Client acquisition isn’t as easy. You need to know the right people. Have a good reputation that precedes you. Be in the right places to make the right connections. Come across as intelligent. Establish yourself as a local, not a carpetbagger. Reading your business journal cover to cover helps accomplish your goal.
Who Reads the Business Journal?
It’s easy to be dismissive of your local business journal. Small business owners assume it’s read by corporate executives. Non-profit executive directors think it’s read by insurance agents and financial advisors. Corporate executives think it’s read by property developers. People in all these professions read their business journal.
Your local business journal is similar to the program you get when you attend a Broadway show. It tells who the major players are. It outlines the plot and subplots in major stories around town. For a financial advisor, it’s a great tool.
A Dozen Ways Your Business Journal Helps You
Some people only read the free version online. Others buy the print edition. You might delve into subscriber content online. Here’s how it can help.
- Avoiding fake news. “It must be true. I saw it on the Internet.” We laugh about it, but it can be embarrassing and unprofessional to talk up a story that later is proven false. Your local business journal should fit into the quality journalism category. News stories are vetted. You recognize the names of the local people quoted in stories. You can refer to the journal as your source.
- Local business news. When you network at community social events, the local business leaders you meet are usually boosters for the local community. They want everyone to be successful together. Alternatively, they don’t want to buy a service like professional money management and see their fees shipped off to another city 1,000 miles away. When you read the business journal thoroughly, you have a wealth of local stories to bring up in conversation. The listener realizes you are committed to the local area.
- Know the major players. Everyone in sales understands the importance of Centers of Influence. (COIs) They know everyone. Their opinion matters. You want to get onto their radar screen. Regular reading of the business journal gradually lets you know who they are, industry by industry.
- Enter LinkedIn. You know the names of these influencers. How can you take it to the next level? You’ve attended events and heard them speak. Maybe you shook hands at a conference. They’ve been cited in articles. Consider sending them a LinkedIn invitation citing these points. You could also follow them. A LinkedIn connection means your posted content may be seen by them in their daily feed. Now you just have to hope they are active LinkedIn users…
- Wealthy Prospects. Your business sells investments or insurance to individuals. You prefer a top down strategy where you identify successful people who can easily afford your services. The business journal frequently publishes industry lists showing the top 10, 20 or 30 major firms. The senior officer or owner is usually listed by name. Backing into contact information isn’t that difficult. Today, LinkedIn makes it easier to play “Who knows who.”
- You are attending a charity event. You know which movers and shakers will be there. You do some research beforehand using multiple resources, including the business journal. You learn their company made a recent acquisition or reported great earnings. You walk up to them, cite the story and congratulate them. Who could be offended by that? Some business journals might even have an index at the back listing the names of companies and individuals featured in articles along with page numbers.
- Clipping and mailing. You want to get on someone’s radar. You see they were mentioned favorably in a news story. You cut the article out of the print edition. You might even have it laminated at the local office supply store. You mail it to them with a congratulatory note. Most people really like to see their name in print, especially when the news is favorable.
- People new to the area. The business journal usually includes a “People on the Move” section. This often includes senior executives new to the area who have been given a prestigious post. They need to buy houses. The need various professional services. They need to make lots of decision quickly. They can be great prospects.
- New business startups. Businesses also need professional services. They need lines of credit. They will need more office and factory space as they expand. You might be taking the long view, but finding these announcements and getting in touch helps you get in on the ground floor.
- Nonprofits to support. Charitable galas are news. Senior executives and community leaders turn out. Sometimes they are the honoree. Once you become a donor, the charity keeps in touch. You should get invitations to other events. Different charities pick up names. When you see the great and the good again, politely remind them where you first met. They will likely greet you warmly in return.
- Major charitable donors. Your ideal prospect is someone with money. Philanthropists have money to give away. Sounds like a good match. Read the business journal, looking for ads announcing charity galas, chamber recognition events and other gatherings likely to draw business leaders. You attend galas, saving the programs. Who are the major donors? “Wasn’t that a great event at the zoo last month?” is a great conversation starter.
- Client acquisition strategies. Many business journals include “How to” marketing sections. They serve as a useful reminder of strategies that have worked for others. They can also help you understand the role technology continues to play in client acquisition.
On a good day, any one of the dozen points listed above could lead to at least one new client relationship. Often, having the right information at the right time is what delivers success. That’s where your local journal can support your efforts.
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