MAY 1990

When a large corporate customer tries to throw its weight around on a purchase, ordering, say, 10 truckloads of goods with 120-day terms, it can send a small company's budgets and cash flow into chaos. Jim Anthony, CEO of Delta Technology International, a software company in Eau Claire, Wis., talks his customers into buying less -- at least for the short term.

When Delta's salespeople make a call on a prospective customer, they recommend that a buyer test five or six copies of its software to get acquainted with the program and then equip one department at a time. By selling amounts that the large company's buyer can personally sign off on, Delta avoids the problems of receiving unsigned purchase orders or having to wait for decisions to be made at committee meetings, which can drag out and even kill deals.

Seven-year-old Delta's $99 menu-system software program, called Direct Access, ranked in the top 20 of corporate titles on a 1989 industry best-seller list, so the strategy appears to work. "And without the accompanying headaches," says Anthony.