If you’ve ever thought getting  big corporate contracts is impossible for your small business, then prepare to get your mind blown today.

I know I did!

Today I introduce you to my friend Randall Dobbins from Business Partner Blueprint who specialises in helping women and minority owned businesses play with the big boys (and I hope more and more big gals). Randall comes from the unique position of being the person who was tasked with finding and negotiating millions of dollars of contracts for one of the largest oil companies in the world. He knows what these big companies look for and saw first hand the common mistakes made by businesses hoping to land big corporate contracts, which meant they never stood a chance.

Now he owns a company that trains and mentors minority owned businesses so they are fully prepared to go after corporate contracts and then retain them for years, if not decades.

We dive into the common mistakes small businesses make and then the 3 core areas they need to prepare before they even consider approaching a corporate buyer. 

And hey, if you’re thinking this is not applicable to you because you’re a service provider like a yoga teacher, massage therapist, physio, business coach, life coach, {insert any type of business here} then you absolutely must listen to today’s podcast. I know my mind has been buzzing with ideas for my VIP clients since interviewing Randall.

Here’s what you’ll discover today:

  • Why corporate contracts have been a “white boys club” for so long and why that is changing right now.
  • The $30 TRILLION dollars worth of corporate contracts just the top 500 companies pay suppliers for… that’s a HUGE opportunity!
  • The incredible range of products and services that corporates need suppliers for.
  • We workshop examples of a massage therapist and a coach and case studies of how people in those exact industries have landed big corporate contracts.
  • The number one thing you MUST be prepared to present if you want any chance of your proposal even being considered. (with examples of exactly how to do this for the case studies we’ve chosen).
  • How to speak the language of money with a corporation.
  • How companies make buying decisions and how partnering with other businesses may make your offer a no-brainer (oooh my mind was buzzing over this one and the simple examples Randall gave)
  • How to demonstrate you can actually service a contract even if your business is quite small.
  • The unexpected answer Randall gave when I asked “What’s one thing listeners can do THIS WEEK to get started?”
  • You can get extra great training on negotiating contracts and more advanced strategies from Randall over at www.corporatecontracts101.com

Plus action steps you can take THIS WEEK to create a  content marketing plan that builds on the strengths of your connection style.

BONUS WORKSHEET

Plus a special podcast bonus for you today. An action guide to download “Corporate Contracts Prep Cheat”.

You can watch the video, listen to the audio, download from the podcast directory, or read the transcript below. Never miss an episode. Click here for all the ways you can subscribe.

Click the image below to download the BONUS worksheet!

Randall’s Bio

Randall Dobbins is the founder of Business Partner Blueprint, the world’s #1 small business accelerator delivering corporate supply chain education and training to women and minority business owners around the world looking to build legacy businesses that give back.

A Special Message From Janet

Thank you so much for being here. I know there are a lot of podcasts you could choose to listen to  and you chose to join me on Romance Your Tribe Radio.

Woohoo!

I’m honoured and  grateful for your support.

If you enjoyed this week’s episode, I’d love for you to take a quick minute to share your thoughts with us and leave an honest review and rating for the show over on iTunes!

Read The Transcript Here

Janet Beckers:                  Hello and welcome everybody. Janet Beckers here and I’m really excited to welcome you to my beautiful friend, Randall Dobbins. Hey Randall!

I’m so excited to have Randall here because we got to spend a bit of time with each other. I bet a year or so ago, when we were both maybe meeting at different events and we just really hit often. It is so lovely to connect again and especially because Randall has a really unique business that helps on so many different levels. We’re gonna dive into that. But now here, if you are interested in getting corporate contracts, if you’re interested in your business, even your business, if it feels really small in being able to get these really lucrative contracts that go for years and years and years in the corporate market, Randall’s your man. So that’s what we’re going to be talking about today.

And also with this, we’re gonna talk even further about this extra twist of the other expertise that Randall brings to this where not only with corporate in getting those contracts, but also what do you do if you’re in a minority that you are yourself, your business is owned by minority. And we’re gonna talk a little bit about that because Randall’s got some.

I’ve learned a lot about this market just before we got on here. So I’m really looking forward to sharing those insights with you and about the contracts. So, really looking forward to today, Randall.

Randall Dobbins:             Likewise, and thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.

