When I worked for the Fortune company all of my clients were typically other Fortune firms. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but it was the best training ground I could have had.
Mainly because everyone’s concerns are different, but don’t effect their own pocket book. The downside of working with the Fortune arena is the sales cycle can be gruesome. When I first delivered a proposal to Lawrence Livermore Lab, it was exciting. The second time I delivered the same proposal to a new manager, it was with less enthusiasm. But it wasn’t until the fifth presentation and 2 1/2 years before they actually cut the Purchase Order. It was an extra large sale for me, but when you divide the commission over the 2 1/2 years it took to close the deal, it doesn’t have nearly the same impact as a 90 close cycle.
One of my prospects was Hewlett Packard. There were actually three different departments at the Palo Alto campus I presented my product to. Each one was run by completely different personalities. The one that was the most difficult was the 50 year old man who had been with the company nearly from day one. I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think he enjoyed working with a female sales person.
One day I showed up at his office with a roll of butcher paper. I had to try a different tactic to get his attention. I asked if I could buy him a cup of coffee at the company cafeteria and he agreed.
When we got to the cafeteria I rolled out the butcher paper, handed him a felt tip pen and asked him to draw out what he thought would help him in his production needs. When he was done I looked him straight in the eyes and asked, “If I can do this for you, is there any reason why we couldn’t complete the order?”
I was escorted to the accounting office and returned a week later to pick up the purchase order.