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.