One of the things that directors and partners of small or micro businesses often say to me is that they would like more business with larger companies and organisations. At the NRG Lunch in London on Tuesday Bob Hayward gave a talk on how he as a one man business regularly wins contracts against competition from Accenture and the like through networking and collaboration. In this guest blog Bob shares the 7 principles he uses.
How To Punch Above Your Weight In Business by Bob Hayward
Big companies have a track record for clinching the big deals.
They have a strong selling proposition, they are seen as the safe bet and a huge network from which they can draw a team of people that can deliver real value.
But, what about the little guy?
What if it’s just you?
How can you win the big contracts?
Here are the seven principles that you need to follow.
1. You must offer unique value.
You must think like your prospect: If you have 10 proposals in front of you, how will you decide which one to choose?
One of the key factors will be how they differ.
If nine of them are the same, which one are you likely to spend the most time evaluating?
The tenth one.
And the same thing is true here.
You have to make sure that there is clear, blue water between your proposal and the ones your competitors submit.
2. Develop relationships with your connections.
Since the advent of social media, the be-all and end-all has been to build vast networks with thousands of connections.
Connecting is an essential first step because it establishes a mutually beneficial relationship with a number of people.
However, you have to put in the time and effort to develop those connections, and to do that, you have to add value to them first.
An easy way to give value to those in your network is to refer business to them. And that means you have to get to know them first.
3. Form a team from your network of those you can trust for advice and cooperation.
John Donne said that “No man (or woman) is an island.”
That is more true now than it was in his day.
No one, not even you, is indestructible; and none of us can know everything.
A team of people who will tell you what you need to hear and who will collaborate with you is an invaluable asset. The big boys do this particularly well. Often the people they put on a job are not employees; rather they are associates – self-employed one-man-bands.
That means that sole proprietors like you can beat them at their own game.
4. Make a persuasive presentation.
This may sound obvious. On the other hand, how often have you experienced “death by PowerPoint”? And how often have you come across bland proposal documents?
It still happens, and all too often.
Ensure that you’re well-prepared.
You’ll only get one chance.
Invest in yourself. Enroll in the best persuasion and presentation training you can find. You will be rewarded many times over.
5. Connect with the decision-maker on a personal level.
The most important thing you can do is to make it easy for him or her to like you personally.
Doing so will make everything that you have to say easier to accept and will add credibility to you and your ideas.
6. Demonstrate your commitment.
Gamblers let their desire for gain override their fear of risk.
Business-men and women are just the opposite.
You can instill their confidence in you by removing any risk they feel.
When you pitch for a big contract, your prospect needs to know that you will give everything you have; not just everything you can.
7. Some people energize, some drain. You do either one or the other.
That means that if you’re not giving, then you’re taking.
Your energy and enthusiasm has to carry both you and them over the line; you won’t get the contract unless they feel that there is something different about you.
If you want to punch above your weight, then you must be able to deliver value in a different way to the big boys.
And you can do that by showing your prospects that you can give them what no one else can: a unique idea delivered through a team of top quality professionals who know the client better than anyone, who have more energy than the competition and who demonstrate a greater commitment to exceptional value with very low risk.
Thanks to Bob Hayward, himself a ‘one-man-band’, for that sage advice. Bob has won several mult-million pound contracts from global blue chip companies. The seven key principles have been a consistent part of those success stories. He has promised to expand on some of his principles in future guest blogs. Until then ...