How to appear bigger than you are: Tips for small businesses
29 Mar 2023 - Frans Vanhaelewijck
As a small business owner, it can be challenging to attract and retain big clients. You want to avoid any concerns from the customer team you are dealing with about your company’s ability to deliver the products and services they need.
One of the strategies that can help is to present your company as larger than it actually is. This can help build credibility and trust with potential clients and give the impression that your business is capable of handling larger projects. However, it’s important to remain transparent and truthful in all your dealings.
Here are some tips on how to appear bigger than you are:
Use “we” instead of “I”
Using “we” when referring to your team or company can make it seem like you have a bigger team. For example, instead of saying “I will get back to you”, say “we will get back to you.” This implies that you have a team behind you, even if it’s just a few people.
Use of professional language
Using professional language in your communications can give the impression that your company is established and reputable. Make sure you know typical contract terminology like Indemnification, Escrow agreements, MSA, SLA, Change of control clauses and so on.
Try to imitate big companies
Incorporate some practices used by larger companies you work with:
- Put a complicated versioning scheme, template contract date and impressive looking contract number in the footer of your legal documents (something big companies need to do to version control their contracts). This is not really required, but it can help create the impression of a larger company.
- Use strategic language like for example, instead of saying “I need to check with my manager”, say “I need to check with my team.” This implies that you have a team of people working with you.
- Talk about the departments in your company “I need to check that with the Engineering Manager”, “This is something I will have to sell to our support people”, and my favorite “Let me get back to you when I talked to our legal team. They are quite busy and I can only talk to them early next week.”
- Even if you only have one (big) customer, constantly refer to other customers (without mentioning names). Let’s consider the example when your customer wants an urgent feature that is on your roadmap but which is not yet planned. Inform your customer you need to talk to the project managers of the other customers to make sure you will not have any timing conflicts.
Be professional in your dealings
Being professional in all your dealings can help you build credibility and trust with potential clients. Always be transparent and truthful in your communications, and be willing to go the extra mile to provide excellent service.
Appearing bigger than you are can help small businesses attract and retain larger clients. But make sure to provide high-quality service and meet agreed-upon deadlines. Be willing to do whatever it takes to help your customer reach their objectives.