WEEK 3 - Interest
The TACTIC: Don't spill your candy in the lobby.
“Oh dear,” began the receptionist, “Mr. Smerthing had to cancel your appointment at the last minute. One of the firm’s oldest clients suddenly needed his expertise. He asked if you could leave any material that you brought so that he could review it and get back to you.”
“Yes, I can.” With that, Bob disgorged a truly impressive pile onto the receptionist’s desk.
“Well,” she responded, “You certainly are thorough. Mr. Smerthing will appreciate your diligence.”
While disappointed that he was unable to meet with Mr. Smerthing, Bob knew that within a matter of days, Mr. Smerthing would be calling.
Bob waited a few days. And then a few more. Finally, Bob called. Mr. Smerthing was reviewing the material and would get back. After ten phone calls, all with the same result, Bob decided that this prospect was a waste of time.
Companies spend thousands of dollars creating, and distributing collateral whose goal is to get the prospect to buy whatever is being sold. Prospects do not buy sales literature.
Unfortunately, as you saw with Bob and Mr. Winfred P. Smerthing III, the sales literature, regardless of its form, is only useful if someone reads it. Mr. Smerthing III will someday probably get around to doing just that, but in the meantime, since in his mind he has everything he needs to make a decision sitting on the sofa, he has absolutely no reason to meet with Bob.
A second danger in spilling your candy in the lobby is that you have no idea nor control over what is in the mind of the person who finally gets around to reading what you left. Your product and/or service could be exactly what the prospect needs, but because the prospect interprets your literature in a way that is different from what you expect, you are summarily tossed into the circular file. You are not there at that moment to correct his mistaken impression.
Leaving sales literature or sending sales literature in place of being there yourself is a waste of time and money, except in one situation. If the prospect has told you exactly what he needs as a result of you questioning him and your sales literature is specifically confined to his need, then send it or leave it. In any other situation, you are wasting your time, and perhaps more importantly, keeping yourself from prospecting for those who will buy.
Every salesperson knows that “send me some literature” is a brush-off. Yet most salespeople send the literature anyway. Why? If the prospect doesn’t have the time for you, he will NOT have time for your literature.
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