How to Fish for Whales

In sales, a whale is a prospect that potentially could become a big contract—a well-moneyed player who could, if landed, become your company’s best client. But how do you hook a mega-client? Here are some time-honored tactics:

  • Determine who’s at the top. Learn as much as you can about the company and its goals. How can your product help them sell what they sell? Try to gain the ear of the CEO or the president. This will give you a clear picture of the organization, its decision makers and its hierarchy.
  • Never underestimate the power of networking. If you have one good contact in the organization, stick with him as he/she may get promoted or transferred and may prove useful in their new position.
  • Look for problems and challenges faced by the prospect’s company. Problems are opportunities. They allow you to focus on providing valuable ideas and solutions, and help you stand out from your competition who’s only interested in pushing their own product. For research use the company’s website, talk to its sales force and take the time to understand why its customers buy.
  • Learn how they run their business. Who do they sell to? Who’s the competition? What’s stopping them from growing and succeeding? This kind of sales focus turns you into an asset.
  • Don’t give up your solid small and midsize accounts. You will still need a base of accounts in the event that you lose a large account. Besides, doing well with small and midsize accounts will give you confidence to go big.
  • Don’t give up. Most people give up when they’re on the 1-yard line, not realizing how close they are to closing that large account. If you’re certain you can add value to the account, then be persistent.