I facilitated a networking event today for a friend (so it wasn’t any of the groups I normally facilitate) and posed a question to this group of attendees to brainstorm. Some thought-provoking answers came out of the exercise which was a part of a cluster of group activities on the importance of “connecting with people.”
The question I posed was “What are some good ways that either you have tried, would like to try or have heard others try to make a connection with the “gatekeeper” or prospect in the sales process?” Most everyone took a keen interest in this question as most people have been in this situation. The answers we got were fantastic and are indicative of the importance of playing/appreciating/ connecting with others. Here’s the list of 11 things they came up with:
1. Give unexpected help
2. Leave an unexpected gift (e.g. home-made cookies)
3. Leave a wrapped box with a shoe inside to the gatekeeper and ask her to wait to open it until you leave. After leaving, call her within a few minutes, listen to her laugh and say “now that I have my shoe in the door could I schedule an appointment?”
4. Wear conversation provoking clothing (e.g. Mickey Mouse tie)
5. Be genuine! Not “robotic” or “sales-y”
6. Relate to their needs – ask questions to discover that need
7. Catch attention quickly
8. Play…be curious…be authentic…ask what you can do for them
9. Listen! Be aware of your surroundings (“listen” with your eyes too)
10. Put the person at ease by making clear your expectations, valuing their time.
11. I have a friend who had some tremendous results from this method. He took a picture of his son in front of a white board holding a marker acting like he was ready to write. Using his SendOutCards online greeting card tool, he uploaded the picture to the front of a card and typed a message on the white board reading “My Dad asked me to tell you that he stopped in the other day and just missed you. He said he’ll call back to see you soon. He’s a real good guy. I hope you let him see you.” On the inside of the card on the top panel, he uploaded a picture of himself, his contact information and his logo and on the bottom panel of the card, he wrote another message from his son reading “My Dad would like a moment of your time to talk the wonderful benefits Hospice care has to offer your patients and families. Please don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions before you see him. Have a wonderful day!” He sent this out to 100 of his prospects…addressed to the “gatekeepers” (which are typically women with either children or grand children.) On his follow-up call to them he got 75…SEVENTY-FIVE appointments. Not bad.