Something that worked to get presentations by Claude

7 replies
I just came across this note from when I was selling in people's homes. I know, selling to businesses a little different, but here it is.

About 25 years ago, I got an agreement from a local photographer to let me give away gift certificates for one 8X10 Color Family Portrait.

I hung flyers on doors in neighborhoods. The flyer said "Call for a free color family portrait for giving us your opinion on a small appliance" (or something like that)

I must have put out 3,000 flyers in a week (it was a small town)

Here are the results. 150 calls (over 4 days), 37 set appointments, 17 presentations, 12 gross sales, 10 net sales. About $5,200 in profit. That was between Monday and Friday.

When they called we told them that both husband & wife (if they were married) had to be there. All 37 agreed. The appointments were set at two times in the evening. 6PM and 8PM.
I would literally rush from one home to another, deciding if I wanted to show them my product. I might have 5 appointments for 6PM. So I picked one as fast as I could. If; they weren't both home, neither one was employed, there were indications of bad credit (an art in itself), or they just weren't fun to talk to, I gave them the gift certificate and left.

Everyone who agreed to see me, got the gift. And that got me 10 minutes or so with each one...but then I could pick who I wanted to talk to.

Out of 37, 17 made the grade. Doing a vacuum cleaner presentation is physical work. And doing three a day is a killer. But I was young, and wanted a new car. Guess what, 25 years ago, a new car cost exactly what I had made that week (I just remember buying the car. I think it was a Plymouth Horizon)

Sooo...Has anyone just tried doing a mailing for a free calculator, umbrella, etc...just to see he owners? And then overbook yourself, so you can only see the good ones?

I did this for several weeks, but I have to admit, it exhausted me. I was doing everything.
#claude #presentations #worked
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
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    • Profile picture of the author Marty S
      Hi Claude.

      I am glad you mentioned that this was 25 years ago, because since then there have been direct sales empires built around this tactic - particularly in the time-share industry.

      I know this because 5 or 6 years back, my wife and I got hijacked into one of these presentations promising a free meal and free night's stay - if we stayed for the entire presentation. Okay it was my wife who agreed to it - so I can blame her. The funny thing is, the presentation was so bizarrely wreaking of zombie-like activity, that I became somewhat fascinated with the process. Watching all these helpless couples sit and listen to sales reps spew out their canned pitch was truly a learning experience.

      After about a half hour of defensive verbal manoeuvres - that I could not afford a time-share in Mexico, I just could not stand it anymore and left the meeting early. There goes my free meal and my one night stay at a luxury hotel. My wife was not mad either, as she thanked me for getting us the Hell out of there. We had quite a laugh about it in the drive home.

      Anyhow, the bottom line is that I don't know how you would go about selling this in today's market while trying to separate yourself from such shenanigans that a lot of people must now be familiar with. Notwithstanding of course, that there IS some merit to the concept.
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  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    I went to an interview/ride along for a fire alarm job.

    They did the same thing.
    Free dinner with presentation in exchange for something.
    While eating dinner, everyone would watch this movie on stats and such about people dying in fires.

    I just sat back astonished and watch all these middle aged and over couples fall into this trap.

    At the end he asked for appointments to do a check on their detectors and make sure they would be safe in the event of a fire. Enough smok detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extingushers, etc.
    These appts were set for the next 3 days. Then, he moves onto a new city.
    So, the next morning we start hitting appts. I watch as he goes around and points out potential hazaeds. Then sits the couple down and talks about their 3 options.
    I mean packages. No buying anything wasn't an option because you want to protect your home and your family. He closed half the appts. Made $500 for the day
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  • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
    Wow this post takes me back.

    I know exactly what you mean about over booking. I used to book myself backup appointments for my backup appointments.

    It's funny how often you get there and you realize you need to go somewhere else. And looking for bad credit...LOL! The cheap house with the nice car, big screen, and swimming pool give it away every time. It's screams "recent bankruptcy".

    And I used to drive a Horizon too!
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      I need to clarify something. I gave the gift as soon as I got there. Everyone got the gift.

      Do you know what happens if you hold onto the gift until the end? They think of nothing else except getting that gift.

      I understand about giving meals after the presentation is over. You are afraid that some will leave, and they will.

      But when I promised a free meal, they got the meal first. (When offering a free meal at free seminars). Did I get abused? A little. But you don't want those people anyway. The ones that stay are your prospects.

