says, “which beats sending out your best sales rep with the world’s best sales presentation.” Capsonic, No. 59 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list, designs and manufactures automotive electromechanical products for clients such as Ford and Compaq. His other rules are: build a relationship with the customer based upon respect for their position and authority; develop an environment and process that will enable your people to meet every commitment they make; and make a habit of being helpful to everyone. “Friends don’t forget friends, Liautaud adds.
Sylvia Cordy, president of Cordy & Company, a 1 15-year-old public relations firm based in Denver, first approached Coors Brewing Co. in 1986 with a standard letter to purchasing. After dutifully completing and returning the attached minority supplier form Coors sent in response, Cordy rethought her strategy. “I talked to a few acquaintances who worked there and learned who the directors of community relations, public relations and communications were,” she says. “I also found out that Coors had an objective to expand its ties to the community.” Cordy’s next letter — addressed to specific decision-makers and stating a direct benefit in her own ties to Denver’s community leaders — got noticed. She was invited to make a presentation, during which she outlined specific ways her company could help Coors achieve its objectives. Three months later, she landed her first contract with Coors, worth $60,000. She used this first piece of business to win other corporate accounts, including Norwest Bank, the Colorado Department of Transportation and US West’s Business Resources Division, plus additional work
with Coors. Today, her firm earns $300,000 a year and has recently opened a second office in Washington, D.C.
4. Your biggest allies are satisfied clients.
However, don’t just provide a list of clients. Say what you did to solve their specific problems. The size of the client may not matter if the problem looks familiar to the larger company. They’ll be interested in your creative approach to the problem, plus your ability to meet deadlines and stay within budget. Customer letters and videotaped testimonies carry a lot of weight. Just be sure to get the past or current client’s permission before you include them in your marketing pitches and materials. Another caution when mentioning clients: Check with an industry expert or an “insider” you trust about the wisdom of mentioning a client who is a competitor of the company you’re pitching. Some companies are concerned that breeches of confidentiality on your part might damage their competitiveness.
5. PRESENT YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY.
While Rasheed believes in helping others, he refuses to refer anyone who doesn’t present a professional image. “Everything, from your marketing materials to the way you make your sales pitch, should be top shelf,” he says. Your image package (business card, letterhead and company brochure) should reflect the same care and quality you put into your products or services. Poor quality design, paper, writing, photography or art, typos and other faux pas will end your chances of being taken seriously faster than you can say circular file.