Taking on a large corporation in an industry can seem like an insurmountable task for a small business. The fact is that many small companies cannot compete because they cannot lower prices enough to beat the large competitor. While some of these companies cannot compete with corporations, there are plenty that are able to take clients from much larger companies consistently.
Identify What the Client Needs
Having a questionnaire during the early stages of onboarding a client is important. This can allow a salesperson or customer service representative to avoid wasting the clients’ time by offering services they may not want or need. Many larger companies might try to upsell a client immediately which can lead to a client feeling like they aren’t being listened to. A great question is “What are some pain points that you think that our company can address?” This will allow them to explain which part of their process your company will fit into. Allow the client to explain why they need help before you address their pain points. This can make a sale simply by explaining what services you can offer them to help.
Stress Customer Service
Smaller companies can offer more of a personal touch than larger corporations. The client rep or main point of contact for your larger clients allows for a strong relationship to be built. Add that to the fact that the client rep will be the one entertaining them while in town only adds to this relationship. Certain corporations will have various reps depending on scheduling or vacation time. Dealing with different reps can be impersonal and can give the impression that their business doesn’t warrant the time of a single rep. The personal touch of customer service from those who you have a relationship allows for more freely flowing communication. In the case of a mistake, a customer rep with a relationship with the client will be able to diffuse a situation much more quickly than an outside source.
Reduce Overhead and Drop Prices
There are plenty of places to begin when it comes to dropping overhead and prices. The office is the first place many people look at as something that can be replaced with a virtual assistant from companies like Servcorp. There are even services that direct your calls via a receptionist in your virtual office. Dropping prices can be done in order to solidify a deal long term with a client. Each business has a magic number that keeps them profitable. Do not drop below this number as you can lose money. Have a bottom line and stick with it as you will not want to work with companies not willing to pay your already reduced prices.
Hire a High Profile Employee
The budget currently might not have any room to hire a person that is highly respected in an industry. A great thing that can be done is asking to trade company stock or shares in the hope of them giving up their salary for a few months. Those who believe in their skills as well as your business plan realize that they can make more money by turning the company into a success. The professional relationships that this person already has can be the foot in the door many small businesses need with larger clients. The difficult job will be to convince someone to leave a high paying job for hope of making a fortune. One high profile employee can do a lot for you in terms of marketing and sales. These people will commonly speak at conferences and be interviewed by industry publications. Don’t rule out getting a big name because of the budget, you just have to find a different way to compensate them until they are paying for themselves with their work.
Limited budgets and smaller staff allow small companies to be quite creative. Small companies have the advantage when it comes to getting work done efficiently and quickly. Larger corporations might have a few extra policies or steps that slow down their production. In the case of creative industry jobs like web design, a smaller company can finish this site without having to check in with multiple supervisors. With a creative and clever approach, your business can compete with the largest in the industry today. What are some things that you do to help even the playing field?