Our last post detailed how to learn about your “big fish” and prepare for the first contact you’ll make with them. This first contact is essential to your success. You need to instill confidence in them. They need to know you can fulfill exactly what you are offering on time, at a good price, and at the high-quality level you promise.
Today, we’ll dive into the big approach and how to make that perfect first impression. Before you put together your approach plan, you need to choose which big fish you’re going after. Take a look at your notes and the research you’ve done about prospective fish. Then decide which one will be the easiest approach to start out with.
There are a series of things to go through in choosing which fish to start with. They are:
- Compile Your Hit List
- Select the Best Target
- Position Your Business
Compile Your Hit List
Start with a list of all the companies you’ve been considering. Then, narrow it down to the ones you know could use your products or services. Don’t overlook obvious choices, whether they are big or small. Remember, even small companies could be big fish in the future.
Select the Best Target
Once you’ve got your list narrowed down, you need to decide which one is the best fish to start with. You need to consider a couple of things:
- Which have the most purchasing resources to spend?
- Does their company vision complement yours?
- What are their employee incentive programs as they relate to your products/services?
- What’s the company’s real need for you?
- Will the partnership lead you off-course?
Position Your Business
You need to be crystal clear on your market-dominating position, your USP, how you intend to prioritize and serve the larger client(s), and what everyone’s role is on the deal pursuit team.
The more prepared you are for the upcoming calls and meetings with the big fish the better. Lack of preparation at any stage of the pre-sales or sales cycle will immediately cause the larger prospect to think, “That don’t impress me much!” a la Shania Twain in the late 90s and eliminate you from contention. It is 2020 after all, so get in the game and get after it…
Assuming you now have a target prospect in mind to pursue and you’re approach is locked in, it’s time to execute your plan.
Here’s the step-by-step plan to help you make a good first impression:
- Build and analyze your database. Divide your leads into three different categories: hot leads, great fits, and secondary leads.
- Send out introductory mailings to your target to introduce yourself and your company’s services, products, and vision. They need to be short, clean, and concise.
- Follow up with your first phone call 2-3 days after they would have received the mailings. During the phone call, find out whom you need to be speaking with in the future and try to set up a meeting with the right person.
- Follow up your phone call with another mailing that thanks them for taking the time to speak with you and offer more details about your products/services. Use this letter as an opportunity to set up a meeting to do a presentation.
- Follow up the letter with another phone call a couple of days after they would have received the letter. This phone call is to help you further develop your relationship with the prospective client. You should also be able to set up a
presentation meeting with them.
- Call again a week later if they haven’t agreed to a meeting or presentation. Ask if they received your creative letter (the second one) and if they have a minute when you can stop by and introduce yourself in person.
Now, don’t be upset if you don’t seal the deal right away. Some people simply take a little longer to woo. This can all be a little intimidating at first, but when you know you are offering a quality product/service, you can’t go wrong. Once you’ve gone through this process and make the first contact (and hopefully a good first impression) it’s time to put your best salesperson or team forward to seal the deal.
If you need help putting together your approach to make a good first impression, our customer experience strategists and revenue growth acceleration coaches can help you formulate your initial prospecting and ongoing follow-up campaigns. Additionally, the RevSherpas Growth Academy gives you and your team access to a wealth of innovative business growth strategies and industry-tailored advertising tools and templates to streamline your sales processes, shorten sales cycles, and boost revenues.
What are you waiting for? Land the big fish TODAY and elevate your business or practice to the top with RevSherpas!
In our previous blog entry, we touched on how to bring the big-company mindset to your small business and your team. This will help you overcome the mental obstacles that will impede you from being successful.
Now, that you’ve learned how to overcome that, we’re going to talk about who your ideal “big fish” or client is. It’s important to know about the fish you are pursuing before you put a target acquisition plan together.
We’re also going to take a moment to discuss the potential “red tape” you may encounter along the way.
The most important thing to know about your fish is their purchasing habits, preferences, timelines, and procedures. On that note, there are four main areas of their procurement cycle you need to focus on in order to be successful:
- Responsibilities: You need to know who has influence over purchasing, who does the actual buying, and who can destroy a deal if they want.
