There are several ways that small businesses can increase their chances of winning large customers. Follow these tips for a well-planned and professional approach to help you convince big clients that you are the right choice for them.
- Spend time on research: Familiarise yourself with the business you are pitching to, and know your industry and market well. See market research and market reports.
- Be professional: Make sure your image is professional, that you are well-presented and punctual. Build your business profile with testimonials and endorsements. Ensure your premises, printed materials and website create a professional image. See branding: the basics.
- Identify the right person: Find out who the decision maker is and persevere to speak with them and communicate your message. Make sure that you fully understand the sales process.
- Pitch smarter: Tell the company how you can improve their business. Be specific - have figures, outcomes and scenarios prepared and ready. Listen to what is asked, take notes, be open and flexible, and prepared to come back with revisions and further ideas.
- Be confident: You have faith in your business, so there is no need to be overwhelmed. Be aware of your own needs, eg your payment terms, and don't sell your business short.
- Highlight what your business does best: Identify your business’s strengths and unique selling points and communicate what they are. Follow best practices when marketing your USP.
- Find your niche: Find something that no one else is offering or a gap in the market - and make it your own. Small businesses are uniquely placed to maximise a specialised market because they can be flexible and adaptable, and react quickly when they identify new business opportunities.
- Offer social and ethical incentives: By offering social or ethical incentives that are either not available to the big players, or that may be difficult for them to sustain, smaller businesses can stand out over larger companies. See ethical trading and corporate social responsibility.
For more tips and practical advice, see how to compete to win business.