Big bucks, whales and monster clients – 2 lessons learned

One of my most important sales and marketing lessons. It is about the importance of being aware of, catering to and always having options for monster clients to hire you.

Decades ago, a chain of radio stations hired me to bump up sales of one of their stations prior to selling the chain. Did that, bumping sales 30% in six months, but also learned an important life lesson in sales I have never forgotten.

This small underperforming station had a weak AM signal, few listeners and most of the clients were local businesses spending $500 to $1500 a month. But, most of the revenue came from just a few larger clients.

One of them was a racetrack in Boston which paid the station a ton of money to broadcast a show on Sunday night. I went up to meet the marketing VP and pick up the largest check this station would see all year.

As I sat there in the fancy race track offices thinking about the tens of thousands of customers they had and all the money they were swimming in, and the rinky dink low watt radio station I represented, that was hard to even find on the dial, in an unguarded moment I asked “Why do you bother to do this with us?”

The answer was one of the most important sales lessons learned in my life.

That VP said that they had a very small group of customers that spent a ton of money at the track. That small group represented a large percentage of their revenue. That small group simply could not get enough information about what was happening at the track. That their radio show on this rinky dink station, along with a few other things, was part of their effort to cater to the needs of their mega clients. The show’s purpose was not geared toward regular customers but was structured to serve the very few monster customers that spent Brinks truck loads of money at the track.

The lesson was that we must be aware of and open to prospects that, if given the opportunity, would spend a ton of money with us.

Are you aware of which prospects have the potential to shovel money at you while most are handing you a few bucks? Do you give those prospects the opportunity to shovel that money toward you? Do you have offers or programs for those that are willing and expect to pay more?

Another related story from my younger days… was all into providing value (aka lower pricing) and met with a CEO that was a perfect fit. He looked at my proposal options and said “Scott, if this isn’t worth $20,000, it isn’t worth my time.” All my program options were for far less. I was not hired.

Some clients expect to pay amounts of money that are not normal for you. But for those clients it is normal. In fact, if the fees are too low, they think something is wrong. Maybe you are not good enough or really are not an expert of the caliber they expect and want to pay for.

Two lessons from these stories

  1. Be aware and cater to the miniscule subset of your prospects & clients that want and expect to pay you amounts of money far beyond what the typical client pays. Provide them options to do so.
  2. Understand that your value pricing may turn off clients that expect to pay more.

Keep the door open to clients that get your value, expect to pay more and have no hesitation backing up the Brinks truck rather than writing you a check.

If you are not conscious of these mega prospects and clients, you close the door on substantial revenue streams and projects that could otherwise be yours.