- Get on Their List: You need to know how to get on their preferred vendor list. Your name needs to not only be on this list, but also at the top of it and in as many categories as possible to increase the odds of more sales opportunities and conversions. Be sure to ask about a procurement program and what you need to do to go through the preferred vendor application process.
- Lingo: You need to learn the company’s unique language and communications methods. These could include report names, buzzwords, and even the nicknames they have for their employees.
- Fiscal Budgets: It’s essential that you know the fish’s fiscal year-end and allotted budget, so you know exactly when they are planning their expenses for the year.
Now that we’ve talked a little about what you need to know about your fish, let’s a quick look at the “red tape”. Bureaucracy might as well be a four-letter word with the negative emotions it stirs in all of us. Red tape is a necessary evil, but one you can use to learn from. There are two ways to learn from their system:
- Analyze their activity.
- Review their correspondence.
Being an outsider looking in can have its advantages too. If you hate dealing with the “red tape”, imagine how their employees feel dealing with it. If they need to crunch some numbers, offer to do it. If they need more info to build their business case or secure executive buy-in or investment committee approval, make sure you are giving it to them in a user-friendly way.
Lastly, don’t underestimate how time-intensive and detailed the final leg of the procurement cycle for a big fish can be. It’s critical that you prepare in advance and respond as quickly as possible to any last-minute due diligence requests. If you need help with improving your negotiation skills or crafting a more unique market-dominating position and more compelling sales strategy to close more deals with larger clients, enroll today in our RevSherpas Growth Academy or contact us to schedule a free business development strategic consultation.
In the last blog post, we started our series on landing larger clients, or “big fish”, that will sustain your business over the long haul. Today, we’re going to take that a step further by talking about how to understand and think like a big fish company and how that can help you plan your approach and find success.
Before you can start the process of catching big clients, you have to make sure your entire team is onboard with your approach and vision. There are six keys to achieving big client wins and success:
- First Impression: You must remember you have one shot to land a big client. If you make a mistake, they aren’t going to consider you again. Never give them a reason to doubt your abilities.
- First Priority: Your fish must always feel like they are your first priority. Return calls and emails immediately and find solutions to their problems or questions as quickly as possible.
- Flexible: You need to be flexible in your negotiations. If they need a special service or for you to customize a product, say yes for the benefit of long-term gains. A little hassle now will be a big pay off later.
- Long-term: This goes along with the last one a bit. As you are approaching and negotiating with big fish, you need to think about the long-term benefits for your business. If you go for a one-time big score, you will lose their interest.
- Have Fun: Work should be fun, even when trying to land big clients. In fact, this should be the most fun. You are sharing your vision with new people and including them in your future success, as are they. People simply work better in a fun, happy environment. Your passion will also be contagious and pull the fish into your vision even more.
- Help Them: If you take just a little bit of time and offer your clients ways to save money or time by introducing them to potential business partners, this will show you really are invested and interested in their business. Strive to find balance between your business needs and your client’s needs.
There are also a few tactics you can use to bring in a big-company vision to the people on your team. You can:
- Post these six keys for all employees to see.
- Put together a performance-based incentive program.
- Conduct frequent team meetings.
- Use a “right now” policy that dictates all “big fish” or tier 1 client calls be answered immediately.
- Offer awards/recognition for big-company ideas and executions.
- Put together a training and certification program based on the six keys above.
These six keys and tips will help you instill a big-company mindset throughout your company which will help you be more prepared and more likely to land your big fish. Once your team is thinking this way, you’ll be unstoppable.
If you need help devising an incentive program or other tactics to push your team toward the big-company mindset, take a look at the client attraction, lead generation, marketing outreach, sales enablement, and customer care strategies available at the RevSherpas Growth Academy for small business owners.
There are a number of factors to account for when preparing yourself and your company to pursue the largest clients you’ll ever work with. Today, we’re going to begin with a brief look at the three paths every business faces and identify which one is the path to your long-term success. Then, we’ll explore the mindset it takes to attract the larger VIP clients.
There are three major paths a business can take:
- Snail Speed
- Shooting Star
- Catch the Big Fish
Most business owners ended up working themselves into the ground without much reward or success. This is what happens when you fool yourself into thinking you will find quick success. You may also find yourself along this path when you are afraid of change.
