How to Sell to That Large Account
Big fish. They are the difference between the middle of the office sales chart and the top. They are the anchor store at the mall. They are a game changer for your annual income.
They are a ^%$# to land.
Whenever someone calls to tell me they’ve landed a big account I ask two questions:
- How long did it take them, and
- How did they first get in the door?
The answer to the first question is always, always, always 18 months or longer. The answer to the second question is almost always, always, always a story of some kind. Rarely do I hear someone talk about winning an RFQ and bagging the elephant as a result. More likely it’s a chance meeting or an obscure network connection.
For those of us who don’t have an uncle’s, cousin’s, paperboy’s brother whose best friend’s sister works in the mailroom … and just happens to be the daughter of the CEO, here’s a quick tip for what to do while running alongside this moving train, trying to jump on board.
First, understand it’s going to take a while and a lot of effort in the form of sales activity. What you don’t want to do is play the, “Do you have anything I can quote on?” game. That’s the wrong conversation at the wrong level and can only end badly for you.
Instead, make it your business to get to know their business. Study their market. Understand their business needs and trends. Call up any trade association that represents that particular vertical and find out everything you can. Gather newspaper articles and links to online information. Then, share it at the highest possible level. Send an email to someone in upper management (read: decision-maker) regarding some issue you came across which is a common business challenge for someone in their field adding, “If you have this problem, we can help.”
Your goal is to be diligent and different. Take an earnest interest in their business in their business needs and build the brand of, “Problem solver.” This is the long-sales approach but as a much better chance of working than using the “Price” door.
It will take time. How long? Always 18 months or longer!