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How To Land A Big Fish – Part III


Did you hear the news? The greatest golfer and the premier ski racer of our time have confirmed the rumors that they have been dating for the past few months.

For Tiger Woods, it means that a beautiful, young, successful woman has chosen to be in a relationship with him despite his extremely-public, messy divorce after admitting to numerous extramarital affairs.

For Lindsey Vonn, it means that she gets to date a smart, good-looking billionaire who shares her tremendous athletic drive and knows all about the pressures and ups-and-downs that come with being a world-class athlete.

They’ve both “landed Big Fish” in their professional lives — he’s won 14 major titles, and she’s won an Olympic gold medal. Now the argument could be made that both of them have “landed a Big Fish” in their personal lives as well.

And that fits right in with the recent discussion we’ve been having here about How To Land The Big Fish in your business that can give your revenue and profits a huge boost and sustain you for years to come.

Last week, I wrote about what you need to do to instill a big company mindset into your business and overcome some key mental obstacles that keep most small business owners from being successful.

This week, I’ll cover two more important parts of the preparation stage before you actually approach your potential Big Fish.

First, you’ll want to uncover something very important to know about your Big Fish – namely, what their buying habits and procedures are.

You’ll want to discover four main things:

  1. Responsibilities: You need to know which people have some influence over purchases, which ones do the actual buying and who has the power to kill a deal if they want to.
  2. Their List: You need to know how to get onto their list of preferred vendors. Your name needs to not only be on the list, but at the top of it – and in as many categories as possible for maximum opportunity and interaction. Ask about their procurement program and what you need to do to go through the application process.
  3. Their Lingo: You need to learn the company’s unique language and communication methods, including report names, buzzwords and even the nicknames they have for their employees.
  4. Fiscal Budgets: It’s essential that you find out your Big Fish’s fiscal budget, so you know exactly what investments and expenses they are planning on making for the year.

Next, let’s take a quick look at the potential red tape you are likely to encounter along the way. Keep in mind that while bureaucracy might as well be a four-letter word because of the emotions it stirs in all of us entrepreneurs, recognizing it and figuring out how to deal with it are necessary evils when you’re looking to land a Big Fish.

Fortunately, there are two ways to learn from any company’s internal system:

  1. analyze their activity – events, product launches, hirings, firings, etc.
  2. review any of their communications you can find – websites, brochures, annual reports, procedure manuals, press releases, etc.

Always keep in mind the best part of dealing with another company’s red tape: You get to learn as much as you can from it, but you don’t have to get caught up in it (think about it: If you hate dealing with their red tape, just imagine how their own employees feel about having to deal with it!).

Once you’ve done your homework, you’ll be ready for your big approach. We’ll cover that all-important part of catching your Big Fish in next week’s post.

If you need help with any of this, try my FREE test drive of, where you’ll find all the right tools to help you get the job done.

7 Responses to How To Land A Big Fish – Part III

  1. Mom Reply

    March 20, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    I love you and I love reading all your blogs which wasn’t even a word in my days (days of the dinosaurs).

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      March 20, 2013 at 7:33 pm

      I love you, Mom!

  2. Pam Brossman Reply

    March 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Last I heard he was back with his wife. Can’t keep up 🙂

    On another more exciting note, I totally resonate with your ‘big fish’ analogy and we have done just that this week. Hard work and aligning your grand with the right people can have a huge impact on your business results and your long term brand customer loyalty. It also impacts attracting the affluent something Dan Kennedy teaches very well in his book Marketing to the Affluent – brilliant book! Great article thanks Steve.

    Pam Brosman

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      March 20, 2013 at 10:42 pm

      That IS exciting news, Pam! Way to go!

      By the way: I love your website — and I’m clearly not a “She” Expert. Thanks for all the super content there. Please say hello to Steve for me. Thanks!

  3. Phil Brakefield Reply

    March 20, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Great stuff, as usual, Steve!

    I can understand the need for all four of the “homework” categories that need to be accomplished before unleashing the assault…or in deference to your metaphor…casting the lure, but in my experience, getting an even remotely accurate fix on budgets is a tall order indeed. And the bigger the fish, the more fluid budgets become. At any time of any fiscal year, I see budgets being re-figured, moved, lowered or raised to address changing market conditions, or to put out unexpected fires, or to throw some more dollars at an initiative or promotion that is blowing the doors off projections, or in some cases, save some suit’s job. Soooooo, will having even a very general idea of budgets, which will no doubt change, be really worth it to try to trackdown before getting into the trenches?

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      March 20, 2013 at 10:25 pm

      GREAT question, Phil. Here’s my take, based on decades of experience dealing with all the red tape and multiple layers of B.S. getting through to decision-makers in large organizations…

      Yes, their budgets are constantly changing. That’s one reason it can be extremely beneficial to stay on top of the situation.

      a. Early in my career, I wish I had back all the time and energy I wasted by not knowing that “our budget for this year is already earmarked for other projects, but thanks for all the great information…”

      b. I’ve been the beneficiary more than a few times of a sudden increase in available funds, and also by knowing when a company’s fiscal year ends/begins (translation: when a depleted budget gets refreshed). I’ve used that information to time my sales cycle to coincide with the time that budgets were being planned and funds allocated. And I’ve also gotten “inside information” on this all-important factor by building rapport and trust with one or more of the influencers within the organization.

      Bottom-line: The ideal prospect must be willing to buy, ready to buy, and able to buy. Too many salespeople (as the great Zig Ziglar called them, the ones with skinny kids) put all their time and effort into getting the prospect willing and ready to buy — but then go home empty because they didn’t make sure they were able (in other words, had the money) to buy.

      That’s like steering your boat to the perfect spot, using the perfect bait, hooking a Big Fish and reeling him all the way in — but then being informed that you caught a protected species that you aren’t allowed to keep. OUCH!

      • Phil Brakefield Reply

        March 21, 2013 at 5:02 pm

        Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Steve.

        I think we come down in the same place on the issue, but you can’t blame a guy for TRYING to find a different resolution that would have been as soothing as falling into a tub of lotion.

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