This describes a business that shoots to the top so fast you are overwhelmed and don’t have the right resources in place to adapt. This can also happen from being overloaded by small clients and not taking the time to find large clients, which will sustain your business after the small client sales slow.
Catch the Big Fish
This is the path that allows you to build at a steady pace that you can manage by not allowing your customers to outpace you. You can do this by putting these tips to work:
- Attract, keep, and lock in big clients.
- Integrate “big business” culture into your company and employees.
- Acquire the expertise you need to grow.
- Have the courage to make changes as you grow.
Next, we are going to transition a bit and talk about the “big fish” mindset. It may sound easy to just find and catch that big fish, but if you are stuck in the small business mindset, you may find it harder than you think.
Think of all the benefits of aiming at bigger clients:
- Highly Profitable
In order to catch the big fish, you need to believe your company can make a difference with theirs.
It’s easy to get into the thought that a large company doesn’t need anything from a small business like yours, but this is entirely wrong!
Once you take a look at how big companies operate, it’s important to know which ones are the best fit with your company. One of the best ways to get in the door is by knowing someone on the inside who can put in a good word for you.
If you’re not sure where to start and feel a little intimidated about catching big fish, try out our e-Learning Marketing System for amazing advice on lead generation, marketing outreach, sales enablement, and customer care. We can help you land legit larger clients before you know it.
In our last post, we talked about the first secret to building a solid customer service plan and how to decide what your vision is.
Today, we’ll talk about the second secret in transforming your satisfied customers to raving fans. To do so, you must know what your customers want. If you know who your customers are, you will know better how to serve them. Demographics are really important here. For instance, an upper-class woman in her 30’s is going to have completely different expectations than a working class man in his 50’s.
There are four main areas you need to consider and plan when determining what your customers want:
- Listen to Your Customers
- Ask Your Customers Sincerely
- Offer More than Just a Product/Service
- Know When to Ignore Them
These are all important when deciding what your customers want out of their evaluation, shopping, customer onboarding, ongoing marketing outreach, and service experience with your company.
Listen to Your Customers
You need to listen to both what they say and what they don’t say. Customers may say they want one thing and really mean something else. For example, if you customers are begging for lower prices, you may find out their real priority is quick delivery.
Also, listen to your “silent” customers. These are the customers that don’t bother to complain because the service is so awful they’ve just given up and don’t even feel like their voice matters. They feel unwanted and when a competitor shows up, they’ll be gone before you know it.
Lastly, you need to listen to customers who only reply with “fine”. These customers are similar to the “silent” customers in that they are so used to poor customer service they only give a monotone response.
Ask Your Customers Sincerely
If you aren’t sincere when you ask their opinion, they are going to see right through you. You may be thinking, “What about the customers who aren’t saying anything?” You need to ask them sincere questions that get them thinking about their experiences. Make them feel like you really care, and you should!
Offer More than Just a Product/Service
Your customers are looking for much more than a simple product or service. Rather, they are looking for an end-to-end customer experience that makes them feel good. They gauge every step of the marketing, sales, and service process with a value. When you take this into consideration and treat them like people, they will feel like they belong.
Know When to Ignore Them
You may think this goes beyond providing good customer service, but in reality you can’t give them everything and there are some prospects and customers that you will never make happy. You have to set limits and stick to them.
If your vision and company don’t meet the needs of the customer, they really are best suited somewhere else. This may be tough for you to accept when you are in start-up mode and aggressively trying to grow your business, but the more mature organizations successfully scale by only working with their ideal customer profile. They don’t waste time trying to please everyone. Though your intentions may be good, it’s just not possible and practical. Instead, go all out and consistently over-deliver to your current customer base and distinct target market. That’s much more sustainable and will give you far more peace of mind and much less headaches along your growth trajectory and customer journey.
These are the steps and tricks to figuring out what your customers want and how you can use them to formulate, refine, and solidify your customer service vision and plan.
If you get stuck, be sure to leverage our business breakthrough expertise and business elevation coaching services. Let us help you through the process to improve not just your client service, but also your entire customer experience.