How to leverage the everyday relationships that you already have. Larry Holder – Atlanta, GA
In my local area we have several property management companies. I know them and have their regular business. However, in my nearby Phoenix market we have a very large property developer, management team and leasing company. They build and manage millions of square feet of flooring space. My challenge? I do not know anyone that personally knows the team or the decision makers. I have no doubt that they need maintenance of some sort.
Steve, I want to reach out and begin a conversation but I need your advice. What department do you believe I should approach first? What type of language should I use? What benefits would hit home with executives overseeing multi-million dollar properties. I want to be as professional as possible. I do have a website of the home office with email addresses for everyone from the top down. I also have access to most of the top executive’s profiles with education background and work resume. I know that “if I want to win big I have to swing big”! Thanks so very much for any information or insight you can provide.
Moving On Up In a Phoenix Suburb
Thanks for writing, Moving. And I commend you for swinging for the fences! Remember that these “Big Boys” put their pants on one leg at a time in the morning just like you do! So don’t be intimidated by them. Your challenge is A) getting to them and B) breaking through their inevitable cynicism painfully gained through years of being let down by Big Talking sales people. Here’s a few ideas:
1) You mention your local PM’s already trust you. You might ask them if they know and/or do business with the folks you want to approach? If so, they might be willing to call or write them with an introduction for you. (Be aware that some PM’s are wary of sharing a competent contractor for fear you will “over expand” or leave them for the greener pastures of Phoenix!)
2) Look for networking opportunities in your new target market. For example, check out BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association). This very large and influential group has active chapters in most metropolitan areas, including Phoenix. Like any other networking group you need to “earn your stripes” first by attending meetings and volunteering to help. But over time you will build many valuable relationships.
3) Show up. That’s right- just march right in to their headquarters. A) Dress up, B) march right into their headquarters, smile and give your name and company and then say, “I was just walking a property down the street and saw your office. I do a lot of work for (mention the largest PM you work for) and they suggested I get in touch with you folks. Who would I talk to about…” As my mother always told me, “Steven, it never hurts to ask!”
4) Remember that these Big Boys will already have long lasting relationships with other vendors. And if they are any good these contractors will be jealously guarding these accounts. So don’t expect any of your property management prospects to just give you the keys to the vault immediately! But by nibbling around the edges and doing superb (and most importantly RELIABLE) work you’ll find yourself transforming into a “go to” person.
Let me know how it goes!
PS One key phrase I learned when approaching big companies is to just say, “I’d like to be added to your vendor list”. Then be prepared with your 30 second “elevator speech” that concisely answers “What we do and why we are better than our competitors”!