15 Unorthodox Ways to Get Your Foot In the Door

15 Unorthodox Ways to Get Your Foot In the Door

Your initial meeting with the prospect focuses on one key question: How can you convince your coveted prospect to become a valued customer? You've been trained to sell the “benefits versus features,” write thank-you notes, show up 10 minutes early, give a firm handshake and look your prospect in the eye. Send a few valued customers each a logoed Frisbee with your name and primary contact info. "I need just 15 minutes of your time," your letter might begin. The internet and social media make quick (and easy work) of researching your prospect's interests. Look for ways to make your products do double-duty as leave-behinds. Create a personalized card that features a photo of the prospect. The creativity here is how you structure the sample, especially if it's been awhile since you offered a free trial of your product or service. Send a few to key prospects along with a note that you'll call on a specific time or day and you hope they'll pick up. Handwritten thank-you note.

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15 Unorthodox Ways to Get Your Foot In the Door

Sales is hard work, and the marketplace is competitive. You must differentiate yourself and your company from all the competition. Your initial meeting with the prospect focuses on one key question: How can you convince your coveted prospect to become a valued customer?

You’ve been trained to sell the “benefits versus features,” write thank-you notes, show up 10 minutes early, give a firm handshake and look your prospect in the eye. Then what? How do you move the conversation forward to build trust, close the deal and make the sale?

Here are 15 creative ways to do just that.

1. Frisbee.

Send a few valued customers each a logoed Frisbee with your name and primary contact info. In the accompanying letter, ask your contact to “throw me some business with referrals.” You’ll be amazed by the results. Based on my research through the years, each contact who appreciates your product or service will refer you to between five and seven prospects. Assume just 50 clients at this rate, and you could gain around 300 new prospects. Not bad for a simple dimensional mailing.

2. Pizza or cereal box.

This was one of the most successful dimensional-mail strategies I used to meet “difficult” prospects. Send the box via U.S. Postal Service or delivery company (worth it for the few extra dollars) with a well-crafted, handwritten letter inside. “I’d love to spend just a few minutes with you over lunch” or “Could I stop by next week for coffee and cereal over breakfast?”

3. Time clock.

Instead of sending a pizza box, try a timer set to 15 minutes. “I need just 15 minutes of your time,” your letter might begin. I’ve used this technique many times and set a timer of my own. When the clock hits 00:00, I say, “Time’s up, as promised. If you want to get together again, let’s set another time.” I’ve even left an initial meeting, saying I couldn’t be late for another appointment. If your prospect is at all interested in learning more about your company, I promise this tactic will get you a follow-up meeting within the next few days.

4. Prospect’s hobbies.

The internet and social media make quick (and easy work) of researching your prospect’s interests. Look for some common ground. Dale Carnegie — who developed a series of courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking and interpersonal skills — advised us to “learn about others” because it creates an immediate connection.

5. Bathroom trick.

Please don’t think me strange, but this one has worked wonders for me over the years. Imagine you’re at a trade show, conference or other business function, and you spot the one person you must meet at the…

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