When you find yourself in a new company or exploring a new territory, the first thing you have to do is build rapport. Make sure people know who you are and what you specialize in.
There are several ways to do this:
1) If you have a record of doing things in neighboring jurisdictions and communities, those should be some of the first things you mention to potential allies and customers. This is more straightforward if you already have your foot in the door (e.g., transferring to a different branch or a similar company).
2) If you’re a total fish out of water, I would recommend reaching out to your local Chambers of Commerce and getting names of businesses to contact. As usual, your best bet is a search that’s specific to your industry and segment.
Let’s say you’re curious about call centers. Once you’ve obtained the right contact information, you call and say:
“Hello, John. My name is [first name] and I work for [company] in [specific area]. We’ve had the pleasure of providing [your service] to no less than a dozen call centers within 25 miles of your ABC call center. If you'd care to explore how we can extend the success we’ve delivered for those businesses to yours, I would be open to a discussion. Would you have time in the next several days to connect, either by phone or in person? I could share with you what we’ve done at those other sites. I bet you’d find those insights to be very useful, regardless of whether we eventually decide to work together.”
Assuming they opt to continue the conversation, feel free to volunteer a success story that’s likely to resonate with them, and perhaps even suggest how they might be your next case study. This could be the thin edge of a wedge to break into a new territory, as opposed to just calling every Tom, Dick, and Harry with nothing special to say!
3) Another option is to team with your local Chambers of Commerce. After all, what are they trying to do? Their goal is make their member businesses more competitive and profitable, building the community, spurring economic development in the process. You could approach them and say:
"Hello, John. My name is [ ] and I work for [company name]. We are a leading mechanical service contractor that’s expanding our operations into your territory. Over the last 3 years, we’ve worked with no less than 25 large building owners to help them make their operations more profitable while reducing their utility expense and carbon footprint. Our company’s leadership asked me to reach out to you today to explore the possibility of presenting a workshop that would be sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. We’ve been thinking it would be titled something like, ‘Leveraging Energy Projects to Make Your Business More Competitive, Profitable and Valuable.’ Our presentation would be absolutely non-commercial and would deliver actionable success tips to your membership.”
4) Another great tactic is to approach a local newspaper or business journal with an offer to provide content. You could be a guest contributor and write about how your offerings hold the potential to drive comfort, convenience and impact. Again, be sure to keep the content genuinely helpful and non-commercial. Believe me, if you share useful content, plenty of promising prospects will reach out to you thanks to the “About the Author” blurb at the end of the piece. And remember, you don’t even need prospects to be that proactive. Once the piece is published, reprints become valuable tools to open doors.
If you speak to any of these people, it’s going to prove much more effective than dialing down a list of businesses you find online.