Every young company is looking for a big whale of a client, the one that they can point to as the point when their business went from a growing concern to a true player in the industry. Not all of them will get one, as you are probably aware. The perfect blueprint for grabbing that big client doesn’t exist, but there are a few internal and external ways that you can set yourself up for the right growth relationship that’ll take you and your company to the next level. This isn’t something to be taken lightly. Getting a major client can be the difference between your business taking off and staying on the runway permanently. 

Know Yourself

Internally, having all your ducks in a row as you prepare for your pitch is an absolute necessity. The last thing a prospective client wants to hear is “we’ll take care of that later.” Every detail of what you’ll do for them, what you’ve done for others—and projections for growth—need to be conveyed clearly when the time comes. Make it so they can visualize how they’re better off in your hands than where they currently are. It’s all about the value you’re creating, and that starts with your plan. The heart and soul of your company needs to be on full display here.

Know Your Peers

As far as outside factors go, having a strong network of happy customers is ideal. A big part of due diligence is connecting with people who can give me unbiased info about the company I’m looking into. Those who have dealt with a company’s leadership before can tell me something about a business that I can’t learn on my if you’re in the business of making people happy, whales are going to find out. 

There’s also the fact that you can’t ignore the larger community that you’re a part of. Your whale, being a major player, will have a large number of connections, meaning the more you put yourself out there, the likelier you are to get on their radar. This way, you’re not going in completely unknown. 

Know Your Whale

Having said that, you’re going to want to know twice as much about them as they do you. Use those connections to find out exactly what they’re after in a business relationship. They may be looking for a small company for the dynamism and flexibility that kind of outfit can provide. They may be looking for a business that’s ready to scale up and get bigger, with their help. Going into talks with this information in hand is more valuable than gold, so get into gear and take that extra step.

Everyone likes to feel important, and in the pitching process, your big name whales are no exception. You’ll want to roll out the red carpet for them to make that big first impression, and show them . The idea here is to show that you’re capable of handling their needs, because that will be a deciding factor going forward. First impressions aren’t everything, but they go a long way when you’re a smaller company looking to impress one of the big players.

If there were a foolproof way to attract these big clients, every venture would be a success. I can’t sit here in my office and tell you what kind of business to run, but if you’ve got a solid plan, your affairs in order, and a trail of happy customers, there’s no reason to hesitate. Your number one priority needs to be scaling up your business, and you do that by scaling up your clientele. If you have all your books in order, a game plan, and strong recommendations from your peers, those big clients will be happy to hear from you. I know I would.

About the Author(s)

 David  Kleinhandler

David Kleinhandler is a New York-based investor and entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience founding and funding financial startups. His recent work has centered around mentoring business-minded people—whether they’re recent grads starting out or veterans looking for a leg up—and giving them the tools and motivation they need to achieve their...

Founder and President, Vest Financial Group
What to Know When Aiming For a Whale