Janet Beckers:                  Yeah, it’s going to be fantastic cause I know when we first met, I had about a year where I was taking part in a mastermind group with Ron Novak and I was over in the US for two months out of a whole 12 months. I was over there I think four times and a lot of that was really immersed and we met at the very beginning and again at the very end. And what was really lovely is right at that beginning, I can remember you Randall saying, “you know, I just want to talk to you about what I’m doing”. And we had some really good conversations and insights into who you help. Then a year later, seeing the progress that you had made on what you were doing and your amazing persistence. And now it’s been a year and a half later and seeing that growth. So it’s been, I feel as if I’ve been watching being part of this business evolving. It’s exciting.

Randall Dobbins:             Very much so, and it’s been an amazing journey. I think my journey is similar to a number of people that go after corporate contracting in terms of the perspective of being a business owner. A lot of what you talk about with romance your tribe. You can have a great idea, but wrapping a business around a great idea is a very different proposition.

Janet Beckers:                  Yeah, absolutely. And just really understanding that market well so that you can know what you need to be offering. Yeah. So what we might do here, Randall, is we might spend a little bit of time today we’re going to talk about you and who you help. We had a talk about the concept of minority on businesses and what does that mean and the extra challenges that come there. And then we’re going to spend the bulk of our time, we’re going to dive into some real how to’s on understanding how to get corporate contracts. So we’re going to split it up into two parts for everybody listening. It’s going to be really interesting. I know that I’m going to be learning a lot. So tell us briefly, Randall, who is it that you help and how do you do that?

Randall Dobbins:             Alright. So, corporate contracting — any corporation can have anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000 employees in their — I’m sorry — suppliers in their database in any given time, 30,000 to 60,000 suppliers, people they do business with, they purchase goods and services, they buy some of everything. Pretty much everything you have in your house, they purchase from the washroom to the kitchen. And everything in between. Wow. Then, of course, they purchase items that are specific to their manufacturing. So if you think of, for example, Ford, clearly Ford buys everything that goes into a car or a truck, but Ford buys everything else that you need to put those together. So they buy real estate, they buy furniture, they buy consulting services, they buy health and wellness, consulting and education and various products, insurance products, cleaning supplies. They purchase everything. Historically, what’s happened is… it was a boys club, for the most part, because for the people who had the vision to start those kinds of businesses, they had people who had the vision to figure out how to supply them. And that came at the expense of doing business with folks that didn’t look like them. Women didn’t look like them. And people of color, it didn’t look like them.

Janet Beckers:                  Right. Yeah. Cause that would be doing it through introductions, through their mates network.

Randall Dobbins:             Absolutely. Or, their best buddy from high school or from the golf club. It wasn’t a — there was an effort to keep people out. I mean, in some places that’s exactly what it was, but in other places it was just, “let me go with who I know.”

Janet Beckers:                  Yeah, yeah.

Randall Dobbins:             So, now that we’re at a point that these organizations have grown so large that they accepted, they have a responsibility to create opportunity for others, primarily because they consume so much resources. You can’t be a consumer of resources and not find a way to share the wealth.

Janet Beckers:                  The companies we’re talking about are like these fortune 500 companies, they’re big, big companies that have a big impact on the economy.

Randall Dobbins:             Absolutely. Just the fortune 500 the top 500 companies alone. The global 500. That’s mostly public companies. There are a handful of private companies in there, but just those 500 alone and now, 2017 they had annual sales in excess of $30 trillion with a T.

They put that in perspective. I tell folks, the budget of the US government, which is one of the larger government, it says just over $4 trillion. The US economy that a lot of people are trying to sell into is $19.1 trillion. Yet these 500 companies, not the global 1000 not the global 2000, just the global 500 account for $30 trillion worth of spend every single year.

Janet Beckers:                  Right. Wow! So, I mean, that’s when you’re talking about how now they becoming aware that what we’ve created this white boys club, now we have this responsibility to change this. You can certainly see, I mean, if they’re having a bigger impact in the economy than a government , I can really, they influencing so many people. So yeah, continue on. So how does that then, with the people that you help, how does that affect?

Randall Dobbins:             So, what’s happened is about 30 or more years ago, especially in the US companies realized that they had a greater responsibility to the community. They started with doing community outreach programs where they would start foundations or charitable giving arms and they would help the poor or help out in education, build schools, all those kinds of things.

When the emphasis became “Okay, you all have created an economic powerhouse. So if you really want to help communities, then you need to create sustainable economic opportunities for everyone else to get to that level. And as well as you. So, a lot of them created what’s now referred to as supplier diversity. And supplier diversity is not only are they looking at diversity and inclusion within their employee base, they’re looking at diversity inclusion to their supply base. Here’s where it’s great for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Pretty much in every economy. Most innovation comes from small business owners. We tell the story that you have to look at a big business to kind of take some of the mystery and mystique from it. You have to look at a big business is nothing more than a small business that did a lot of things right. They had better been around, they probably would have been having conversations like we’re having, but even the people that created this, this technology that we’re using, it was just an idea in someone’s head.

