You just pitched a large account, are you just going to sit there and wait for an answer?
Don’t wait, pro-wait! (And yes, we just made up that word. Why? Because we can!)
A dealer once told us after having dinner, “You know, I really like you guys, and I like doing business with friends, send me a proposal.” From that moment on, breaking bread with our potential customers was a must! Breaking bread to us means getting to know our potential customers over dinner, but in most cases it seems like because we’re in “marketing” everyone wants to buy us a few (or many) beers, and it being 2 a.m., chances are we’re going to be best buds after that.
Point being, the statement above about people wanting to do business with friends is so true. About three months ago, a commercial security dealer approached us and wanted some out-of-the-octagon ideas on how he could separate himself from his competitors on a large size account in Los Angeles, Calif. The account was a larger mixed-use development plan for an entire street where the project would take place. It included an entire block of three-story buildings where the top two stories had high-end lofts with businesses on the first floor, all to be prewired with security and surveillance throughout the entire community. Needless to say it was a sizable project! Our client expressed that he’d spent countless hours on his presentation and that wasn’t the problem. The challenge for the client was to separate himself from the other security companies; the client wanted to create the opportunity somehow to have another informal meeting with the decision maker and possibly get to know the potential client on a personal level. That’s where breaking bread came to mind!
Being purple cow theorists, we didn’t just want to send some cupcakes with a nice message or some nice cigars, but rather we wanted to do something extraordinary, something more with a "wow" factor. What we decided to do was to FedEx a box with two tickets to a L.A. Dodgers game with a simple message, “On a large-sized project countless hours have been spent planning, implementing, and finding the right team to make it a reality? Are you going to decide your security company over a 30 minute meeting and number from a proposal? The next few hours can help turn that perfect dream a reality. At 5 p.m., a limo will be in front of your door ready to take you to a restaurant where we’ll sit down, enjoy some dinner, then to a baseball game. Three hours is all I ask of your time.”
Believe it or not, that key-decision maker got in the limo and went. It was truly a Hail Mary for us, but guess what? He came, and it worked! In the end our client did not get the account, but at least he had a second opportunity to “break bread” with an account that would have taken his business to the next level. He also knew exactly why he didn’t get the account opposed to playing the waiting game.
For us, we learned a valuable lesson, which is to provide our clients with a complete follow-through system when it comes to going after an request for proposal (RFP), pitching a large account or just helping them stand out from the competition by having the guts to be unique and stand out. The next time you have an opportunity to go after a large sized account, think about what your post-sales marketing strategy is. You did your very best to get to the pitching phase; are you just going to sit there and wait for an answer? We hope not. Send a telegram with a date and time you’ll be across the street having lunch/dinner to meet. Have a delivery service send over some lunch and a message that says “Now that lunch is one less item on your to-do list, take a look at why our company is the best choice for your project,” or send an envelope with a tee in it inviting them to some golf outing with a tee time.
If this article did nothing for you, no worries. Enjoy sitting there and waiting, just like your competitors.
Believe in being different, believe in the purple cow! And visit our new blog where we share ideas and talk about more out-of-the-octagon ideas at www.MoreOnMoo.com.