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A small post about big clients: Bag the Elephant

Posted on June 29, 2007 by Sarah Eaton.

Every small company wants that one big customer that will propel business forward and help it grow.  "Bag the Elephant!" by Steve Kaplan professes to have the formula for landing big accounts.  We take a look at the Executive Book Summary this week:

Jeff Sanchez

Kaplan’s Bag the Elephant! is an informative how-to for a company to snag the large, money-machine client. The summary is draped with lists and bullet points to go through in the sales process of obtaining and handling the ‘Elephant.’

Some include the “Six Keys to Thinking Like an Elephant” such as “priority one” (making the client feel like the center of your world) and “partners” (the relationship is a two-way street: you both need each other). Other lists include ‘What to Know About Elephants’ and ‘Knocking on Doors’ (how to actually land the client).

The summary is easily skimmable and insightful…but where are the real-life examples and case studies? There was one tax company example in the beginning and that was about it. We all like something that resonates with us and creates a surge of inspiration. All of the lists can be a bit monotonous.

Kathryn Regina

I’m not sure if the original book or the summary is to blame, but the ideas in this summary are oversimplified and the writing is clumsy. Take the phrase “elephants…are equipped with long memories” for example. Is “equipped” really the right word?

Maybe most people don’t read business books for the language, but the concepts are just as lacking. The author posits that two principles for keeping your Elephant are “if you blow it, it’s over,” and “lavish plenty of attention on your Elephant.”

But what if you do make a mistake? And how can you give all of your attention to your Elephant while still maintaining good relationships with your smaller clients? The real challenges of a small business working to win big customers are not addressed in this summary.

Emily DeMarco

This week’s summary is about how small companies can land a big client.  For a lowly college student like myself, more sports-savvy than business guru, I tend to have sympathy for the underdog. After reading the “Bag the Elephant!” summary, I began to root for the small company in the same way I rooted for George Mason all the way to the Final Four.

The summary offers great insight to break down the defensive line of the “big guys.”  Ideas like “The Elephant Really Does Need You” (a.k.a. powerhouse football teams need a few little guys on their undefeated schedules) or “Know the Company’s Lingo and Quirks” (a.k.a. memorize their playbook) will really get you into the fight.

To be a champion, it’s all about playing the game and knowing the opponents weaknesses.  Once you’ve found your aerial attack, throw the ball every play. 

Vanessa Day

For small businesses, it is important to land the big jobs. “Bag the Elephant,” introduces ideas that help the little guys find the “elephants” that fit their network, build strong relationships, and ultimately better their company.

The most important point made is that in order to bring in the big companies, you have to start thinking like one. There are six steps you should take to start thinking like an elephant, including making your customers feel special, being flexible with extra work, and making work fun. The latter is key because not only is having fun good for the people in the business, but also it makes your company pleasant for others to work with.  I found that these were the most helpful tips for small, up-and-coming businesses trying to “bag” the big clients.

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June 29, 2007 in Brand enhancement, Building Customer Intuition, Corporate newsletter, Educating Clients, email tracking, Freelance newsletter, how to publish and promote online, how to write a newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Newsletter complete outsourcing, newsletter layout, Newsletter ROI, newsletter solutions, outsource magazine, prospect newsletter, sample newsletter, self publish, Thought leadership newsletter, writing magazine | Permalink


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