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Shhhh! Can holding your tongue help you gain big-name clients?

By Chris Penttila

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Precise Strategies is a four-employee O'Fallon, Illinois,executive search firm that staffs positions for large financialcompanies. The firm is in a strange situation--a growing number ofits customers require secrecy. PreciseStrategies isn't allowed to mention these customers in itsmarketing materials, on its website or in the media. Founder GlennSmith, 37, estimates 5 percent of the company's customers nowrequire hush-hush around deals.

The trend toward silence clauses in vendor contracts is drivenby competitive threats and a desire to protect intellectualproperty. Big companies are also clamping down on vendors whoexaggerate. "The big company doesn't want the appearanceof giving the seal of approval to a vendor," says Trey Cox, apartner at Lynn Tillotson & Pinker LLP in Dallas.

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