How to Outsell the Bigger Fish

When it comes to being a relevant fish in the vast sea of sales, bigger isn’t always better. Sure, we’re not going to deny that being a larger fish has its advantages, like brand recognition, resources, and greater negotiating power when it comes to pricing out competitors. But small-business owners and entrepreneurs can do just as well, or even better: You don’t have to be plankton getting swallowed every time the whales open their mouths to try and gulp in all the market share.

Celebrate Your Size
As we say here in Vegas, a town with plenty of gambling “whales,” double down on what comes easy to you. There are advantages to being smaller and more nimble, like being able to speedily move initiatives through. In the corporate waters where the big-box whales cast their shadows, the turnaround for decision making and project-managed initiatives is pretty slow—you have experts clogging the blowhole with all their opinions on best practices.

In a smaller operation, getting an audience with the C-suite amounts to simply walking over to their offices when you need buyoff or advice. And your size gives you the edge when it comes to delivering a much more value-oriented service, in part because it doesn’t come weighed down by expensive facilities and a bloated legal department.

Being small and adaptable also has these advantages:

  • You have the flexibility to accommodate out-of-the-box customer needs.
  • You have the power to differentiate both your company and your products/services, showing how your offerings are unique and can’t necessarily be served up by the biggies.

Be the Brand
Prospects are looking for solutions, and in so doing will hold you to the same standards as your larger competitors; how big your employer is means nothing to the prospect. But in a small organization especially, you are your company’s brand. Be sure you make a good impression with a neat appearance—this isn’t the time to try out your pirate look, for example, or jump the shark with kooky and distracting wardrobe choices. Just keep it simple and professional. Also, show that you care by being a good listener and expressing genuine concern for the prospect’s problems; and be enthusiastic about the solutions—i.e., the stellar products and services you have to offer.

Cater to the Customer
Regardless of company size, good customer service should be paramount. Yet this is especially important for small companies, where there might be only one direct contact, as opposed to a whole team. At your smaller company, it’s essential for that point person to be the go-to gal or guy that clients can rely on and build a great rapport with.

When it comes to your company and products, show confidence and display that entrepreneurial spirit that got you where you are to begin with. So you’re going against a bigger fish. If you’re the best swimmer, it doesn’t matter. Believing in what you do instills your customers with confidence that your solutions are the best on the market.

Finally, make sure you’re providing your sales staff with good sales training and coaching. Best-in-class companies see the value in investing in their salesforce, regardless of their size. Professional development is always a good investment, so even if you’re small, make it a priority and ensure that your sales managers know how to coach and mentor their direct reports.

If you’re still feeling too petite to compete, what you’re suffering from are just feelings of inadequacy. Allow five minutes for a pity party, then breathe and take the plunge. Winners come in all sizes.