- Posted by Graham Dockrill
- On April 11, 2017
- 0 Comments
- business, export, growth, marketing, sales, strategy
Networking is one of the foundation stones of business growth for any business. Through networking you will secure new customers, meet new suppliers and build long lasting friendships.
Networking is an art and a skill that often does not come naturally to the inventor or the entrepreneur. As an individual you need to focus on your strengths, as a business you need to focus on the lifeblood of your organisation – sales.
While digital and social media will play an integral part of any sales strategy, the ability to meet customers face to face, establish relationships with a handshake and escalate the conversation to the next step can only be achieved with people ‘in market’.
You need to articulate your offering clearly, presenting your value proposition to potential customers. Your value proposition differentiates your product from those of your competitors. It could be the lowest cost, the highest quality or the first-ever product of its kind. This needs to be articulated in a way that your customers understand, can relate to and ultimately, want.
I’m often asked, so what do you do? In three sentences I can sum up my offering in a way that explains what I do and offers a value proposition that business owners can understand.
“I align strategy and sales…I’m a sniper sales man who hunts down customers of strategic value and builds lasting relationships. I predominately focus on technology companies that wish to enter new markets; they are disruptive, innovative and scalable…SaaS businesses. I work mostly in the UK, USA and New Zealand, adding value for my customers by delivering export revenue and market validation.”
To successfully grow into international markets you need to clearly define what your business does and succinctly answer the question ‘so, what do you do?’ Without a clear focus and a convincing answer you will stagnate in the market.
In New Zealand success and survival comes from being a generalist (being a purveyor of 18th century baths and sinks in New Zealand is a rather limited market). International markets require you to be a specialist. In fact, the more specialised and defined your offering is, the more successful you will become.
London and New York have a combined population approaching 18 million people. The UK and the USA have close to 33 million businesses. To successfully enter an international market you need to:
- Clearly define your offering and articulate it in a way that describes your value proposition and shows added value to your customer.
- Specialise and focus on a very specific market – you can’t be a generalist and succeed.
- Validate your market before you arrive. Identify five key customers you want to work with and prove that your business model will work.
- Ensure that you can offer support and provide relevant case studies that show your strengths.
- Maintain regular contact and be patient.
The last point is incredibly important. To be successful you need longevity in the market. Like any relationship, transactional engagements and short term thinking are easily exposed and will hinder any potential deals.
In larger markets, there are a lot of distractions and noise. If you budget for it to take twice as long, cost twice as much and achieve half the sales, based on your original optimism, your expectations won’t be disappointed.
Citrus tree Consultants ensures that the heart keeps pumping as you push into new markets.
As founder of www.citrustreeconsultants.com, I’m a market entry specialist, working with companies to achieve their international ambitions. Contact me to find out how I have helped others and how I can grow your business.