Work with a brand? Jump on a bus.
Start-ups are always on the look out for new business with brands, but how do you nail a deal? Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed ‘silver bullet’ (sorry), however, please find below my 5 key tips on how to greatly improve your chances:
- It is a numbers game
Keep as many ‘relevant’ options open as possible vs focussing on one key opportunity. Basically, it is a ‘numbers game’, the more brand people you see and the more pitches you make, ultimately, the more chance you have of gaining new business. It is that simple.
- Quality over Quantity
However, it is also very important to accept defeat – don’t waste your energy (or your dreams) on a piece of work if you know deep down that it isn’t going to happen. In the world of brands ’no news is bad news’. If you don’t hear back after a few weeks, there is a very high chance that nothing will happen, so best to accept defeat and focus your energies on other more feasible opportunities. I appreciate that this is very difficult to do, but it is worthwhile in the long run. Yes, it is a numbers game, but it is also still a case of quality of leads over quantity of leads.
- Be Honest
A lot of start-ups will mention that they have numerous projects on the go with many big brands, however, on further inspection, these projects are usually ‘proposals that have been sent to a brand, but no reply has been received’ (sometimes for months). Don’t put yourself in a difficult situation if asked to explain further, honesty is always best, every time.
For example, I was in a meeting with a brand client and start-up a few months ago where the start-up mentioned that they were soon to be working with a big brand. Two months later in a meeting with the same brand, the Brand Manager asked how the brand project was going – not only couldn’t the start-up remember initially saying this, but they had to explain how this project never actually happened – too late, the damage was done, the client became suspicious, the trust was broken and not surprisingly, there wasn’t a third meeting.
- The magic number is 5
More often than not, a meeting with a brand doesn’t lead to a confirmation of business. There is always someone else that you need to be introduced to (another meeting). However, if you have the chance to book another meeting, book it. Nothing happens overnight. A recent study by the ‘National Sales Executive’ showed that 80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact! So keep meeting potential clients however slow progress seems – especially if you are approaching the 5th meeting.
- Be ready to jump on a few buses
Finally, brand opportunities can be a bit like buses, it all goes quiet for a bit and then loads of opportunities come through. You need to be ready to jump on all of the ‘relevant’ buses (the more the better), jump off the occasional one (accept defeat) and maybe switch to another when needed (another meeting) hopefully at least one will arrive at your chosen destination. Happy travelling!