To increase your company’s chances of hooking a ‘whale’, follow these recommendations as we e’re creeping up on the end of the second quarter. So as you start making plans to grow your small business, it’s a great time to focus on what it takes to land a “whale,” or a big client. Hooking one can take time, but I have six ways that can increase your chances of success.
Be choosy about your prospects
Small businesses are often seduced by the glitz of big-name companies and pitch every giant they can think of. That approach is a mistake. Instead, target the big companies that you respect, the ones that reflect your business’ values and have a history of working with smaller suppliers. To weed out prospects, read each firm’s annual report and news releases. That’s where you’ll see whether its causes and commitment to giving are a good match for you.
Also, look at the supplier-diversity section of the company’s website. It will give you insights about opportunities and criteria for small businesses.
Make your introductory message sharp
Business coach Barry Moltz, the Chicago-based author of You Need to Be a Little Crazy: The Truth About Starting and Growing Your Own Business, says small business owners often try to cram too much information into their first email or call to a big prospect, hoping that something they say will resonate. Instead, hone in on what your company does best.
Perhaps your business has a knack for saving money on IT. Don’t muddy the waters by hawking your firm’s Web design or social media marketing services.
Focus on your solution to a whale’s problem
All companies have problems; you want to offer prospects sure-fire solutions. If you’re a whiz at search engine optimization, for instance, your business could be a godsend to a Fortune 500’s overworked marketing department.
When you make a sales pitch to a whale, don’t highlight the features of your product or service. Instead, describe how your firm can save the company time, money or energy; reach new markets; increase employee engagement or overcome a key obstacle. Help your prospect picture a world where a big problem doesn’t exist anymore.
Meet every stakeholder possible
Once you get beyond the introductory email or call and have a chance to make an in-person pitch, it’s imperative that you meet as many of the people involved with your potential order as you can.
At large companies, Searcy says, hiring a new firm to provide products or services affects a broader swath of people than at smaller businesses. So the more connections you can make, the less you’re likely to encounter objections due to change or fear of an unknown supplier. “Ask your corporate contact if you can meet other people who will be affected by the decision, so you can answer their questions,” Searcy says.