Our little consultancy in Cambridge is working on email marketing projects with small companies all over the world, including local venture-backed startups. How can I find a way to close a project for the Microsofts / Wallmarts of the world? I imagine networking and meeting the "closable" personnel is important, as might be cold calling. I'm interested in any success stories or case studies on how us little guys might land a big co. Thanks!
I've been working in one of the biggest agencies in the world before and now I own a small digital agency.
I've found a way to close big clients really easily by doing the following:
Connecting with them directly and identifying their biggest pain points.
Then you need to showcase that you understand them (mainly with content marketing and talking with them) and you know how to deal with that and making an offer.
The first thing I do is I find my niche, the people I want to work with. I connect with them and I ask them for an interview.
During that interview I don't sell them anything, I just want to learn more about their business, what are their current issues, challanges, etc. I'm looking for the biggest pain that I know how to solve.
If I identify one, I ask them if they want to receive free content on that topic. When they say yes, I put it in my database.
Then I start releasing some great content for them on the topic. Then at some point a make a sale by telling them we're growing and we have a few spots open for new clients. I make them fight to become one.
I used this system to talk to and close Fortune 500 and Inc 5000 companies so if you're interested to learn more, feel free to schedule a call. I'd love to share my ideals & methodology with you.
Well, the advantage that you have over your grown up competitors is that you do not have 1. a bureaucracy to support and 2. a minimum profit margin to report to investors.
Thus, you can more mobily snatch up the jobs that your competitors will be debating about for weeks or months while you can offer to start in days or weeks. Secondly, if this looks like a possible long term or long series of jobs, offer to do the first one for just cost to prove yourself.
Additionally, if you have a niche that you're specialized in, that should give you an advantage that the big boys who are more general may not have.
Now if you are looking how to get in and have that first meeting, you're going to face the same tricks as the big competitors. Use what ever method you have to get your foot in the door, there is no silver bullet.
One of the most effective ways I was able to close business with large clients is by first selling to services firms and consulting firms that already have them as a client. The process is:
1. Find out which firms they are working with already.
2. Find out what work those vendors are good at and what they have trouble delivering.
3. Offer to subcontract with those vendors to fill those gaps.
4. Develop a reputation for execution and a direct channel with the main client.
5. Eventually the main client will want to deal with you directly if what you deliver is of value.
Each state, and sometimes city or county has an office like an Economic Development, or Rural Development. One of the things these organizations have are members from large companies.
Another thing they have is a list of the largest companies in the area.
I would start there by attending a event or two from the EDC and then see if it would benefit you to become a member. Then get involved in the board or on some projects.
Ask for the sale. You will not get them all, but take action. Start trying to get meetings, presentations, demos out to these companies.
Don't stop taking massive action.
Best of Luck,
Michael T. Irvin
My books are available exclusively through Amazon Books. Check out my book "Copywriting Blackbook of Secrets"
Copywriting, Startups, Internet Entrepreneur, Online Marketing, Making Money
All major business decisions are made on the basis of either trust or desperation. Both can be useful for the small consultancy. Trust can be surprisingly easy to build. For example, if you become a speaker at the local luncheons held by the various professional associations in your town, such as accountants, HR, lawyers, and so on, you will establish a reputation for yourself. Assuming you come across as competent, business will begin to find you, since your name will stick in people's minds as someone competent and trustworthy.
As for desperation, this happens to all companies at some point. You just need to be a known quantity that the company can reach out to when that sense of desperation ("we are not going to meet our deadline without bringing someone new on board") happens.
Based on my experience, sometimes dealing with big companies are easier than smaller ones.
Business is about creating customers. We would need to pay close attention on what they need.. and offer them a BIG reason; why they should hire you.
For me, it's about the value that we could bring to the table. Small or Big companies it doesn't really matter.
Start small and build up. Big companies don't make all their decisions as a collective. There are lots of individual managers who have the budget and the power to hire you. Once you connect and sell one of them, then ask them if they can introduce you to other people at the company. Build their career by making them the one who made the wise decision to hire you, and then impress more people at the company.
Find a niche. If you are highly specialized in one area, then even a large company may not have a choice in who they are hiring. My company has a high specialization in software for testing hearing on mobile devices. It's not a capability that is needed on a day-to-day basis, but it's also an area where we have little competition.