“Congratulations, You’re My 11th Biggest Customer”

 What’s it like to be someone’s “11th Biggest Customer”?

In the constant sales competition with bigger companies for bigger deals, at some point, if you are smaller, your size is going to become an issue. This can be in an obvious way or in a subtle way- even unstated. However, if you are competing with a company who is much bigger than you are, often that competitor looks like a safer bet than you. You have to turn their size against them- and that’s not easy, it takes a little magic.

Here is the magic trick –

Ask your prospect, “Who is your 11th biggest customer for your company?” As they fumble through the list in their mind, drop in this second question, “What’s it like to be somebody’s 11th biggest customer?”

You’ve set up the conversation about size, trust and promises. Be careful, it would be easy to swing on the point with an eight-pound sledgehammer when just a finishing hammer is necessary. Here’s how the rest of the conversation should go –

You: “Being out of the top 10 shows up in a lot of ways in a business relationship- not always up front, but over time, the bigger clients always get the first attention in any of our businesses. I would encourage you to ask anyone you are considering for this project/program/purchase/partnership where you will fall in the order of size of their clients. Just for reference, you will be my 3rd biggest customer, (fill in the blank with the correct number in the top 10 for your company or your personal book of business).”

It’s simple – we all know that being 11th sucks. Sometimes a prospect needs to be reminded of this fact. Then the prospect needs to be asked to make this reference real to his or her own business. In our own hearts, all of us, prospects included, know that we don’t treat all customers equally. They enjoy that leverage when they have it and resent it when they don’t. This is our chance to drive that point home. Works like magic.

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