Same with Ford Motor Company. Same with the people that create the light bulbs. Same with Elon Musk with Tesla. All of these were just ideas like your community and my community and all of us have just have an idea and we wanted to do something big. And so, a lot of them realized, especially now, as we have gotten into the 21st century and we’re moving forward.

They understand that their customers either direct or indirect are mostly women and minorities. 70% of their customer base is now diverse or non-white males.

Janet Beckers:                  Right!

Randall Dobbins:             And so they’re saying, “hey, if that’s what our customer base looks like, then our employee base probably needs to look the same”. And by extension, the people we buy from probably needs to look that way. And given that small business is really and truly the source of innovation, which is where their next leap and growth and everything is going to come from. We not only are major employers in any economy, but we are the major source of innovation. And so, they’re looking for us. They need us. The issue they have is a lot of us aren’t ready to do business right now because we don’t understand that market. So, that’s been where the problem has come in.

They argue they want to do business with a diverse business owners or minority business owners or women business owners, but we aren’t ready. And it’s like, well you say, you take an example a somebody like Hewlett Packard wants to sell or Dell wants to sell to Ford or a large bank — well, it makes sense. It’s like I can see how I’m going to have a great compatible relationship because they’re big enough to supply all the parts and services that I need. And I’m big enough that I can afford to write a big check for all of that. \.

If you come back and you say “Well, okay, I’m not Hewlett Packard, I have a local IT shop right here in Melbourne or Perth or Austin, Texas where I am and whatnot, how do I get into that because I can’t fulfill all of their global needs?”

Janet Beckers:                  Yeah, that’s absolutely, that would be going through my mind.

Randall Dobbins:             Absolutely! We’ve had this log jam where there’s a lot of great small business owners that didn’t have what corporations refer to as capacity to service the contract. Not only was there an issue with capacity to service the contract, there’s the issue of are they contract-ready? Meaning, do they even know how the big boys go to market and how they buy? And so what we talk about is there’s a three steps that really need to wrap their mind around.

One, you’ve got to have a value proposition or a product of service that a customer says is valuable to them. We’ll drill down into this a little bit more.

Janet Beckers:                  Cause I’m about to school tour. So you mentioned the three and then I’m going to grill you.

Randall Dobbins:             Alright. Number one, we got a product that they say’s valuable to them. It’s kind of like me telling my girlfriend, “Hey, you’re going to really love the way I kiss your hand.” And she goes “No, I like the way you kiss my neck and if you don’t kiss my neck then you didn’t kiss me at all” you’ll be kissing her hand but there are a lot of guys that there’s like “Hey, I’m a great hand kisser. All right, I’m the best hand kisser.”

Janet Beckers:                  That is the most unusual example, I think, I have been given here on this podcast.

Randall Dobbins:             I got more of them, I’ll keep them coming. The second piece is you have to sell the products and services the way they buy them and that one is huge. That one is really big and that one is one of the greatest limiting steps for a lot of us small business owners and diverse business owners. And then the third one is we’ve got to be ready to handle the contract because they’re not giving it to us for our ability to service their needs today. They’re giving us the contract for our ability to service their needs tomorrow.

Janet Beckers:                  Right!

Randall Dobbins:             Okay, and so they’ve gotta be comfortable that if we get our foot in the door and we work with them, that they can take us every place they think they’re going to be. Which is also what makes it an amazing opportunity.

Janet Beckers:                  Yeah. Cause I mean, if you can land one of these contracts, if they’re thinking about for tomorrow they’re thinking of you long term. You might be investing a bit of time up front, but this could be something that’s going to be providing revenue into your business for decades.

Randall Dobbins:             Absolutely! We see in some cases, you take the McDonald’s company, and I don’t care what country you’re in, they have a company called Martin Brower. You can go to the Martin Brower website. They refer to themselves as the logistics company for McDonald’s. Then, you might say, “What does that mean?” Okay.

First and foremost, those two companies started on a handshake for, at this point, over 60 years now they’ve been together. Martin Brower, when they was talking about logistics, Martin Brower moves the beef from the Australian farmers to wherever in the world. McDonald’s needs beef, they handle all the warehousing. And so any place that McDonald’s needs a warehouse for all their other goods and services, Martin Brower has responsibility for making sure that everything that goes into a McDonald’s store, gets there at the time they need it without having too much inventory or having too little inventory. They do all the math that goes on in between to make sure that whether you drive in after a huge soccer match or a rugby match or you drive in, in the middle of the day where nobody’s doing anything, that you can get your Big Mac and fries.

