Ten Steps to Grow Your Business: A Supplier Diversity Executive Divulges the Secrets to Landing Contracts

Article excerpt

DE ASA BROWN OFTEN REMINDS MINORITY entrepreneurs of the old sports adage: Every time you're up to bat you might not get a hit but you have to keep swinging. Brown, a 15-year diversity veteran and director of supplier diversity at Automatic Data Processing (ADP), one of the world's largest business outsourcing solutions providers, believes all business starts with a conversation.


She wrote "Contacts That Lead To Contracts And Checks That Clear!", a list of 10 tips to help entrepreneurs best position their companies to gain business from major corporations. (For more on ADP's supplier diversity procurement efforts, go to www.adp.com/supplierdiversity.)

Brown offers a few select pointers that can develop into business-building opportunities:


Understand the company you are approaching.


Sell the value of your company to the appropriate audiences within the organization you are approaching. (Know that your pitch to procurement will be different from your pitch to the marketing department.)

"As an entrepreneur, you're always selling your products and services through phone conversations, e-mails, networking, referrals, marketing materials, and Websites but it's key to know your target audience. Entrepreneurs try to sell their whole company too quickly to the wrong audience. For example, if you're talking to someone like me that's in a procurement group, understand the key objective of any procurement group--to save the company money. Sell the value of how your company's product and services can help save the company's bottom line."


Understand the organization's "pain points" (or needs) so you can "ease or eliminate" their pain.

"No one likes pain. Entrepreneurs can find out a company's pain points externally through researching via the Internet, news articles, trends within the industry, and government or industry mandates. Internally, you want to have multiple contacts inside the organization because if you're connecting with someone in the IT department, for example, you may find out that a pain point is in technology--a need that you can provide as a service. …