I know this may come as a surprise to some of you, but the prospects you contact, have probably met other sales people before. They have probably been pitched, presented and smooshed about similar products and services.
I know, I know, that’s a little heartbreaking because you thought the canned sales process that you learned from a company handbook was gonna be the exact formula you needed to see your picture on the wallboard behind the reception desk at ABC Contractors.
Sorry to burst your bubble but I’m here to encourage you to think outside the box. Take your game to a higher level by incorporating your personality and some creativity in the mix. Don’t fight your way tooth and nail to a pitch appointment and then blow it by presenting the prospect with the same old sales pitch that they’ve seen over and over again. Shock, awe, and wow them.
When I was 23 years old, I decided I was going to start an advertising agency. I didn’t know anything about the advertising business but as a performer, voice over artist and singer, I knew how to make commercials and jingles.
I never consulted anyone about my business decision and there really wasn’t much of an internet back then to look up any tips or blog postings about it, so I flew completely blind.
I was living in Santa Barbara at the time and one day, I hit the streets and started walking into restaurants around town, just to grab a flyer or to-go menu. After I collected the material I was looking for, I went home and produced full blown :30 and :60 second radio commercials featuring these businesses. I had a different style with my commercials, mostly humorous and some very in-your-face.
I then contacted all the local radio stations and asked for their rate sheets, explaining that I was a new agency in town and I would be bringing them business. Sales managers were all very cooperative and happy to help.
As soon as I marked up the spot rates and printed out some advertising contracts, I took a boom-box and all the cassettes I made [back then we had these odd shaped things called ‘tapes’–Google it], and I re-visited all of the businesses that I had made the commercials for. I dressed nice, but not in a suit. I asked for the owner or manager, shook their hand and hit “play” on the machine.
I had a 100% selling success rate. There was not one business that didn’t move forward in an advertising campaign with my agency.
The radio stations loved me. I was bringing them so much business that one company finally asked me to host my own show on their station. That later led to me having a career in radio so I let my business fade, but had I stayed with it, I know it would have grown tremendously.
Why was I so successful?
I came up with something different. Once they heard their name in lights, they couldn’t say no. People love to be in the spotlight [if they only knew about ‘selfies’ back then]. But it’s deeper than that. Here’s a guy that walks in off the street with something they can grab a hold of. Something tangible. I didn’t walk in wearing a sales-suit with a bunch of graphs on a piece of paper, touting all kinds of padded statistics. I handed them something they could experience for themselves.
The quality of the commercials and the approach was so good, they didn’t even care what radio station I placed them on. They trusted my judgment. Then when the commercials brought results, they kept reordering more blocks of advertising.
One customer actually called me after a few months of advertising and said, “hey, I think we’re gonna have to tone down the commercials a little. This last one you did, some lady complained to me that it really bothered her.”
“Where was she when she complained,” I asked him.
“She was in line ordering food.” He responded.
“Do you still want to change our approach?” I asked.
Whatever industry your in, there’s always a creative game plan you can put together to stand out among your competitors.
When I sold cars, I walked out to greet customers on the lot and began by saying, “Hi my name is Wayne and I hate car salesman”. No one expected that and it brought their guard down.
When I sold AFLAC insurance, I didn’t just pitch the payouts a customer could get, I showed a breakdown of what one of my family members who fought a long bout of cancer would have been paid if she had AFLAC. I said, “If I was working here sooner, she would have been covered and been paid $30,000+”
You get the idea. Now go do it. Put yourself in your prospects seat. What part of your sales process would annoy or alienate you if you were pitching yourself? Remove it and come up with something fresh…and go make some money dang it! 🙂