Landing the next BIG client: Just a Flip of the Coin?

Today I was thinking about some of my large sales successes. The high of landing a large account can really begin an unstoppable momentum in your sales journey.

I have always been in sales and marketing and have had many great highs. A large amount of my super highs have come from landing large accounts. One I often think about is Bi-Lo, a 220 store grocery chain based in South Carolina.

I remember like it was yesterday… I had been working with the buyer for over 5 months, flying back and forth from San Diego to Greenville, South Carolina too many times to count. At the time we were a relatively small entertainment distributor at about $10 million in sales and I was competing against 5 other vendors ranging in size from $100 million to just shy of $1 billion. Just who did I think I was competing against these goliath companies? Blind to anything that may have been in my way! I had lost count on how many times I had followed up via email, phone calls, letters, and notes trying to close the sale.

One of the last times I followed up I finally had the buyer on the phone. He stated it was between me and two of my largest competitors. I asked him where he was leaning and his exact response was “I don’t know Alan, it’s really a flip of a coin!”… A FLIP OF A COIN?!?! I was so taken back by that comment at first but then quickly started thinking about what I could do… OK, a flip of a coin… I can take care of that!

The following day I sent a coin Next Day Air with our company logo engraved on each side with a note that said “Here is the coin to use when you are ready !” The next week I received the call letting me know our company was awarded the contract! My consistent followup was a major factor in landing the account and I also know the coin pushed my buyer over the edge in my direction. For more creative follow up ideas check out Scott Ginsberg’s article 7 (more) Unforgettable Follow-Up Strategies.

How many times have you been presented with a challenge at some point in the sale? Are you listening for the opportunities to take that one extra step? I find a lot of times in the sales process it comes down to a few companies and the customer goes with the company that feels right… Look for those opportunities to insure you stand out amongst your competitors and realize sometimes it just comes down to a flip of a coin.

3 thoughts on “Landing the next BIG client: Just a Flip of the Coin?”

  1. Wow, did you bring back memories of an outrageous thing I did in my past that landed me a large gravel/construction company account in SD.

    I was invited to join several of the company execs at a table they had purchased at a fund raiser. Feeling very flattered I of course accepted the invite, but knew I needed to thank them in some meaningful way.

    I was seated next to the CFO who pretty much ignored me the entire evening. He chose to talk with the person on the other side of him instead. I just listened, listened and listened. By the end of the evening I knew what he was interested in personally and business wise. I found out that he loved a specific kind of wine that was quite rare and that he had some corporate executives that were planning a mutiny unless they were given a raise.

    I was set!. The next day I called a friend that was into wine, told him about the wine and asked where I could get it. Within 24 hours I had 2 bottles of this wine in my hands. I wrapped it creatively with a letter I had composed outlining several ways the CFO could compensate his key executives through different insurance ideas. I had the wine delivered personally to him. I had a phone call within 10 minutes of its arrival. He granted me an interview and the rest is history.



  2. As a professional who worked many years in sales operations and customer service, I appreciate that you have chosen follow up as the topic for your blog. So many companies ignore the importance of investing time and money in customer relationships after the sale is closed. They don’t realize they are ignoring their biggest assets. As they choose to focus their efforts on obtaining new clients, they ignore their existing clients, forgetting that it’s so much cheaper to keep the customers they already have. This is followup at it’s best, right? I especially like this post and the creative way you connected with the customer to close this deal. I’d love to see you tell us other similar stories and share your creativity with the rest of us. I think we can all learn from you. As an independent business owner, I need all the help I can get. Thanks for the continued inspiration. Keep writing!

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