Janet Beckers:                  Yeah , because I’m going to get all of it we’re out. We’re out of that today. Do you want to know what the daily specialties instead?

Randall Dobbins:             Alright. But I mean, it’s an amazing concept where you say there’s a that kind of relationship, like you say, that has extended for decades. For the suppliers that have been with them for over a hundred years. You know, other companies I’ve been around for awhile, it’s like “Yes, a Hewlett Packard in Disney. “When Walt Disney put Disney together, he and Hewlett Packard have had an arrangement that is still standing to this day.

Janet Beckers:                  Wow. So that’s, I mean, that’s the potential that you can have that these long-term relationships. So, if we go back now, because if we think about these three things that they’re going to be making their decisions on. So if we, if I give you an example of some typical people who may be listening to this podcast, can we now look at what do you have to know in place so that you can maximize your chances of understanding how that works? Will that work? Right?

Randall Dobbins:             Absolutely.

Janet Beckers:                  Well, a lot of the people who I know are listening here, they are the experts at what they do. So they are maybe a coach or consultant or service provider. So, an example of somebody going into corporate might be somebody who can go in and for all of their stuff they can be starting to run, say health and yoga programs for the staff.

Or they might be somebody that does some kind of training that they can be using for team building or for corporate training. Or they may, they may also be creating some sort of products as well, but a lot of these people may, it’s their expertise that they may be packaging together to be able to help a larger group of people rather than one on one. So, if we take us that sort of person that would be thinking “Wow, like this is huge potential. Like I’m so red. I really, this is a great, you know, I wanna be able to see how do I go into the corporate market?” — What’s some of the things that they need to learn or to have in place to be able to be able to do that with confidence?

Randall Dobbins:             So, every group you mentioned, corporations buy those services. I have a friend that actually has a massage business and she actually goes in, she’s a massage therapist and she actually goes into a large oil company, the world’s second largest oil company. She goes into their headquarters in The Woodlands, Texas, and provides massages onsite for their employees. So, you know, I tell folks, and I want to be clear with everyone on this, because we get a number of people that like beauticians as stylists and other kinds of things. You have to differentiate between what it is the company buys versus what the company employees buy. Okay. And so then, you know, which specific one of those are your customers. But let’s be really precise about the question you just asked. The issue is not will the company buy it? The issue is, is there a compelling business case? Why, if it’s something they hadn’t done they need to do.

Now, you mentioned the coaching. Let’s take coaching and wellness. You pretty much pick any economy and there’s a potential for a loss of productivity or potential burnout of employees. I really don’t care what the country is, especially in the fortune 500 as competitive as it is. So, a lot these companies now are looking for proven programs where they can make their employees more productive where they can reduce the stress, where they can make the work-personal life balance a lot more. There’s a lot of work for the people in the coaching space right now that corporations go “If you can demonstrate to me that it is a value to my company and I can see how it’s going to pay for itself, then I’ll give it a try”.

I absolutely will, but you’ve got to make that case for me. So, where we fall down is we don’t, we oftentimes don’t know how to make that case. It’s like if you have someone that has like a nutrition program, because I came across a lady who is a personal chef for a leadership team, a corporate leadership team. They are committed to healthier eating. That’s who she serves is what we call it, the C-suite, the senior executive and she provides — she has a nutrition plan that helps them to stay fit, mentally agile and overall healthier.

So, what they had to do though was she had to talk through why is that important to them and what does that mean for their business, for them to be nutritionally sound. She was able to talk to them about that, what that means, how that helps them to be more productive and she was able to get in and succeed.

But it was all about the ability to communicate why this is important. And she did it in a way where she could explain to them the cost of not doing it. So, you started looking at if you don’t do it, what is the cost of a sick day? Just the pill is on you. Just a little bit more, just little deeper into this. Just say hypothetically, you can just pick some average numbers. You have an employee that costs 100,000 a year. You can take their salary, their salary could be $60,000 USD but then you throw in benefits and overhead and everything else, their cost of the company is $100,000. And then you can divide that by a 280 days in the work you’re excluding weekends and holidays, all right? or an hours, 2000, 80 hours, And you start saying, okay, if I divide 2080 hours into $100,000, I know what that employee is costing per hour.

