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Sales Require You Get Your Foot in the Door
By Kathleen Gage
If you are in sales and/or marketing you know one of the most challenging aspects of what you do is getting in front of prospects. Prospects and clients are bombarded constantly with items that promote, market, or advertise what people do. So we sell, buy, receive, file, or throw away items that we’re just not sure what to do with. Millions of dollars in advertising and promotions end up in the trash, completely ineffective and wasted.
The question becomes: How do you keep your promotional advertising and unique marketing items out of the trash and on the desk? The answer is simple: use creative and appropriate methods to get recognized.
Sales is really about the ability to think quickly, be flexible, creative and innovation. If you want to stand apart from the competition, you need to do more than sell products. You need to know how to get your foot in the door. However, it also means making sure you have the right door and a plan for keeping your foot there.
Selling is about taking stock of your market, your prospective customer, and yourself before you even go a-knocking. It is about knowing you are doing the right thing for the right reasons.
Selling is truly an art. It is not just about getting the business. It is knowing you are making a difference in the lives of others with the product or service you provide. It is being of service to others and loving what you do.
Creativity is one your greatest tools. Of course your product and price must be competitive, but, when all other things are equal, it’s your way of creating and maintaining relationships that sets you apart.
Following are three ideas from the recently released book, 101 Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door.
1. Time is of the Essence
Everyone has too little time and is very guarded about who they give it to. Although many of us in sales say, "I’ll only need a minute of your time," few prospects buy that.
Rather than attempting to pressure someone out of his valuable time, impress them with your creativity. Send a small one-minute hourglass or timer. Attach a note with your business card that says:
-All I need is one minute of your time!
-I realize how important a minute of your time is.
-I know your time is of the essence. All I need is a minute.
This is a way to minimize your prospect’s resistance. You’ve made them stand up and take notice; you’ve done something unique and creative. They will probably see you just because you made the creative effort. Take the timer with you to the initial meeting, put it on the desk, and be sure you can deliver your pitch before it goes off!
2. Growing Solutions
A lot of selling is about assisting prospects during periods of growth.
The gift of a live plant is a great way to get your foot in the door. Most everyone appreciates plants. They bring life into a dull space and provide beauty as well. You’d be hard pushed to find a prospect who will deep-six your gift of a plant.
You can play on the words "growth" and "growing" while sending a gift that will stay in the office and on the prospect’s desk.
Along with your card include a note that reads:
-We are interested in helping during this rapid period of growth.
-Is your business growing to the point that you need our service?
-We’d love to help you grow.
-Instructions for growth: Water once a day and call us at ______.
-Congratulations on your growth."
Don’t be stingy if you’re going to do this. Buy a big healthy plant and have it professionally potted and delivered. The presentation and delivery are as important as the clever play on words.
A great way to get your foot in the door is to be helpful long before you knock on it. When a new company hits town send them a "My Favorites" list that refers them to the best people, places, and professionals in town.
Make sure these are reputable companies and individuals who offer quality products and services. If there is a specific contact, include that person’s name and number.
A – My Favorites – list could include:
-Chambers of Commerce
-Local associations and contact numbers
-Restaurants (think about including a take-out menu)
-Office supply store
-Places of interest
Remember to include yourself and your services!
Once they receive your list, follow up and ask if you can be of assistance in any way. The Law of Reciprocity is a strong one!
The ideas for getting your foot in the door are endless. Again, all it takes is making sure you have the right door, you are appropriately creative, you believe in your product or service, and you are willing to take a risk.