Last week we were talking about old school methods of marketing and sales that I used to implement before the advantages that the cell phone and internet gave us. I mentioned that I would go to a shopping mall where the different businesses were all adjacent to one another and enclosed proximity, and I used to simply start knocking on doors and walk in introducing myself. I also touched on how difficult it was sometimes to get through or past what I referred to as the gate keeper, being the receptionist. She was often trained to intercept guys like myself, as well as filter out soliciting phone calls. I had my speech already to go, but I learned from experience that no matter how well I delivered it and how great it was, that she didn’t have the authority to make any type of decision so it was pretty much a waste of time and effort unless I could get to the boss. She would normally say he’s not in and to leave her a card. I would, but more than not, it would just end up in a pile of other cards and the boss never even saw it. I also touched on what I did to overcome these type of challenges. Instead of giving them a card I would leave behind a magnet and I would make it bigger than just a typical business card would be. That way if it did get stacked it would stand out over the others in the deck. Most of the time, it would end up in the lunchroom on a refrigerator or on a file cabinet and that was just fine with me. The boss eventually would see it when he went to that refrigerator and it would stay around till eventually they actually were in the market to buy some custom screen printing or embroidery.
That approach, combined with taking really good notes and calling them back one or two months later was certainly helpful. I also touched on the importance of making sure, that if the secretary did not have the authority to make a decision regarding their digital t-shirt printing, that I wouldn’t waste my time or effort trying to sell her.
I cannot emphasize enough how you have to be patient with this approach as well as persistent. There’s a fine line a salesman walks. He doesn’t want to be a nuisance, but he certainly does not want to be forgotten. That being said, I always rather error on the side of caution and would rather risk the potential of being a pain in the butt then not being remembered at all.
When I first tried to break into the St Louis digital t-shirt printing market I realized that it was going to be tough as there’s a whole lot of competitors out there. I needed to find a way to somehow get an edge on them. I studied my competition, and realized after doing so, that to the best of my knowledge, none of them were actually knocking on their door or calling them. More than not, they were just waiting for the phone to rank with a potential order and they weren’t nearly as aggressive in seeking out new businesses as myself.