Now, if they’re off work for three days, three, eight hour days, 24 hours, I can now quantify that cost for that person being out. If they are worried about their children because we’ve got people running crazy with guns and this, that and the other and whatnot and if I’ve got a solution that actually helps folks be more protected, if I’ve got a solution that helps people to be more aware and other kinds of things, then I can now quantify the impact of that to the organization. If I know that I’ve got a planner or I’ve got a team building technique or a process that allows them to be more productive, if I say in a 2080 hour work year, what if I can get you an additional 208 hours, 10% of productivity?

I’m beginning to talk to them. And so they can then understand this is why we need to do this. This is how much money is on the table, this is how much productivity we’re losing, this is how much time that we get to get back into the company. This is how much more effective we’re going gonna be with regard to a whole host of things. So that’s the way you kind of have to think through how do you create a business case for change?

Janet Beckers:                  Oh, I love it. That is absolutely brilliant, Randall. And you know what that’s the thing where I’ve noticed other people, they will struggle with that because they will go “you know, we all might be able to go, okay, well I can, I can understand the benefits of being healthier and all of those sorts of stuff.” But, businesses, they’re speaking the language of money. They need to know what are you going to save them or you want to make them. I love that you have given such a really good example. I love how you use the term, it’s purely young and more. I just love that visual is because that’s a lot that, that is perfect because that’s a really great way to take something that you may not think, you know, you can say it’s a definite cost. It’s going to add money to the company, but you’ve just shown how to relate that.

Perfect. That’s a great one to do. So, yeah, that’s my challenge. If you’re listening to this and you’ve got even one of these examples that we’ve been talking about is my challenge to you is how can you break down exactly what Randall said there and apply it to what you do. And if you do, let us know. I’d be really excited to hear how you’ve done that. So, I’ll do the next one then. Say, people don’t know how to actually position this. How do they actually present it to the corporate? So what’s the next things that we need to know?

Randall Dobbins:             The next issue, which is the next gap, is people oftentimes don’t understand how corporations go to market. And my example on this one is imagine you’re going in to buy a new car. You’ve done all your research, you’ve done all your homework. You know exactly what you want. You know the make. You know the model. You know all the features you want. You know the color. You know whether you need a mini van, a convertible or a two-seater or a four-door sedan, an SUV. You know, everything you need.

You go to the new car dealer and you see this really attractive salesperson coming your way, all eager and excited cause they, they feel like they’re going to close the sale. And imagine, you know, you’ve done all this homework, you’re ready. You’re not stepping onto the line until you know you’re ready to buy. Okay? And so imagine the salesperson comes up to you and says “Hey, boy, do I have a deal on a nice new set of tires”

Janet Beckers:                  Right!

Randall Dobbins:             So, I have this thing that goes, never sell tires to a new car buyer.

Janet Beckers:                  Love it. That’s a good one. I love it.

Randall Dobbins:             This happened to me when I was actually a buyer. I was a buyer for a large, for the world’s largest oil company at that time. I had responsibility to find women and minority business owners or diverse business owners to purchase from. And they would often approach me only selling a part of the solution. So the guy selling the tires is like “What? Yeah, yeah, my new car has tires, but I need, you know, everything else that goes with those tires. If I only needed tires, I wouldn’t be here at the new car lot.”

And so, a lot of us never do the homework to find out how we, how they purchase, what we sell. So, we oftentimes walk in with a part of the solution. And the problem that creates is, imagine that you’re not going to just buy parts for your car —for a new car. You’re not going to buy them individually. The reason it’s attractive is because it’s a single solution. It’s pre-assembled, it’s ready to go, it’s built, it’s done. Okay. So, what you want is someone to sell it to you the way you want to use it right now.

A lot of us go “well, okay, I have a yoga business. I have a consulting business that focuses on executive management productivity. I have a retreat business that helps out with stress reduction. I have a widget business that manufacturers this specific part of a solution, but I don’t have the whole solution. And so now what I’m asking the customer to do is they have what’s called tightly integrated supply chain. And I’m telling them to break their supply chain up so that they can do business with me. And it’s like “No, if you can sell me the whole thing, then come on in, primarily because I’m buying the whole thing from somebody right now”.

Janet Beckers:                  But I’m having to deal with a few different people. Like you can do it in one guy.

Randall Dobbins:             There you go, there you go.

Janet Beckers:                  And it’s brilliant. I’m just thinking of some clients that I have helped to actually — cause the examples that I’ve given have been people who I’ve worked with, and have been going into companies that has numerous premises.

One of the things we looked at with — we’ve got to do that research because if we can make it really easy for them to just buy it and we can automatically open it across every single location that they have — cause you can do that is with cloud based things is that’s gonna make it really, really easy to sell. And that’s what works. So, I love that you said that.

