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The Best Way To Market To Corporate Clients

Top of the list of dreams for many small firms and solo professionals is to win lucrative work with big corporate clients.

A few decent projects can keep your business very healthy for a long time.

The trouble is those lucrative corporate contracts can be very tricky to land. And a lot of the marketing many small firms do doesn't hit the spot for corporates.

You see, although things are changing over time, right now, senior decision makers in corporates don't spend much of their time searching for things online or using social media.

They don't go out to networking events like smaller businesses do.

And their emails and calls are usually screened by assistants trained to keep new suppliers at bay.

So what is the best way to market to corporate clients? Here are three approaches I've found to be the most effective:

The Best Way to Market To Corporate Clients #1: Referrals

Corporate decision makers may not take your call or email cold – but they will pay attention if you've been recommended by someone they trust.

Your best step here is to make sure you're connected on Linkedin to your best contacts (e.g. ex clients and clients) who you're confident would recommend you; and to then look at their contact base or use the Linkedin search to find people who you'd like introductions to.

Then reach out to your contacts to ask for an introduction – ideally offering to send them useful information or provide abriefing on a key topic rather than just meeting to talk about working together.

The Best Way to Market To Corporate Clients #2: Presentations and Seminars

Nothing gives you a better opportunity to prove your capabilities that to make a presentation in front of an audience of potential clients.

If you're targeting corporates, you'll have to work to find out which events their senior decision makers attend. It's far more likely to be a high end industry conference than it is to be a local chamber event, for example.

But once you know, you can work towards getting on the agenda, delivering value through your presentation, and following up with those that “raise their hands” to show interest.

The Best Way to Market To Corporate Clients #3: Direct Mail

In these days where we're overwhelmed with email, good old direct mail is making a comeback.

Not flyers and adverts – but well written letters that offer something of value rather than pitching. And hand addressed.

Even better: send “lumpy mail”. A package with a relevant object accompanying the letter. Who doesn't open packages?

The key to all of this is to build deep client understanding so that you know what they'll respond to. What events they go to. Who they know.

Then use that to drive your marketing.

Free Webinar: How To Win High-Paying Corporate Clients

I'm running a series of free webinars on how to win high-paying corporate clients, even if you're not a big firm, don't have pre-established relationships, and you're not a natural salesperson.

In the webinar we'll be covering:

  • The three key strategies to position yourself as an authority corporates will seek out to work with​
  • 5 practical “recipes” for connecting with potential clients in large organisations
  • The one thing you must do if you want more meetings with real buyers in corporate organisations
  • How to follow-up with potential clients so they become ready to buy…without nagging, chasing or being pushy

You can check the timings of the next sessions and register by clicking the button below:


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  1. I was pleased that referrals and direct mail were two of the three methods Ian because that’s how I got all my bigger clients.

    And of course there are the project extensions and variations where a relatively small job finishes at a very high value.

  2. I’ve been thinking about direct mail but haven’t delved into it. Since you recommended it here, I think I’ll give it a go. Thanks.

  3. Combining a referral with a slightly provocative letter (postal mail) and the phone often works very well. I think that the phone is a step that many people avoid – big mistake.

  4. I’m flattered that you would ask. Thanks, Ian.

    I open the letter by mentioning the person who referred me to them. Then I mention a key business objective that they consider a priority and let them know that I’ve helped a company that the decision-maker would know to achieve that same objective – and perhaps I can help them, too. I tell them that I’ll be calling them and specify a date / time. I call them and either connect directly (unlikely) or leave a very brief voice mail message – again mentioning the name of the person who referred me, the letter I mailed, their key objective and the name of the other company I helped. The goal is to get a return call. I typically get one about half of the time.