Signing a big-name client can seem like a major accomplishment for any business. However, before rushing to close the deal, it’s important for leaders to take a step back and ask themselves some important questions.
Bringing on a high-profile client can have both positive and negative impacts on a company, and it’s crucial to weigh the potential risks and benefits before making any commitments. To help leaders make this decision, 20 Forbes Business Council members highlight some key questions and considerations to keep in mind before pursuing a big-name client.
1. Can we stay true to our purpose?
Sure, big-name clients are great. Who doesn’t want to work with a top company? But, in the pursuit to land big-name clients, don’t lose sight of your purpose. When you know your “power story,” then you know your identity, values and mission and you can communicate easily and effectively on your journey to land big-name clients. Don’t bend or fold who you are and what you do to play some fake role. – Beth Jannery, Titan Strategic Communications
2. Can we overdeliver for the client?
Signing big-name clients is always exciting, but customer success and fulfillment are what determine whether you’ll keep the client. When we ask ourselves this question beforehand, it allows business leaders to set clear expectations so both parties can come to a mutually beneficial agreement. – Marcus Chan, Venli Consulting Group
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3. What is the customer’s full value?
Business leaders need to identify the full value of a customer before signing a deal. Big-name clients may be fussier and need more service. They may also have other rules, such as slower payments, compliance requirements, refusal to provide testimonials and more. They may also be shopping for the low price you’re offering. Check their reputation—are they transactional or relational customers? – Jerry Cahn, Age Brilliantly
4. Can we service this client at the level they expect?
It is always a boost to have a brand name sign on with you, but it can quickly become a burden you are unable to carry. You have to ask yourself, “Can we service this client at the level they (and we) want and expect?” We always make sure there is complete transparency about how big we are and what we are able to provide, and we work hard to manage expectations around availability and access. – Julie Williamson, Karrikins Group
5. What resources will the account require?
When considering taking on a “big-name” account, as a leader, we must carefully evaluate the resources that are going to be needed to balance servicing the new account while maintaining the level of service for our current clients. In addition, take into account the additional financial resources required to service this account. – Francisco Ramirez, The ACE Group (TAG)
6. Are our goals and values aligned?
Business leaders must ask themselves if the big-name client is the right fit for their company and aligns with their values and goals. Rushing to sign a client solely based on their name or reputation may not be worth sacrificing the company’s vision or integrity. It’s important to prioritize long-term partnerships that will benefit the company’s growth and success. – Yasmin Walter, KMD Books
7. Will this be a fruitful partnership?
Considering the long-term benefits and potential challenges, it is crucial to ensure they align with your brand values and are committed to a fruitful partnership. By evaluating their background, expectations and goals, you can make an informed decision and create a mutually beneficial collaboration, strengthening both parties’ positions. Quality outweighs quantity when it comes to relationships. – Leigh Burgess, Bold Industries Group, Inc.
8. Can we handle their business without neglecting existing clients?
I’ve seen several companies focus on landing that “whale” client. Often, what gets overlooked is the additional maintenance they may require and the special demands they may have. I’ve seen several instances where someone demands lower pricing due to their “big name.” Don’t discount your offerings to land the big-name client only to then lose your existing customers by neglecting or ignoring them. – Chris Clear, Clear Storage Group, LLC
9. What is the client’s social reach?
Being able to service well-positioned clients takes a great deal of resources. The social reach and reputation would be wise to consider alongside the top-level service you’ll need to provide in supporting them. Does the business have the resources, talent and capacity to handle what comes with providing the expected service to them? Poor performance could cause a ripple effect on future business elsewhere. – Paul L. Gunn, Jr., KUOG Corporation
10. Is this client a good fit for our business?
Before rushing to sign a big-name client, business leaders must first ask themselves an important question, “Is this client a good fit for our business?” It’s tempting to jump at the opportunity to work with a well-known company or individual who could potentially bring in a lot of revenue. However, it’s important to ensure that the client aligns with the company’s values, mission and goals – Patrick Mensah, WallStreet Investment
11. Why are we forming this partnership?
Large name and logo clients are key signs of success for organizations. When engaging with a client of a high caliber, all leaders must be able to answer the question, “Why are we forming this partnership?” In this case, the “why” is much larger than just having another client and should be the thesis for a strongly cultivated and timely partnership between the entities. – Christian Brown, Glewee
12. Do both parties have clear and reasonable expectations?
Too often, I’ve seen large customers sign on only to become the bane of a company that has to bend over backward to service them and keep them happy. This often makes leaders overly focused on the bottom line and what would happen if the customer churned. – Ty Allen, SocialClimb
13. Can we service the client without compromises?
Before signing a big-name client, business leaders must ask themselves if they have the capacity and resources to meet the client’s expectations without compromising existing commitments. Evaluating the potential impact on workload, timelines and quality helps ensure a sustainable partnership without straining the company’s resources or reputation. – Dustin Lemick, BriteCo
14. Is taking on this client just an ego boost?
When considering a big-name client from your target audience, ask yourself, “Are they a good fit for your business or just a good ego boost?” Remember that success isn’t just about big names; it’s about long-term partnerships that benefit both parties. Don’t let your desire for validation cloud your judgment. – Chris Kille, Payment Pilot
15. Do we understand the customer’s expectations?
If you are a smaller size business, you need to understand the customer’s expectations. In the majority of cases, a big-name client will expect a lot of customizations. If your business is not ready for that, it might prevent you from scaling and growing. As a result, approaching such a customer should be well-planned as a part of a larger GTM strategy, not a random one-off interaction. – Denys Grabchak, Performetry
16. Is the client financially stable?
When you sign a big-name client, your business will likely need to allocate significant resources to meet its specific needs. For this reason, it is important to know, as a business leader, if the client is financially stable at the moment to not only pay but also to pay on time and in full. Also, what would be the potential fallout for the business should the client fail to pay? – Erik Pham, Health Canal
17. Are the agreements mutually beneficial?
Business leaders should ask themselves whether the client’s values align with their own. A misalignment in values can lead to conflicts within the organization and negative outcomes for both parties. It’s important to ensure that all agreements are mutually beneficial and that the customer is a good fit for the business. – Tomas Keenan, Step It Up Academy
18. Has the client worked with similar firms in the past?
Ask them to tell you about a specific time when they worked with an outside firm similar in nature to yours where it was a rewarding, positive experience and the intended results were achieved. Success leaves clues. So, if they have a great example to share, you’ll gain some priceless insights on how to wow them. On the other hand, if they can’t think of even one example, that’s a big red flag. – Angelique Rewers, BoldHaus
19. How much revenue will the client drive?
Not all customers are good for the company. Any customer that makes up more than 10% of revenue is most likely too big and will take a tremendous amount of work to keep as a customer. The revenue might look good, but the costs in custom requests won’t be worth it. – Joseph Edgar, SnapAds
20. How well are we protected?
It’s important to have a clear understanding of why they would use your service; frankly, are they doing so to get the intel on how it works and then replicate themselves? Therefore, the question is how well are you protected from them doing so? – Howard Rosen, LifeWIRE Corp
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