! They want to get new local businesses into the Chamber as members. One of the benefits they likely offer is spotlighting new members. Check the Chamber website frequently. Find where they list new members. Don’t forget there are several Chambers in your geographic market. Check them all out.
2. Business incubators. This can also include shared workspace facilities. Here is where you are likely to find startups. Start by listing the business incubators and shared space facilities in your area. Visit them to get a feel for the place. Make a list. What can you learn about them online? How can you get onto their radar screens?
3. New nonprofits. They are businesses, of a different sort. A new museum is announced: There will be plenty of staff. There was a symphony: It went away years ago, but a new symphony is starting up. These operations often have deep-pocketed donors who intend to hire a professional staff. That staff will need a real benefits plan.
4. Startups listed in your business journal. This local publication likely has a section listing new businesses incorporated in your market. Buy a printed copy of your metro area business journal. Page through it. You will likely find a heading with listings in small type. This listing should give you enough information to visit the state website and find details about the business registration, addresses and officers.
5. New tenants in buildings. This includes office towers, office parks and industrial parks. Drive around. Look at signs. Walk into the lobby. Look at the tenant list. Who is new? Are they an established business or a newcomer?
6. Grand openings. Now think about storefronts. Your city probably has several shopping districts, outdoor malls too. When a new business opens, there are signs, streamers and banners. They run ads in newspapers. Now you have a business name and street address. It shouldn’t be hard to learn who to contact.
7. Online search results. You know placement is everything. Make it a habit to search for local businesses in specific categories periodically. You know the familiar names. Are new ones showing up? This can be a clue a new business has entered your market.
8. Business sales. Your local business journal, helpful in finding newly incorporated businesses, likely also carries a similar list of business sales and transfers. Page through again, looking for businesses that have changed hands. The new owner likely paid good money. They will likely review existing vendor relationships.
9. Phone listings. Few people are using a paper version of the Yellow Pages anymore. That data has moved online. Find the websites allowing you to search for an individual or business. By entering the business category, city and search radius, you should get a list of familiar names and a few that are fresh.
10. Word of mouth. It’s so obvious. Your current clients can be an excellent source of information. If they operate from an outdoor shopping mall or industrial park, they know who is moving out and moving in. Ask them to share this information when they see something interesting.
You are good at what you do. You know the importance of keeping your eyes open and listening. You also know if you aren’t asking for their business, someone else is calling on them or they are seeking a local provider on their own.