Ideally, you want to target the clients that will bring you the most income. There is a common theme that you don’t want more than 25% of your income to come from one client, and that ensures that if anything happens to one of your clients, your whole company does not falter or fail. However, lining up clients that represent a large chunk of your overall income is beneficial in that the more upper echelon – income wise – clients you line up, the smaller percent of your income they represent.
Most of the time, you aren’t going to have top level, high end, big money clients knocking on your door asking for your business. Because they represent more money, they are used to waiting for businesses to come to them, to pitch to them, and to vie with other companies for their money. Not only does landing a big name client help you in the short term financially, but in the long term, a big name in your stable of clients can be a great way to bring in more big name clients. It shows that you have the tools to meet the needs of a bigger company. But how do you get that first big client?
We’ve mentioned it before, when you start out in business, you typically start out scrappy, taking on anyone you can as a client in order to make ends meet. That scrappy mindset can be a huge advantage when you are looking for other, better, more stable work. However, when you are pitching to a big potential client, you can’t be of the desperate mindset. It takes patience and a bit of mental endurance to land a big company. Because the ball is mostly in their court, they can be patient, they can make you wait and sweat if they want to, they can do whatever they want to some extent.
Expect to spend a bit of money to land a bigger client. They want to be impressed and that can mean any number of things. You are going to have to put much more time and energy into this sale than you might normally. You’ll have to find out more about each member of the company that you will be pitching to, you might have to have several lunches that you pay for, maybe they would enjoy a round of golf? Do a little digging in order to figure out some of their hobbies or interests. A gift basket with a nice bottle of whiskey and golf balls might be perfect for one person, but it might turn another person’s stomach.
High touch and expertise are probably the most important things that you can utilize in this instance. A company isn’t going to want to do business with anyone whose skills they are not certain of. You might not have a big name client in your client’s list yet, but if you can display your skills and ability to be present when they need you, you can land your first big client.
The great thing about bigger clients is that they are rarely spending their own money. With small to medium sized businesses, you can almost guarantee that you are meeting with the decision maker and they also own the company and their money is at stake. Trying to convince someone that your services are worth their money can be tricky, but trying to convince someone that your services are worth money that does not directly impact them is much, much easier. And that is a huge bonus with larger clients: because they are not worried about losing their own money (and hat and clothes off their back) they are much easier and more willing to spend their money on something that nets them a smaller return.
So practice your pitch on smaller clients, make them feel like they are bigger, ensure that your services are worth the money you are asking for and then go out there and net yourself a big name client!