Friday, December 29, 2006

Success Books - Konrath: "Selling to Big Companies"

In a previous career my company was a minnow selling services to whales. It was an amazing experience. If you solved the right problems for your clients, it could lead to years of extremely profitable work. But often, it was literally impossible to get a “foot in the door”. For years at a time you might not get past voicemail. But if you did…you might “break the bank”.

Jill Konrath has clearly “been there/done that”, and she is offering two free chapters of her recent book Selling to Big Companies on her website. It is obvious from these chapters that she has intimate knowledge of the delicious rewards and frustrating roadblocks involved with selling to corporate behemoths.

A few points in these tantalizing chapters remind me of some of the tricks I shared in my post " "When Do Clients Change Suppliers?". As she puts it:

Your best opportunity may come when the client has an urgent and pressing need. It may be a “loss leader” project for you; it may seem “beneath you” or even be a huge drain on your time and resources. But it is “a way in” and could lead to huge profits in the future.

Take the crumbs. No job is too small or unimportant fot that first entrée.

Make it easy to buy. Don’t try to sign them up for a lifetime of work. One segment of one project may be all you need.

I have not read Ms Konrath’s entire book, but it is clear she has created a masterful guidebook for entering, and profiting from the corporate labyrinth.


Matthew Cornell said...

Have you read "Value-based fees" by Alan Weiss. He argues against taking crumbs, I believe... Any thoughts on this would be welcome!

Manny said...

Hi Mathew

Great to hear from you. As you know, I am a big fan of your blog, Matt's Idea.
Regarding “taking crumbs”, I can only speak from my own experience. In my previous career I have seen both sides of the coin. Some of our competitors were able to charge fees well above ours, a feat which I admired greatly. On the other hand, I was able to stay busy year after year by charging reasonable fees and concentrating on service factors: underpromise/overdeliver, rapid response to client requests, willingness to revise and adjust without giving the client headaches, and, of course, attempting to maintain a high level of expertise.

Common “street” sales wisdom does indeed state, paradoxically, that you gain more clients after you raise your prices, so I am the last person to take sides on this issue. If there is any more information you’d like to share on “value-based fees” I would love to learn more. Thanks so much for commenting!