Horizontal Tango: 3 Ways to Open New Doors

January 24, 2019
By: Denise Niles, Advanced Electronic Solutions (AES), PSA Sales & Marketing Committee Member

How do you parlay your vertical to new horizons? How do you get through a new door using an existing market? How do you use your vertical network to make horizontal connections? Stuck? Frustrated? Stop banging your head against the wall. Get the reciprocating saw and slice right through it!

Situation 1 – I know no one.

Let’s take Joshua for example:

Joshua is brilliant with hedge funds.  His name is golden, and he gets many referrals within this vertical.  How can Joshua break into new ground?

Joshua – pick one new market you want to explore – for now, let’s try airports.  Go online to an airport in your area and see what events are coming up.  Typically, there are monthly lunches, vendor shows and groups you can join.  Go, eat, join.  Network and get your face and name out there.  Find out what projects are coming up by checking the websites and local newspapers.

Situation 2 – I know someone.

Beth is next:

Beth is killing it with marketing firms.  She knows the language, knows what they want and can design a system with her eyes closed.  But poor Beth cannot seem to move from marketing.  What should she do?

Beth – take one (or two or ten!) of your clients that you have excellent relationships with and pull their ear.  They are marketing!!! Let them market you!  Of course – within reason.  A few subtle questions – who is your latest client?  Any incredible deals?  And see if there is room for you.  Any happy client is usually willing to provide a reference.   Dear Beth – you can also let you fingers do the walking.  Go on LinkedIn – check out your amazing marketing client and see who they have as clients.    Take five leads and work your charm.    Is it time consuming?  Yes – all things take time.  Will it be rewarding?  Absolutely!

Situation 3 – I know everyone!

Delilah – come on down:

Delilah is all over the place. She has retail, banking, sports arenas and advertising. Delilah, Delilah, Delilah – girl you need to focus. Delilah wants to narrow her vertical and do commercial buildings. Well, Delilah – the sky is the limit!  Invest in the Real Deal. Sign up for Crain’s. Check new construction. Become friends with GC’s. In fact, make a list – and go visit the estimating department every month for GC’s to see what is cooking. Join (or try to join) BOMA. When you stop in to see your client, ask to see the building manager and introduce yourself. It cannot hurt – never know what connection you may have with her/him.

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