Sales Success Tip – Creative Prospecting

Have you ever thought?  Those prospects won’t return my calls. I’m frustrated and wasting my time.  The problem is you know who you must  see to the make the sale or get your product specified, but that person does NOT know you.

Once you have done a good job researching and qualifying your prospect and want to make sure you can get in front of them with your sales message, try a little creativity.  I love the idea of a “pre-call touch” which I learned from Dave Kahle (a sales consultant and trainer).

Here is an example of  a “pre-call touch” from author Dave Kahle’s most recent book, How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime.

One of my clients was an advertising agency.  They had identified 100 key people in their market and location who held the future of the advertising agency in their hands.  They had accomplished the first step dentifying the right people.

Now, the problem was to move those highly qualified prospects to interact with the agency.  The experienced team knew that those key people with whom they needed to interact were busy and difficult people to see.  They just wouldn’t respond to the normal channels.  So, they came up with this very creative way of engaging with their prospects.

They sent each of the 100 prospects a box, about the size of a watch box.  It was wrapped in brown paper and contained no return address.  The name and address of the prospect was hand-written in a female hand.  Inside the box was a sugar cube and a small piece of paper, like the size of a fortune cookie message, with the words, “Keep it sweet.”

That was it.  Nothing else.

One week later, those same prospects were sent another box, wrapped and addressed in exactly the same fashion.  This time, it contained a lemon with the message, “Don’t let it go sour.”

Again, nothing else in the box.

On the third week, yet another box, wrapped and packaged identically.  This time, the box contained tinsel foil, like that which you use to decorate a Christmas tree.  The message?  “Make it sparkle.”

Once again, nothing else.

Week four and yet one more box arrived, identical to the others.  This time there was only one thing inside – a business card from the advertising agency sales person, with a self-stick note stuck to it.  On the note was the hand-written message, “I’ll call you tomorrow for an appointment.”

Of the 100 people who received that series of deliveries, every single one of them took the call and made the appointment.  The advertising agency, when faced with the difficult task of engaging the prospect, had developed an effective and creative solution.  They gained their prospect’s attention, they captured their interest, and they prompted them to take action

In our business we may not need to be as elaborate as the advertising agency above. But a pre-call touch can make a big difference.  It can be as simple as sending a product binder via Fedex addressed personally to your prospect so they have to sign for it. They will most likely drop what they are doing to open the box and investigate what is inside. Include a creative note or object so that they remember you and want to take your call and make an appointment.  For creative objects… how about a set of earplugs with a note about how Skyfold acoustic performance will enhance their project? Or a dollar bill and a note with the edge burnt with a match saying how you can save them money with your great line of fire and smoke protection curtains. Be sure to time your follow up call for the next day or two after the package was due to arrive.

Dave would say don’t give in to the temptation to just send a company brochure (yawn) or a letter.  Break out of the box and think about what you could deliver that would catch the prospect’s attention, say something about you, and make him more likely to take your call.

Photo by TJ Scenes

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