A corporate client can generate thousands of dollars in income over the long term. In addition to creating a new revenue stream, you’ll increase awareness about your business and generate referrals. According to the Washington Post, small businesses experience an average revenue increase of more than 260 percent after adding their first corporate client.
In this article, we’ll review some important do’s and don’ts when pitching a large company. We’ll also share some time-saving tips and templates to make creating a corporate proposal as easy as possible.
Start with a list of 4-6 target companies – Conduct online research to identify the largest employers in your area, then narrow your list to companies in close proximity to your store.
Also include businesses where you have a personal connection. LinkedIn can be a great way to identify corporate contacts. Here are a few ways to find people you know on LinkedIn.
A “warm” lead is better than a cold call. If you know someone who works at a large company, ask them the best person to contact. Most corporate pitches go to the Human Resources department, but you’re just as likely to succeed by reaching out to a department manager or supervisor.
Do some online research – Google the companies on your shortlist. Read recent press releases and news stories for potential “ins.” Consider what the company’s goals might be, future concerns, and how your training offers a solution. Here are a few reasons a business may need to hire a CPR and first aid instructor:
-Changes to local or federal regulations
-A significant number of new hires
-Opening a new location
-As part of a Corporate Emergency Response Plan
Gather testimonials – Let customers do the selling for you. If you don’t already have testimonials, contact past customers and ask for a quote. If you don’t have a lot of EFR experience, ask your dive students to write something about you or your instructors’ teaching ability. Include one or two testimonials in your letter, and add as many as possible to your website.
Use our proposal templates – Download a sample proposal letter (Word Doc) from the EFR Pros Site or preview it here as a PDF. You might also enclose this flyer summarizing the benefits of the first aid and CPR training (PDF) you offer, or 7 Steps to Setting up a Comprehensive AED Program (PDF).
Answer the question, “Why Choose Us” – In the letter, mention at least one thing that’s special about your business. Corporations may be looking to support minority, veteran or female-owned businesses. Maybe you’re a graduate of the local university, or you support a local non-profit. Include something in your letter to differentiate your business from “average” CPR and first aid course providers.
Customize each proposal letter – Writing the same letter to each company is a huge DON’T. Tailor each letter to a specific company’s needs based on your online research. Focus on problems and solutions, anticipate and overcome objections
- Position Emergency First Response© as a solution to potential problems. For example:Keeping track of government regulations is a challenge. At Emergency First Response, we specialize in providing CPR, AED and first aid training to meet workplace requirements for companies just like yours.
- Anticipate potential objections such lost productivity:Emergency First Response training is designed to minimize the amount of time in the classroom and away from the job. Student materials are designed with an independent-study component which develops foundation information and allows the instructor to focus time on skill practice rather than lecture time. This reduces classroom time while increasing skill retention. This model is proven to inspire student confidence provide care when a medical emergency arises.
- …or a lack of familiarity with EFR:Emergency First Response courses include state-of-the-art educational material designed to provide scheduling flexibility. Our first aid, CPR and AED courses meet or exceed standards set by ILCOR, OSHA, and the US Coast Guard to name a few. I’d be happy to send you a sample of our student materials for you to review.
Less is more – Assume the potential customer won’t read your letter in its entirety. Make sure your key points stand out by:
- Adding bullet points
- Putting important words or sentences in bold
- Using sub-headers to break up long paragraphs
Ask someone proof your letter or email before sending – After rewriting a document multiple times it can be easy to leave out a key detail like your contact info, or overlook small typos.
Be persistent (but not annoying)
Big companies move slowly. Landing a contract can be a year-long project, especially if the company hasn’t allocated funds for CPR training in this year’s budget.
After a week or two, call or send a follow-up postcard. If, after two or three follow-ups you haven’t received a response, try something memorable. Send a workplace safety-related tchotchke such as an EFR barrier keychain (product no. 80079), or phone to let them know about a “limited time offer.”
Submitting a Request for Proposal (RFP)
Large companies and government agencies may put their CPR and first aid training needs up for bid. If this happens, they will direct you to a request for proposal (RFP), which is basically a proposal template. Review this information from the EFR Pros Site regarding developing a winning bid for RFPs.
Questions? We’re here to help
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just start with step one. Make a list of companies in your area, and find out where you already have a contact. The EFR marketing toolbox has numerous customizable postcard and flyer options including refresher training reminders and other collateral, and don’t forget your PADI regional team is here to help.