      In Florida, I had several kids try to get us to come to a "free barbecue".
      I finally asked one if I could ask a few questions. Here is what I found out;
      They look at our license plates to see if we are from out of state.
      They may talk to 100 couples a day.
      One or two take them up on their offer.
      The couple then has to follow them to the sales office to see a time share presentation.


      vndnbrgj: I had a friend do exactly the same thing, except with water purifiers. They had to indicate that they were interested "in getting their water tested". He did one dinner a week, and it kept him busy.
      He had one "free drawing for a free dinner" display at a nice restaurant. He paid for the meals. The restaurant loved it. He loved it. The customers were happy. They ate as he was presenting, if I remember correctly. It was a buffet. Most people were homeowners and pretty qualified, because it was a pretty nice restaurant. The "entry form" asked a few questions; age group, homeowner, city, phone, and what type of work the people did.
      If they left anything blank (or kids filling it out, unemployed, renters,) he simply didn't call them. Every week he would be in front of a group of 9-12 people.

      Dan; The things I would look for are new TVs that looked far better than their other furnishings, bills with red stamps on them, a TV on top of another TV, old cars, and a few other things. I may ask "I like that TV, can I ask where you got it?" If they said "Rent-a-center" I knew I was wasting my time.

      On the other hand, if I found out at the end that they had bad credit (and had to use financing), I had a company that would finance anyone with a job and a telephone. They also only gave me half of the amount financed. So I still got the sale, but it wouldn't be profitable.

      In one month I sold a nest of referrals that all had bad credit. It was 26 sales in the month. My net profit was $1,200. My supplier thought I was amazing. They just saw the sales numbers. But I wasn't that happy.

      But here is a reality...
      If the prospect feels no obligation to actually pay for what they buy, selling is easy.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bruce NewMedia
    (It looks like your post is taking all us old-timers back)

    I had to laugh when I read your post, Claude! :-)

    For me it also about 25 years ago, I ran leads for
    a basement waterproofing company. Homes
    in the area commonly had basementas and seepage.

    The company had a phone room that scheduled
    appointments and it worked best when they promised a gift.

    They liked to test different gifts/premiums
    to see if one made a difference.

    You're right about giving the gift right away. Otherwise
    they wouldn't be listening to your presentation.

    Currently I'm recruiting a couple of phone appt setters
    for offline. Since the appointment setters are mostly
    inexperienced, I'm going to try the 'gift premium' as
    a way to give the phone reps an additional tool.
    _____
    Bruce
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by Bruce NewMedia View Post

      (It looks like your post is taking all us old-timers back)

      I had to laugh when I read your post, Claude! :-)

      For me it also about 25 years ago, I ran leads for
      a basement waterproofing company. Homes
      in the area commonly had basementas and seepage.

      The company had a phone room that scheduled
      appointments and it worked best when they promised a gift.

      They liked to test different gifts/premiums
      to see if one made a difference.

      You're right about giving the gift right away. Otherwise
      they wouldn't be listening to your presentation.

      Currently I'm recruiting a couple of phone appt setters
      for offline. Since the appointment setters are mostly
      inexperienced, I'm going to try the 'gift premium' as
      a way to give the phone reps an additional tool.
      _____
      Bruce
      Bruce; The best gifts were; a case of soda (they chose the type), a free pizza, a free turkey (gift certificate), and the 3 day 2 night vacation certificates you can get for a couple buck apiece.

      But the one that got me the very best results was a free 5" B&W TV. Really. If they promised to take a look at my vacuum, I'd give them a TV. It cost me (if I remember) about $22 each. But I had to explain several times that the husband and wife both had to be there. I would not drop off the TV without them both there. I got so many appointments, I simply had to stop the promotion.

      That's a gift I would not let them have if they were not qualified.

      But even today? These gifts still work. People still like free stuff.
      I'm amazed at how few in home salesman there are now.
      It's been years since one knocked on my door.

      But if you are hiring a couple of appointment setter, a gift sure makes their job easier, and the people buy easier too.
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  • Profile picture of the author SashaLee
    Hi Claude,

    Good strategy. People also like money. When making appointments with people who charge by the hour, offer to buy an hour of their time, or half an hour. You'll be entitled to their undivided attention,

    Best,

    Sasha
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