Randall Dobbins:             Absolutely! In this case, a lot of us struggle with “how do I find out how they buy things while you go to a networking event where they are one of their conferences or at the types of things” ask them, all right, how do you buy such and such an end? It’s one of those things where you see like in the staffing companies, people that pervert supply, people for accounting or lawyers or administrative staff or bookkeepers or whatnot. You know, a lot of them have gotten to the point where they don’t want 30, 40, 50, or a thousand different contracts.

So, what they’d go into as they move to what they call master agreements or master suppliers where one supplier provides all those different skill sets, their contract is with one person. Okay. So now you get into the issue of whether or not are you selling against this person, you’re selling one single activity in an umbrella of activities. You’re now approaching the corporation saying “Hey, I want you to do business with me.” And they say, “Well, okay, I know you’re strong in this one area, but what about these other 15 areas that we need”

Janet Beckers:                  Right! so that’s a good potential to be that sort of masters of umbrella.

Randall Dobbins:             Absolutely. Absolutely.

Janet Beckers:                  That’s giving me some thoughts there as well. That’s — yeah, that’s really, that’s good. So, we’ve looked at really how do you actually pitch from the way that they make the decisions and being able to approach them. So is there one area, any other area that people need to know before they are prepared, you know, can actually go out and get these geeks?

Randall Dobbins:             So, then, you have the third piece that we talked about and we’ll talk about this. And before we’re going to talk about the one thing that they absolutely must do, they have to be ready to get a contract. You can imagine this, it’s like, “Okay, there’s an issue of what it is you’re going to offer versus what it is that’s going to be required.”

So, I might not approach a large corporation saying that I can offer consulting services for their global operation. I might have a fantastic — I might do like assessments, I might use any Anagram or any of whatnot, but I’ve got a unique thing that talks about how you put teams together, understanding their various personality traits. Now, physically, I can’t be at 30 or 40 or 50 or 100 locations across the world in the same time.

And this is not something I can do virtually. I really need to do it in person if I’m really going to be an end developed the kinship and the trust that I need. Okay. Where we’ve been at a disadvantage is that we’ve said that’s what the game we want to step into, but we’re not ready to handle it. And when we talk to the corporations and they say “Well, hey, okay, your company is a $100,000 USD, $200,000 USD, $500,000 USD, you’re replacing somebody who has a $1 million, $5 million, $10 million, $20 million business, how are you going to serve us all of these locations? Now, there’s some art in how you answer that question, but the inability to answer the question immediately tells the buyer “I’m not ready.” The example that I tell folks that because I really wanted them to wrap their minds around and it’s a fixable problem.

But you know, it’s like you’re stepping into a game where we’re talking about $50,000 a year for three year contracts or $150,000 over three years, $500,000, $5 million, $15 million, $50 million, $500 million, $5 billion. These are kind of the size contracts that we’re talking about that they do everyday. When I’m batting I they’d rather do $100,000 contract than a $10,000 contract because it takes the same amount of work to write it as well as a million-dollar contract. They might have worked at the bigger everything else, so you may as well go for the bigger one. So, the issue that I make to people, it’s like, okay look, you know, what would you do if a major corporations says “hey, I need you on the other side of the world for a meeting, Monday, and you look at business class airfare and it’s going to be $15,000 USD or $25,000 USD just to get there and back. It’s like, if that scares you, that must may not be a game that you’re ready to play.

However, if you say, I understand that that’s what’s going to happen then now I know how to start working my banking relationships. I know how to start understanding what financing I need to have in place. I can now start understanding the partners that I need to work with so that maybe I need to have some type of reciprocal relationship in another part of the world where I can get the work done with somebody that I trust. Kind of like what you talk about working collaboratively and being able to do it. And now, I’ve created capacity to service a large contract because I understand that’s what’s going to be required.

Janet Beckers:                  Oh, I love it. I was wondering how you’re going to do that cause I thought, okay, does it mean that you have to really expand your business? But I love how you’ve just said there and all that. You know what? It’s knowing it and being prepared.

Randall Dobbins:             Yes.

Janet Beckers:                  …creating those relationships

Randall Dobbins:             and, and you know what the thing they that’s really is needed at that particular step is the belief, the belief in yourself and the model that “You know what? I can make this work.” So, it is worth me having those relationships with my bank, with the partnerships and going into them going “you know what? I’m, we’re preparing for these big contracts” rather than “okay, I’m going to try, this may not work.” So don’t really feel too secure about trying to get into a partnership with me cause it’s probably gonna stuff up.

