If you have read the previous article, 5.050404, “Getting Goliath’s Attention”, on the surface this article title may seem to be redundant. The previous article described the best way to get attention is to begin your discussion with “We can help you receive unforecasted revenue within the current reporting period.” This simple twelve-word statement seems to answer the three Why’s in the title of this article. It is true, but underneath the surface of this very logical answer are a series of other questions that will immediately come to mind of a Goliath. The questions may be covered during your initial discussion with your first contact. However, as they begin to bring others up to speed, others will naturally ask the three Why questions. Providing your initial contact with a few clear and concise statements will help them repeat the message that you want others within the Goliath organization to hear. Build easily repeatable messages around all three Whys.
Why You? (David)
- We are a small, agile company with a unique offering. Your current capabilities (list them – engineering, manufacturing, customer service, purchasing, customer base, financial capabilities, etc.) clearly complement what we are doing.
- We do not have the market presence or reputation that you do and certainly do not have the experience in dealing with customers (distributors, regulatory agencies, international, etc.) that you do.
- With your existing, well-established business, we could scale our operations much faster than trying to do it on our own.
- You, with your proven track record, would provide us with instant credibility.
Why Us? (Goliath)
- We believe that we provide an offering that enhances your current offerings and will be viewed as a natural extension of your business.
- We believe that we will provide you with a competitive edge over your competition and may open new market opportunities for you.
- We have an offering that is available now. Undoubtedly, you could duplicate what we offer, but it would take time and effort and perhaps cause a deviation in your current plans.
- Our offering could also be attractive to others. However, we believe that working with you is the best choice for our business.
- Although we believe we have a unique offering, others may be able to offer something similar. By working with us now, you will be viewed as a market leader to further enhance your reputation and market position.
- We believe that we can positively impact your top line revenue with a minimal impact on your current resources.
- Our work with our current prospects has proven that there is a need for our offering. We sense that our prospects would rather deal with you as a known and respected company, as opposed to us. However, we cannot let their needs go unfulfilled.
- We have no choice but to begin to duplicate the capabilities that you have to help us build our business. Working with you now would allow us to focus on tasks that further enhance, rather than duplicate the overall offering.
Although listed last, the Why Now comments are the most important. The goal is to create a sense of urgency to move forward. It is unfortunate, but most new companies stumble because their offerings fall into the category of “nice to have” instead of “must have”. A good example that many of us experience is when we walk down the aisles of a big box store or down the hallways of a shopping mall. There are many items that catch our eye, but we usually end up purchasing only a small fraction of the items that we see, if we purchase anything at all! Goliaths are the same way. There is always an overabundance of things that they could pursue. Your task is to convince them that they should pursue a relationship with you now.
There is one critical factor that you need to carefully consider when approaching a Goliath. It involves THEIR timing. As we all well know, we only get one chance to make a first impression. As other articles in this series describe, to save time and effort, we often focus on “getting to NO, before we get to KNOW” to eliminate issues or opportunities that we do not quickly see as worthy of our time. So, keep in mind your “Now” may not fall in line with their “Now”. For example, approaching a retailer in November for an item that has Christmas Holiday appeal would quickly be discounted. Companies purchase Christmas inventory in August or earlier, not in November. As another example, a large, well known next day shipper freezes their operational systems in mid-October to avoid any potential disruptions during their busy fourth quarter. Finally, for most companies, in the last month of their fiscal quarter, all of their attention is focused on completing business. Approaching them with a new idea may fall on deaf ears.
Once a company makes a quick “no” decision, it is very difficult to turn it around to a “yes”. Remember, companies do not form relationships: people do. Turning a hastily made “No” into a “Yes” requires a person to admit an error.
Refine and practice the Why You and Why Us but only approach a Goliath when you understand the Why Now from their perspective.