Idea of The Week: How to make it impossible to say no!

 > The Situation:
An email. From MD regular, Tom Duguay of Chartex, the distribution/packaging/palleting experts in Edmonton. It reads: “Got a call from COSTCO. The rep wanted to know if they could come by and make a presentation to our staff about membership.” Tom continued: “COSTCO is a great store. But who wants to spend their lunch hour listening to a sales pitch?” Good question.

 > The Idea:
The answer, as it turned out, is that “everyone” wanted to hear their sales pitch. Why? Well. Back to Tom: “They made us an offer we couldn’t refuse,” he said. “They offered a free lunch. Hot pizza. Snacks. Fresh fruit. And chocolate. Plus discounts. And free gifts. How could we say no?” Exactly. And the idea, of course, is to zero the prospect’s options – by making a genuinely irresistible offer. An offer that will be accepted. So we can march right in.

 > The Risk:

Here’s another example. One of my clients is a very sophisticated millwork company – that has never had to solicit business – until the lingering, current downturn. So. How do they get in front of interior designers who could specify them as suppliers – without old fashioned (crude) “selling?” They offer to present “lunch and learn” educational workshops that bring ID’s up to speed with things they need and want to know about millwork. Result: In the process of inviting ID firms to participate, they get into discussions that lead to business – right now – while the (very) interactive workshops also allow them to get to know individual designers (and their projects) on a personal level. What a perfect “excuse” or “cover” to make “innocent” sales contacts – without the risk of being perceived as “selling.

 > The Reward:

This ‘special event’ approach to marketing and sales – whether it’s strictly promotional or helpfully educational – gives us a ‘Trojan Horse’ entrée into prospects’ firms – without the usual resistance/rejection we encounter in old fashioned selling.

 > The Call to Action:

Customer education sells. Customer events sell. Gifts and discounts sell. Put ‘em all together and you give yourself the gift of an easy entrée into prospect firms that could be hard to penetrate otherwise. A twist on this idea could work for your business. So. Over to you?

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