Chasing Down Large Accounts
Ready to go after bigger business? Here are six ways to get you started and keep you going:
- Make sure you're still focusing on the small and midsize accounts as a base. This will give you a safety net in the event that you lose a large account. Having solid small and midsize accounts will also give you the confidence to go big.
- Once you have a large account in your sights, figure out who's at the top. Learn as much as you can about his or her company and its goals. How can you help them sell what they sell? Next, go directly to the top--to the CEO or the president. This will give you a clear picture of the organization, its decision makers and its hierarchy. There is nothing more powerful than the CEO walking you into the vice president's office and saying, "Susan, please look into this idea with Barry. It can help us with the new line of children's products."
- Become the mayor of the account. I often travel in the field with a select group of top performers from certain companies. They typically have relationships with everyone in the account, from the receptionist to the office manager to the president. Many times, those contacts get promoted or assigned to other locations where they can use your services or recommend you to other individuals inside the company. Never underestimate the power of networking.
- Look for problems, challenges and solutions. As I've always said, problems are opportunities. They allow you to focus on providing valuable ideas and solutions and help you stand out from competition that might only be interested in pushing their own product. Look at the company's website, talk to its sales force and take the time to understand why its customers buy. If you can identify a problem, you can provide real-world solutions and new ideas.
- Forget about what you sell. Sell what the account sells and learn how they run their business. Who do they sell to? Who's the competition? What's stopping them from growing and succeeding? This kind of sales focus turns you into an asset.
- Most important: If it's right, don't stop the fight. Most people give up when they're on the 1-yard line, not realizing how close they are to closing that large account. If you're certain you can add value to the account, then be persistent. If the value isn't there, then it's time to move on.