By Emily Suess

The best way to bring your business revenue, growth, and stability is to be a Fortune 500 company. Another way is to do business with one. It can be hard for small businesses to land major corporate clients, but it’s not impossible. Here’s some advice for pitching to the big guys.

1. Know What Makes Your Company Unique

When you do business with big-time clients, it’s not enough to be good at what you do. You must also articulate why you are better than all of the other companies dying to land the same contract. Know your unique selling proposition (USP) and be prepared to articulate it in terms that will resonate with your prospective client.

2. Connect with Someone on the Inside

If you know someone inside the company, you’ll have a big advantage over the competition. Find out what those making the final decision value most. Is it affordability? Is it flexibility? Is it experience? Is it quality? The more you know about the decision process, the better prepared you’ll be.

3. Make Sure It’s a Profitable Venture

It’s easy to get star struck, and lose focus of the bottom line. And it’s true that landing a major corporate client can bring recognition and prestige, but you will still have to pay your bills and pay your employees in the meantime. Crunch the numbers first so you know that the opportunities you plan to pursue will be profitable in the end.

4. Find Out What Debt You Will Have to Incur Up Front

It’s rare that a small business can take on such a major contract without incurring a certain amount of debt. You might need new equipment or more staff to deliver the final product effectively. Talk with a financial professional about your options when taking on additional loans.

5. Work on a Schedule

Each time you make contact with your potential client, ask them to deliver a decision within a specified time frame. Chances are they won’t be able to make a decision by the deadline, but at least you’ll have a reason to stay in touch with them and continue to nurture the lead.

6. Get a Meeting

If you don’t yet have a contact on the inside of the prospective client’s company, there are several ways you can establish a connection: attend key conferences and networking events at every opportunity, use targeted online marketing and advertising to reach out to decision makers, or talk to people in your extended network that can put you in touch.

7. Prepare for Lots of Hard Questions

Chances are you’ll get asked lots of questions about contracts, pricing, operations, and products. Prepare for them to throw anything and everything at you. If, by chance, you’re asked a question you don’t have the answer to, don’t make anything up. Let them know you’ll find the answer and get back to them as soon as possible.

Finally, remember that to land a corporate client takes work. You have to take the leap.