Aaron Vidas proves that it is possible for a solopreneur to sell into big businesses. Aaron has built three consulting businesses to revenues of over $1M dollars. He has worked with clients ranging from solopreneurs to the boards and CEOs of $250 million plus companies. He did this by slowing working up the value chain and talking to a lot of people.
At the end of the day, Aaron knows that big companies are all composed of people, so you just need to find out which people to talk to. Not so intimidating after all. Like selling to anyone, you have to position yourself as the expert and know that you can solve their business problems to make the business more efficient and make more money.
Aaron shares with us:
- Why sell to large businesses: Because they need your high-quality services and will pay you what it is worth. And just by charging more, the companies who want to work with you will self select and only those who understand the value of what you offer will want to work with you. When the client cares, they will actually implement your work to maximize value and you will feel like you aren't waisting your time with them. A lot of people undercharge because they are afraid that they won't get the client. On the flip side, you might get the wrong clients that cost a lot of your time and don't understand your value.
- How do you position yourself to sell into large companies: Positioning.
- Ask yourself: What are my strengths? What am I good at? Where have I provided results for the client? What have my previous clients looked like and what business problems, not just technical problems, have I soled for them? What have I done that I really enjoyed?
- You won't get all the answers if you just sit there and think about it. Go call your precious clients and ask them what you did to help them.
- Make sure your online presence is up to date and makes you look like an expert. The first thing a prospective client will do is search your name online. You want you name to be considered an authority in the field, so take every opportunity to show the world that you know what you are talking about, be it webinars, podcasts, conferences, industry events, trade shows, or other speaking engagements that put you in front of the target audience.
- How to find the right person to talk to: Now that you know what you can offer and have figured out which companies to approach, you have to find the right person to talk to.
- Maybe you don't directly know anyone at the company. Well, actually, maybe you do or someone in your network does. Ask around and don't feel bad about it. You truly want to help the company so there is nothing to feel bad about. But when you start asking, make sure you are very specific: “Do you know anybody who works at company X? I think I can solve (fill in specific business, not technical, problem) for them.”
- That means you have to study the company and know that you can solve their problem. A word of warning here: If you find that the people inside the company don't recognize the issue you are trying to address as a problem, you probably won't be able to change their minds and should move on.
- Now to reach out. Call the highest person in the company that you know and present your case on how you can help them be more efficient or make more money. That person may redirect you to someone else in the company who more directly deals with that problem, which is great, you have an introduction! Here's a secret: get to know someone on the board. Ask them where they want the company to go, how the company is doing, maybe give some free advice on how to solve some strategic problem and ask for an introduction to the CEO. Again, you want to help the company so there is no reason to be intimidated to go out and sell yourself to the people in the company, no matter what their title is.
- The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
- How to Become a Rainmaker: The Rules for Getting and Keeping Customers and Clients by Jeffrey J. Fox
- Strategy Safari by Henry Mintzberg
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