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How do you win big contracts from corporate clients?

When you’re trying to deal with big businesses, you’ll have to take a different approach from what you do with individuals or small-time organizations. Connecting with the bigwigs will require more than regular emails, cold calls, and targeted ads.

Here’s why: decision-makers at the large firms have habits that mass-marketing strategies aren’t cut out for.

Often, their contact information isn’t readily available, so you’ll have to dig deep and scour widely for those details. And if you do find their email or phone numbers, there’s a slim chance that you’ll get through to them—those lines and emails are sifted by assistants, who will screen out anything that’s deemed non-essential.

But there’s still a way—in fact, several ways –around these barriers.

If you would like to gain corporate clients for your business, here are six things you can do to make it happen.

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Do Exceptional Work

Before you find your way to pitching significant prospects, be sure that you’re doing your job at the home front. When you’re doing a better job than most (or any) of your competitors, a word about you will likely reach the right ears at an organization you’re targeting.

Let’s say you land a meeting with your dream corporate client. If yours is a brilliant brand, you’re not going to be felled by critical questions about your business. Simply referring to the quality of your products and services will do. It could convince your prospect that you’re the right vendor for them.

Use Referrals

Referrals are the best bet for reaching C-level executives at the company you’re targeting. Perhaps you know someone who has a connection to the decision-makers that you want to get to. If the link is a satisfied customer, they’ll probably be eager to introduce you to your big targets.

LinkedIn could work as a brilliant tool for this. Using it, you may find out whether there’s a connection between your previous or present clients and a top figure at the organization you want to get in touch with. However, it’s best to avoid using it to pitch them, as they’re unlikely to respond to your messages there.

Zero In On Things They Want To Outsource

Corporates will typically outsource for things they don’t want to do in-house.

If they’re a manufacturing company that wants to upgrade their website, they’ll want a web design and development company to get it done for them.  If they are a large financial consultancy firm with systems to upgrade, they’ll hire an IT company to help them with that.

The key to landing a contract with these big corporates is learning what they will want others to do for them. They don’t have to announce it. If you have the expertise to serve them in a specific problem area, make it the central point of your pitch to them.    

Refer To Your Company With Plural Pronouns

In your communication with big corporates, it’s advisable to refer to your business with first-person plural pronouns, such as “we” and “us”. For example, when introducing your IT infrastructure maintenance practice, you can say:

We are an IT infrastructure maintenance company that servers companies across Abuja…”

“For us, strengthening our client’s IT capacity is key… “

The idea behind this is that large companies prefer to work with other large companies. By speaking of your business in the plural, you give them the impression that you match their expectations concerning the size of a vendor or partner. This in turn improves your chances of getting hired.

Request Testimonials From Other Corporates

Big businesses are more likely to work with you if they see evidence that you have done work for other big businesses. So you can attract them if you have testimonials from other corporates saying how good your products or services are.

This means at least one thing: the more corporate clients you work for, the more you’ll be able to get. Ask previous corporate clients to express their satisfaction, and share those testimonials in an orderly email to the new targets you intend to reach. This sort of email has a higher chance of getting a positive response than a regular pitch.

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Go Where The Executives Are

This approach involves either engaging executives at tradeshows and conferences or getting on a publication that they read.

If you can get a speaker slot at a conference that’s frequented by the sort of business leaders you’re looking for, you’ll have an opportunity to stand out to them by presenting yourself as a thought leader in your niche.

A slightly easier route may be to feature in a publication that they read (whether it’s electronic or print). Again, this gives you a chance to demonstrate your thought leadership to your targets. You can do this with content that shows you have a unique insight into problems at the intersection of your service and the needs of the corporates you want to reach.   

Final Words

Your business could get a big push forward if you’re able to convert companies into clients. Landing them can be tough, but it can be done. Try out the six ideas we’ve shared here, and you could have a foot in the door with corporates. 


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This article was first published on 11th August 2021


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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