How did I get my first “big” client?
When I first started my company, MilitaryOneClick, in 2012, my goal was to work with large corporations supporting our military and veteran families with employment, moving resources, discounts, etc. These companies needed an outlet to share their opportunities with millions of people, and MilitaryOneClick was the solution. After a few months of the site being live, I naively thought that one of these large companies would see our website, call me, tell me how awesome we were, and send us a big check to work with us. Sound familiar? When that didn’t happen, I needed to figure out a new plan to generate revenue quickly.
What was I doing wrong? I was waiting for the paying customer to find us.
What do you do when they don't show up? Go home or go hunting?
I immediately started hunting for the paying customer everywhere I could. Our model was B2B, and I didn’t know anyone at these large corporations. This was also the early days of LinkedIn and social media platforms. One day I saw an article about MetLife receiving the new Tricare Dental Program and how they were trying to educate the military community on its new plan and benefits. At the bottom of the article was a line, “If you have any questions, please contact Sharla ****.” So I did. I had many conversations with Sharla and I was able to secure our first “big” contract with MetLife. The first contract was “small in dollars” but a massive amount in validation.
We formed an incredible relationship and friendship, and MetLife was one of MilitaryOneClick’s best and largest partners until I exited the company in 2017. Fortunately, PBC continues to work with the MetLife Foundation as an incredible sponsor for our programs, thanks to Tim McClain, John Bungert, and Charlie Pettigrew.
So while we all strive to build the best product or provide the best service, paying clients will not fall in our laps. You need to go out and relentlessly knock on doors - all the time. It is exhausting. And for every 100 doors slammed in your face, you get one that opens just enough to get the conversation started. I might be biased, but sales is the toughest job out there. As the founder, you are the chief salesperson - like it or not.
Keep knocking on doors. You never know which one will open. When it does, never let it shut again. Keeping current clients happy must be a priority for your business because renewals are the true measurement of success.
Fortunately, in 2014 we renewed all of our clients; MetLife, USAA, Amazon, LaQuinta Inn and Suites and many more because of keeping the doors open.
Work hard to earn your clients. Work even harder to keep them happy!
Thank you for being a special part of our PBC family.
Keep Growing - Jen