A prime prospect calls to say he's interested in doing business and wants to meet ASAP.
What do you do? Most people would offer this prospect anything and everything to land the deal.
That's a mistake. When a marquee prospect calls, it's likely because of your growing reputation for quality work. It's imperative to sell your services and products just as you would to any other client. Consider these steps:
* Never arbitrarily compromise your price to close a deal. If anybody can pay full fare, it's a large client. Besides, large clients often require extra service and more support after the sale. Price your offer to cover costs and provide a profit.
* Define the account's value in terms of free publicity. If you do cut your price in return for the buzz of landing this client, ensure you receive what you expect. Marquee clients are invaluable if they agree to be a reference, but do not assume they can or will be. Build into your agreement their commitment to endorse your service and recommend your company.
* Understand your clients' corporate culture and how they manage their corporate image and protect their brand. Large companies with famous brands are risk-averse when purchasing anything that could affect their reputation. Should they have a problem with your performance, chances are they'll cut your deal rather than jeopardize their image.
* Recognize when the client is buying from you to learn how you do it. Large companies often pay smaller ones to show them the ropes. If you agree to be a test kitchen, price your product to make a profit on your first order or decline the business if you'd be giving away secrets.
As you conduct business with a marquee client, don't get caught with your pants down. If you pay attention, not only will your sales grow, but they'll do so in a profitable and respectable manner.Famous clients are just like anyone else -- they've achieved success by doing the right things for the right people. And they were paid properly for doing them. Andrew Birol (email@example.com) is president of Birol Growth Consulting, a Solon-based firm that helps grow businesses by growing their best and highest uses. He can be reached at (440) 349-1970