Whale Hunters Practice #23: Host the Big Show

Many of our clients have never invited their prospective whale customers to their place of business for a presentation.  Yet for those who do, they close almost 100% of the business represented by prospects who pay them a site visit.  We call it “The Big Show.”

Like all whale hunters activity, this one needs to be scrupulously planned and managed, from the moment the whale team arrives in your city to the moment they get back in their car or on the plane.

To plan The Big Show, you need an event script that is re-usable.  Specific details may change depending upon your prospect, but the overall process can be repeated.  Schedule the timing of all your preparations, not only the event itself.  Everyone who has a job to do, from ordering muffins to watering plants and straightening work areas, needs to know when their responsibilities must be completed.

The Big Show is a great way to get your entire employee group excited about new business development.  It’s a method to get your workplace refreshed and your staff renewed.  Everyone will look around with fresh eyes at things that are cluttered, dusty, or old.

Many of your staff members should have a speaking role with the prospects.  On a plant tour or office tour, someone in the work area should greet the visitors and explain his/her role.  Preparing for that assignment adds credibility to their positions and capability to their contributions.

When you host a flawless Big Show, you demonstrate your ability to bring a new client on board seamlessly and collaboratively and you appear to be more in control and more process-oriented than perhaps you are!  And each time you do it, you become more in control.

We had a client with a call center business, a business that traditionally operates behind the scenes rather than in public.  Even when they moved into attractive new office space, it had not occurred to them that prospective customers would want to see the call center or meet their staff.  They were worried about how their staff would prepare and how they could really pull it off.  A call center is a rah-rah place, noisy, very casual dress code–under the radar.  But at our urging they decided to try a Big Show.  They bought logo shirts for all the employees, spruced up the conference room, scheduled a walk-around plus interviews with key Subject Matter Experts, hired a limo for airport transportation, booked their best downtown club for dinner, and in general went all out.

The first try was so successful that they built The Big Show into their sales process for all whale accounts.  Their success rate in closing big accounts skyrocketed, employee retention improved, and the accounts got bigger and more prestigious.

Have you ever hosted The Big Show?  How did it work for you?

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