Corporate Sales – Should be easy once they see my amazing product…
Corporate Sales – Should be easy once they see my amazing product…

When asked, many start-up owners shudder at the very thought of trying to sell their precious product to corporate clients. Comments such as “they are ruthless”, “they negotiate very hard on price” and “just trying to find the right person is impossible” are common refrains.

However, when the follow-up question is posed, “what impact will a corporate client have on your sales or your business” the response is most often that the fortunes of the business will be immeasurably better off with just one more corporate client. So, the reward is definitely worth the effort but how does one go about signing a corporate client.

The first concept to grasp with corporates is that it will take time. A lot of time. Corporate employees are just that, employees. While you as a business owner must take care of the entire value chain in your business, the corporate employee only has to worry about his or her very small part of the value chain. And if you get appointed as a new vendor today or in six months will make no difference to the employee’s month end pay packet. Whereas you, of course, must worry about paying staff salaries at the end of every. single. month.

The next concept that you need to grasp is that you are dealing with a human being on the other side of the table. A human with two basic emotions driving their behaviour, namely fear and greed. These are the two emotions that drives the capitalist system in most countries in the world.

Fear of taking too much risk that may result in me being demoted, or even worse, getting dismissed. What about my children’s education, my home loan, and my car? Corporate employees are therefore mostly risk-averse, whereas most entrepreneurs, by their very nature, are the exact opposite risk-takers.

Greed manifests when the corporate employee spots the potential of bringing your product or service into the business and thereby helping him or her to achieve their performance goals for the year. The prospect of a fat incentive bonus awaits.

You as the potential vendor have to thus alleviate the fear by reducing the risk to the corporate. This could be in the form of product guarantees or independent quality assurance audits, anything that will reduce the risk to the corporate employee being demoted or fired.

Greed can be satisfied by selling the upside potential of your product or service which should result in them improving their sales or services to their clients in turn.

Be patient and be determined and be dogged in your efforts to sign a potential corporate client.

Always remember, that the reward is definitely worth the effort. Just think of the impact of one large corporate client to your sales line and go out there and tackle that beast.