BY JILL KONRATH
Landing big companies as clients can propel your business to
a whole new level. That’s why so many of us would love to
work with firms like GE, Microsoft or Kraft. When they hire
you, it’s an endorsement to the whole world that you’re a prime-time
player. If they like you, your calendar fills up and stays that way for
years to come.
My first major client was a large global manufacturer. Over an
eight-year period, I worked for more than 10 different divisions.
As the decision makers came to trust my expertise, initial projects
quickly spawned add-on projects. They paid me well, referred me
to colleagues and broadened my capabilities.
If you’re like most people, that’s your ideal. Yet getting even one
meeting set up with corporate decision makers can be a real chal-
lenge. It’s hard enough to find out whom to call. Then when you do
initiate contact, the contact seldom answers the phone, rolls you into
voicemail and rarely calls you back. Ouch!
So what does it take to crack into corporate accounts today? When
I joined NSA a few years back, people told me to develop a classy
looking one-sheet with catchy speech titles, create a memorable ele-
vator speech, make a glitzy video and start calling meeting planners.
Maybe that works with association clients, but corporate decision
makers could care less. They have more important things to worry
about—like achieving their revenue growth goals, improving opera-
tional efficiency and cutting costs. To be successful getting into