Alot of it is being persistent with bids. On days i do commercial work, i try and drop 100 bids/estimates.
My first big account was party city- it might be called something else in other states- used to be paper warehouse here in mn. I dropped a bid with the manager and had a good talk with him, then a week later the gm called me. She had just recieved a promotion to the position within the last 6 months and had been going over the stores locations window leaning and relized it was a mess. somne locations were getting done on a monthly basis, some quarterly, some not at all.
I explained to her that i could make her life alot easier. in dealing with just one company, her stores would know what day of the week we would be there, how frequently (monthly), and what we would be doing every time( exterior 1 month, interior/exterior then next… and so on), but best of all, her accounting people would not have to deal with 21 different companies invoices, just one from us at the end of each month. The convience of the whole thing was the dealbreaker for her. It did take about 2-3 months of phone calls and e mails(as corporate jobs usually do) but we ended up landing all 21 stores on a monthly basis.
I now use this formula for all my big or corporate account estimates. The best thing to do is get your foot in the door. Get in good with the store manager, whos authority ends at that store, but get in good with them. Restaurant managers tend to think they are gods gift to the world(they are my least favorite to deal with), so make them feel like they are as important as they want to feel. When i get infront of a manager, gm, or dm, i try to preach the convienence of going with our company. But dont tell the manager that you plan on going over his/her head to get to the gm/dm. Establish a good realtionship with the person you have to get through first, then go on to explain that you can help out their boss by giving estimates at all their locations, they the manager of your first store looks like the hero, they are happy, and you are getting a check for a few grand every month.
PM me if you need more info… hope this helped