Entrepreneurial Leadership and Management . . . and Other Stuff

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Feb
21

Buy the Customer Lunch – At His/Her Office

One of the greatest challenges in direct sales is having your customer commit time to listening to your pitch.  Good direct sales people work hard to eliminate any and all barriers to such a commitment because even the most compelling pitch won’t get you anywhere if it’s not heard.

One tool for getting an audience to hear you out early in the selling process is bringing the story to them.  Instead of asking a potential customer to take time out of their busy day to travel to a meeting, eliminate any time or effort barriers – buy them lunch at their office.  Pick up some pizzas, have sandwiches delivered or order from the prospect’s cafeteria.  Free food is a surprisingly strong draw and will make it much easier to get a foot in the door.

Even better, have the prospective customer arrange a conference room and also invite the prospect’s colleagues along for free food in exchange for 45-60 minutes of listening about a cool new offering from an interesting vendor.  This way, of course, you’ll get more people involved and increase your chances that someone will latch onto your message and become a champion of it.  The implicit commitment made by each attendee goes a long way and the even larger commitment by the organizer of the meeting will help develop some ownership of the process in the prospect as well as to help establish a partnership between you and he/she.

In selling, those early audiences are difficult.  Early commitment is even harder.  Removing barriers of effort and time while establishing an early relationship with prospective customers can help you get both.  Easy access to free food is a great way of making this happen with benefits that far exceed your cost or effort.

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 February 21st, 2007  
 Will  
 Selling  
   
 8 Comments

8 Responses to Buy the Customer Lunch – At His/Her Office

  1. It will NEVER stop amazing me that even the most high level people in a firm, will be drawn in by free food (or better yet, free liquor)…and yes, I’m one of them.  Pass the dressing please.

  2. It will NEVER stop amazing me that even the most high level people in a firm, will be drawn in by free food (or better yet, free liquor)…and yes, I’m one of them.  Pass the dressing please.

  3. Ah, free liquor.  A much better tool for greasing the gears of upper management in the sales process 😉

  4. Ah, free liquor.  A much better tool for greasing the gears of upper management in the sales process 😉

  5. Even better, strippers and cocaine. Seriously, though, a point about food:  people have gotten really particular about it, so it’s important to ask if they have preferences.  Some people are even offended by seeing someone else eat meat.

  6. Even better, strippers and cocaine.

    Seriously, though, a point about food:  people have gotten really particular about it, so it’s important to ask if they have preferences.  Some people are even offended by seeing someone else eat meat.

  7. Absolutely correct.  Know your customer – that means in every way possible. Thanks for the comment, Diogenes.

  8. Absolutely correct.  Know your customer – that means in every way possible.

    Thanks for the comment, Diogenes.

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