Janet Beckers:                  But you know, “hey, I’d give it a go.” Like there’s a very different in a head game, isn’t it? When you’re going, you know, I’m committing or I’m not committing, I’m not just kind of going to dabble into this.

Randall Dobbins:             Correct. This is not an area in which you dabble. It is not a “dabbleable” task. You’re either in it or you’re not. What I tell all of my clients is you have one of two choices. You can go with old corporate business and you can make sure no one customer is larger than a 25% or 40% of your revenue string because you people have gotten happy with one customer only to see as we see in the newspaper, that company or their end or the industry have an issue. I mean right now with the opioids thing, I wouldn’t want to be in the pharmaceutical business.

Janet Beckers:                  Right. Okay.

Randall Dobbins:             Let’s see. All right. There’s a reckoning coming. So you don’t want one customer to be more than 20% or 40% of your business. And by the way, you can have multiple fortune 500 customers or you might say, I’ll only want fortune 500 to be some 20 or 40% of my business. I may only want corporate to be some part of, because as you and I were talking about previously, these are contracts that typically though 3-5 years and then they renew so they can go for 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, 40 years. If you know what you’re doing, you know how to service them, you know how to keep the client happy with regard to the results they’re getting from you. Benchmark against all your competitors. If your results continue to be better year over year, which you know, as you start it with, a lot of us are experts in our fields.

Randall Dobbins:             So in our case, being experts in our field means we’re on top of our industry and we know how to keep continuing to deliver value better than the competitors. With that mindset, we can have contracts, in a reasonably stable environment for a long time to come. It’s not by accident that the big consulting firms like Deloitte and Pricewaterhouse Coopers and all those people are still in business all these years later. I mean, a lot of them have had a lot of the same contracts since the beginning because they know how to continue to add value

Janet Beckers:                  You know what? that is actually a really nice thing for us to start to wrap up on is, you know what? And this is the same whether you’re going to be going for corporate and getting those continual contracts or whether you’re just going business to consumer or business to smaller business is it’s one thing to get the contract to be prepared for it. The other one is, you know what? You got to aim for excellence because not only does that give your clients the results that they need, it also means that that’s how your business keeps on growing. So aim for excellence is if you do that, that’s where you keep on getting that repeat business.

Randall Dobbins:             Absolutely!

Janet Beckers:                  Look, you’ve really got my mind buzzing here. I’m thinking about different clients that I’ve got. And you know, different ways that we can be putting, really expanding into these markets. Very exciting! What would be like the last thing or actions that people could take this week, Randall? If what we’ve been talking about here that their mind is also buzzing and they’re thinking, “you know what, I’m going to go for here.” Like, what actions that people could take this week that’s going to get them started?

Randall Dobbins:             Okay. So, I’m going to do this briefly. I want people to make sure that they avoid a huge mistake that folks make going into this market. The goal becomes just to get in and they assume that whatever that opportunity is, that’s more important than anything else. And I’m gonna tell you right now, it’s not.

The most important thing is to understand what is your core business. When I talk about core, what I’m specifically saying is what is it that you do better than your competitors? It may not be what you went into business to do. You may find that you went into business to provide a product or provide a service. But what your customer tells you about is the thing that you are absolutely the best at. And they’ll pay a fortune for it is your project management

Janet Beckers:                  Right! Okay.

Randall Dobbins:             The reason I say that is because you look at like a company like FedEx and you assume that FedEx is their core business is the package delivery is like no, their core business is actually the tracking.

Janet Beckers:                  Right? Yeah.

Randall Dobbins:             You look at McDonald’s and you might say McDonald’s core business, the burgers is like, no, their core business is real estate. You look at ATNT and you might say, Hey, their core business is wireless. And it’s like, no, their core business is wires — all those wires that they’ve streamed underneath the ocean. And their ability to leverage that investment that they put in wires, that’s their core business. When they purchase Time Warner and AOL and everything else, they could put more traffic through existing wires. That’s their core business.

So what you want to focus on is the one thing that I want you to do this week is to really zero in on what is it that you do better than your competitors and your customers recognize it as your expertise. Now the reason that’s important is as you begin to partner with other companies to build out your ability to a.) create a solution and b.) to serve as a large contract. You want to know what you do well so that you don’t give it away.And, not only do you not give it away, but what you do well, because you do it well, it should be the easiest thing for you to scale, okay?

