Maggie AndersonWho isn't ready to capture a big client? Here's how to use summer's slow time to get ready for the big one this fall!
Step one is to get out of the economic doldrums. If your small business or consultancy has been staying just above water you are not alone, but only you can change that. Don't let discouragement keep you in the shadows waiting for business to get better -- start thinking bigger, energize your brand, make some bold moves toward being more visible, so your ideal prospects can find you. That may mean networking at some high profile events where your target market hangs out. Or it might mean stepping back to better define your niche, your marketing strategy, or trying some new tactics. One coach who was looking for monied clients is offering free workshops at Whole Foods. Another used a previous international experience to arrange a presentation at an International Trade Center. With some out-of-the-box thinking you can discover marketing resources you have not yet tapped. Nothing comes to mind? A Mastermind group will stimulate these kinds of ideas and resources; or hold a one-time brainstorming session with a few colleagues. Let each one bring one issue and brainstorm ideas for each other.
- Create a target list of prospects, and how you can get introduced or how to contact them. use LinkedIn to see who you know who has a connection at the company.
- What's the best way to contact your prospect? Barb Giamanco, author of The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media thinks too many people are hiding behind email these days. Consistently get back on the telephone, she says. ... surprisingly, many people will give up after just one or two calls. Frankly, it can take as many as 7, 10 or 15 calls just to connect with someone. Given how pressured people are in business these days, that makes sense. What doesn't make sense to me is why people give up so easily.
Once you get an appointment
Susan Wilson Solovic in her AllBusiness blog* advises advance research and a lot of listening:
- Speak the language. Every large company has its own culture and terminology. Understanding the language your big prospect speaks and using that language in correspondence and presentations will give you an edge. They'll be better able to relate to you and you'll seem like a good fit with their organization.
- Look, listen, and learn. Big companies need you, believe it or not. Small companies are more flexible and innovative, so big companies often look to them as a means to get things done more quickly and efficiently. Therefore, your job is to look at the opportunity, listen to what they need and then learn how to provide it to them. That's right, learn how to provide it. Many times a large prospect with tell you exactly what they want and how they need you to deliver it. So turn off your standard sales presentation and close the deal.
Be prepared for success. I once had a role at my daughter's school that meant purchasing over 100 pizzas several times a year. My first choice was a neighborhood, locally owned pizzeria. I went by to talk with them and sample the product -- the owner wasn't there, never got back to me, and they wouldn't give me a sample slice. When I called again to set up a firm order and delivery time, someone took my information but no one called me back. Eventually they did call and matched the price the pizza chain had given me, but they weren't reliable enough -- I could imagine 20 volunteers and 400 kids waiting for pizza that came too late. Your team and your resources have to be ready to respond to a big client. Do a "big job" drill. The person in charge of the buying can't risk choosing the wrong vendor, so you've got to reassure them every step of the way that you are fully responsive, professional, and ready to handle their large order without a hitch.
This article was written by Maggie Anderson. To get more great advice from Diva Toolbox Media Diva Maggie Anderson, visit her website at: maggieanderson.com