Book Summary: Selling To Big Companies

First, do you really want to sell to big companies?

Everyone fantasizes about landing that colossal whale of a customer at some time. The one that brings in millions of dollars for your firm every year. The one who has the potential to transform your life forever.

It's easy to become enamored with the prospect of doing business with a massive multinational organization. Still, the first question you should ask yourself is if you truly want to.

On the one hand, it's everything you've always wished for. There are so many different venues to market your goods or serviceS once you get in. It's usually simpler to get a new position at the same business with a new customer than getting one at a new company.

The second and third contracts are less difficult to complete than the first. Larger businesses are usually always less price-sensitive than smaller businesses. Nothing beats having a well-known customer that you can brag about on your website. In summary, huge corporations may assist your company's rapid and profitable growth.

Working with them, on the other hand, has certain disadvantages.

When Wall Street analysts put financial pressure on a company, everything may grind to a standstill. Budgets are frozen, and cuts are made everywhere. If there is a team leader, the same thing might happen. They might be slow to pay at times, which can put a significant damper on any expansion ambitions you have.

Finally, attempting to keep these clients satisfied will be a continual source of stress since they will often account for a big amount of your revenue.

However, if you believe the benefits exceed the drawbacks (and they nearly always do), it's time to start planning how to make your first sale.

Step #1: Break large companies into bite-sized chunks

3 workers is working at company.

Almost every major corporation is divided into smaller, self-contained business divisions. Unless you own a really large firm, there's no chance you'll be able to perform work for the entire organization - at least not soon.

Take, for example, GE. It generates more than $150 billion in yearly sales and employs more than 300,000 people globally.

If you take it one step further, you'll discover that they're actually six businesses, each of which has numerous divisions and functions as a separate entity with its own marketing, IT, and HR departments.

Trying to get into the marketing department of GE Healthcare's Biosciences business appears to be a lot less intimidating than trying to get into the whole of GE.

For various reasons, the quickest path into a large corporation is through one of its functional areas. You can do the following:

  • discover the name of the decision-maker;
  • do your homework without being overwhelmed;
  • determine where the issues and holes in their functioning may exist;
  • create a personalized "getting in" plan.

Step #2: Employ the "land-and-expand" strategy

A woman is raising her hand in front of the door.

Doing a small amount of business with a huge firm now is the greatest way to interact with them. This is known as the "foot-in-the-door" approach by Konrath and the "land-and-expand" method by others.

The temptation is to attempt to sell the firm a huge project because you know they can afford it, and you never know when you'll have another chance.

The greatest strategy, though, is to locate one tiny piece of business that you can turn into a long-term partnership. The best way to do this is to excel at your initial task and to continue looking for methods to assist your customer in improving their operations.

Step #3: Find your most effective focal point

A woman asking for a question.

Once you've decided on the land-and-expand plan, you'll need to figure out how to put it into action.

Instead of pitching a random solution, seek a very particular business problem that you know you can assist them with. Konrath cited an instance when she assisted sales leaders in better preparing their reps for new product launches.

She was well aware that most companies did a poor job of training their salespeople for these launches. By doing so, they were squandering a lot of money. So that's where she concentrated her efforts.

It's also crucial to remember what she didn't accomplish. She didn't strive to explain everything she could to her clients. She was their product launch guru for that time, and that was the end of it. She didn't start telling them about all the other things she could do with them until she'd completed a few successful projects.

Step #4: Ask for referrals

A business man is asking for referral.

Now that you've completed a few successful initiatives, it's time to move on to the "grow" phase of the plan.

Although Konrath does not mention it in the book, I know from personal experience that this is an effective technique.

It will resemble your initial account entry in terms of being detailed and targeted. Simply put, you identify the next business unit or individual you want to work with within the firm and request an introduction.

You don't say, "Now that we've worked together, do you believe there's anyone else at your organization who may benefit from our goods or services?"

"We would want an introduction to Jane Smith in your HR department; we believe we could really help here with (insert particular problem here)," you DO say.


Because, even though you have earned their confidence and they like doing business with you, they are still as busy as they were when you first met.

A particular request to which they may respond positively or negatively is always preferable to a general request that will be filed away on a to-do list and never seen again.

Rinse, Wash, Repeat

You'll be well on your way to establishing a list of massive customers for your company if you can keep repeating this procedure regularly. All you have left to do now is find out what to do with all that money.

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