Your ability to scale is what’s going to help you to manage large contracts. The problem is people scale this way and they become best at nothing. When they scale horizontally, they’re stretched too thin. They’re doing a lot of things. They’re not making money on these different things, but they say, “Hey, I have to do this because the customer asked me to do this.” They’re like, “No, this is not what you’re good at.” So stick with what you’re good at and then develop partnerships for people who are good at the other things that you don’t do or aren’t good at. And then, you all come together to work together for your solution and that allows you to compete against the big boys. And the reason this is important right now is a lot of big corporations, we see it, we just don’t know the thinking around why it happens.

They are shedding what they call non-core business units. They’re getting back to their core business because they’re not profitable doing stuff that they are good at. So focus on your core this week. What is it? What is it that you do do well and that you’re better at. And then secondly, understand what is the actual value of it. What is the actual savings?

You can even ask your customers, “Hey, you said, look, we have a great customer service organization. You like that better than our ability to come in and and sell you the product. What does that mean to your business?” And someone said, “Oh wow, that saves us four hours of research every time we call you. That saves us from having to dispatch a team of people out to do some. That saves us internally a whole host of rework.” What they just told you is here’s the value of what you do well to their business. They just wrote your sales pitch.

Janet Beckers:                  I love it. And you know what? If you don’t know the answer to that, you’ve just given it, Randall. Don’t talk your customers. If you’re not really clear on exactly what that thing is, that may not be, this is what I started the business for, but it’s “Hey, that’s what we’re good at.” Talk to your clients. That is really good advice. If you can do that this week, my mind is thinking, my mind is thinking so much on this, Randall!

Randall Dobbins:             Be open to what they tell you because we oftentimes tie our ego to “this is what I do” and it’s like “yes, this is what you do but that’s really not what people value.” What people value is there something in the way that you go about doing it that’s more important to them than what you actually do. So, you have to be open to that input.

Janet Beckers:                  Love it. That is brilliant. That is really, really good advice to end on. So we’ve just covered so many things here. So it’s a bit of a recap here. Everybody that’s listening is if what Randall’s been talking about with venturing into corporate contracts is take that time to really look at, what is it that, what is the value that you’re adding? So, how do you know that you can go and talk to them and show them the value. So Randall talks is really good advice. They’re peeling back that onion on actually showing them the numbers and then also looking at how do they buy things so that you’re actually selling the car rather than the tires. You’ve got really good analogies and then to be able to make sure that you can actually deliver. So, what do you need to have in place? And I love your ideas of actually looking at partnerships to be able to make sure that you can deliver. Doing those things there is just really valuable work. And I love how systematic you’ve been about that, Randall. Now with people, if they want to know more, how can they get into Randall’s world and where’s a good place for people to start

Randall Dobbins:             Right now? They can actually go to one of my websites, corporatecontracts101.com. We’ve got some other things going on right now, in the near future, that they can take advantage of for free. I think they’re going to be pleased. We’re gonna walk through the simple things it takes to actually get into this game. We’re going to go into a little bit more depth around the three things that I just mentioned to you around what specifically do you need to know? We get into talking about negotiating because a lot of people fear negotiating with the big boys and it’s like there’s no reason to fear it at all. But you can go, you can go take a look at that site, you’ll see what we’re talking about and we’ve got some dates coming along down the road where there’s live training available as well as some online events and other kinds of things. So, corporatecontracts101.com, that’s the place to go.

Janet Beckers:                  That is brilliant. And as you can tell, Randall’s got a very beautiful systematic way of talking about it in a very clear way. And I just like to hear you laugh, actually. My, God! I can’t hear your laugh without me wanting to get a good laugh as well. And in my things, when I work with any partner or with clients that I’m working closely with is, I bet a good laugh. That must be why we became this straight on.

Randall Dobbins:             I think so, great energy!

Janet Beckers:                  Well thank you so much for your time, Randall. If you’ve got some value from today listening — and hey, how did you not? One of the best things that you can do for Randall and I is to let us know. Let us know what we’re your area has and what action have you taken.

So, go over and stalk Randall. Go over to corporatecontracts101.com. Go and stalk him on social media and let him know what did you get from today. Like that is incredibly valuable and I would love that too. So if you’re listening to this on iTunes, I would really appreciate if you would leave a comment and tell people what did you get from today’s episode. That will help other people to be able to find this as well. And it’s just incredibly rewarding for us to be able to hear, you know, because we share these things cause we want people to actually implement.

So, thank you so much for your time, Randall. Thank you very much everybody for listening and I am really looking forward to hearing what kind of action that you take. So, go out there and go get on folks and change the world. Bye.

Randall Dobbins:             Take care. Thanks everyone!

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