A Good Sale Is Like A Good Wine
Both are the results of research, planting seeds, nurturing, waiting, and eventually, harvesting. Even if your sales cycle is short, landing a big client is still the result of a lot of seed planting and tending to the fertile ground.
The end result of each - a signature on the dotted line, or a glass of wine in your hand - either way, congratulations!
But not so fast... things can quickly go downhill from there.
- Obviously, too much wine will leave your head ringing the next morning. (that;s another story all together)
- And that big client you worked so hard to land can soon become a giant albatross around your organization that hampers further growth and success.
Companies that are at the mercy of a small number of "big" clients are at risk for a number of potentially fatal flaws. If a big client suddenly drops or decides not to pay, you’re faced with not being able to cover your own overhead.
Just as bad is the big client who knows they’re your “big client,” and expects you to constantly jump through hoops and alter your very existence to meet their needs (to the detriment of your smaller, but just as important clients). They may try to be jerks because they know you have no other choice. No one wants that.
The answer to this problem isn’t to not go after big deals. Of course, you want to land the big deal, and nothing should stop you from going after it.
There Is A Better Process
The first part of the answer is setting expectations ahead of time.
Create a clear service level agreement (SLA) with the client that outlines what the expectations and measures of success are, along with an agreement on what services may cost extra. This can be tough because you really want to go above and beyond to keep that big client in your corner, but doing this is a very important step and should not be skipped.
The second part of the answer, of course, is to scale.
Scaling requires a replicable sales enablement process, beginning with your ideal prospects (your buyer personas) who can then follow a funnel (buyers journey) that both educates them of the problem you solve as well as why your solution is the best choice for their business.
Eventually, you will get more big clients, which allows you more safety to scale up your operation to meet future demands.
Scaling your sales effort is one of the most important things a business can do. Then one day, you get to be someone’s big sale - and you’ll know how to make the relationship work well for both of you.
Until next time...