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Landing a corporate account with a Fortune 500 company such as Chevron might be done through a competitive bid process, a presentation to executives or simply a call to your company for service.
But at some point, each method will involve the ultimate gatekeeper, someone with a title to be respected: Executive assistant.
Keeping a corporate account requires a solid relationship with those who place the orders and are responsible for the job being completed without incident. Whether you are working with a Fortune 500 company or a mid-size local company, executive assistants are the front line contacts for the accounts. If you make them unhappy, they will see to it that you are replaced. Don’t underestimate their power merely because they have the word “assistant” in their titles. Executive” counts for much more.
Servicing a major Fortune 500 company such as Chevron requires a relationship instead of simply taking orders. You must understand the needs of the company and have “open and flowing communication,” says Tina Teissere, executive administrative assistant to Bruce Johnson, a vice president of the company, ranked number three on the Forbes list. Teissere is responsible for arranging Johnson’s travels around the globe conducting business for Chevron.
Whether you are working with a Fortune 500 company or a mid-size local company, executive assistants are the front line contacts for the accounts.
Teissere believes that periodic face-to-face lunches or meetings are important to keep issues or problems from escalating. Circumstances that have arisen can be addressed and corrected or procedures changed. Teissere says she places value in the long-term relationships because of the ability to “fill in missing pieces” that might have been overlooked. For example, the relationship shared with my company, The Limousine Scene in Bakersfield, Calif., allows her to quickly forward airline confirmations by email without further communication for the ground transportation portion.
The only question remaining is whether the pickup location will be at the office or Johnson’s home, and she can simply say “home” or “office” in a quick response, since the addresses of both are on record. Despite Chevron’s vast size, business still comes down to individual people, and Chevron strives to develop working relationships with small to medium companies by creating personal relationships with service providers.