Extracting Blood from a Stone

If you are courting a major player and it's taking longer than you can afford for them to commit themselves, here are two ways of breaking the impasse. Offer for a modest yet useful fee to assess their situation professionally and write proposals. This breaks the ice. You are no longer a stranger. You are a supplier; not the most important one, yet still a supplier. Next you offer to prepare a consultancy document on the implications and implementation of your software (large firms commission consultancy documents all the time, so you are not asking for anything unreasonable).

These reports don't have to be long or expensive but at least they are paying for your expertise and time. Experience shows that the sooner you start working on a paid basis the sooner your software will be adopted. It's in their best interests that they start paying for something more tangible than a stack of paper.

Another approach is to buddy up with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or larger software/systems integrator firm who has a track record in this field. It pays to have one ready up your sleeve. This often gives larger firms the reassurance they crave. It makes particular sense to use this approach when the end product can be sold to several of the OEM's customers.

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