More Great Ideas from Great Salespeople

April 2, 2018

About the author: Carl Davidson is the founder and president of Sales & Management Solutions. This New York-based company has been offering video and live training for the water equipment industry for almost 20 years. To find out more, call Davidson at 800-941-0068.

I love my job. The thing I like most about it is the opportunity to travel the country and see great salespeople trying great ideas. I learn something every day from the salespeople of this industry. You always surprise me and I love it. In this article, I thought I would present some great ideas that have been shared with me recently. If you have a great idea you would like to share, email me at [email protected]. I'd love to hear from you.

Great Prospecting Ideas

Summer in the city. A hard working salesperson with no leads told me he went to a local health club that was frequented by well-to-do clientele. He stood outside the club with a cooler of ice-cold RO water bottles and offered them free to any members. Most members were jogging back to the club, so a cold water seemed like a great idea. Naturally, they would chat as they drank the free water and that gave the clever salesperson a chance to extol the health and other benefits of pure water. This salesperson reports getting several appointments and a couple of sales in just a few hours of doing this.

Charity begins at home. A great salesperson reports that he contacted a local charity and asked them if they would like his help to raise money at its next function. The charity was interested. The salesperson prepared nice boxes with a water sample bottle, a label and instructions. The charity sold the water tests for $5 each at their event. The salesperson provided 100 tests, so the charity made $500. The purchasers took their kits home, filled the water bottle and called the salesperson to arrange for their test. The result?  Five hundred phone calls from prospects asking for a water test. What a great way to help a good cause, increase sales and help people get better water--a win/win/win situation.

Door to door with a twist. If you sell other plumbing services as well as water equipment, consider this idea: Hire a sales prospector and dress him in the same uniforms your plumbers wear. Have him ride each day with a plumber. The plumber goes out on his first call. The prospector takes a water sample at that home and then starts going door to door on the street. When a homeowner answers the door, the prospector explains that they are in the neighborhood working at the home of a neighbor. They point to their truck down the street. They pick up a water sample and may even sell plumbing work. While the plumber takes two hours in the home he came out to service, the prospector can knock on 20 to 40 doors. This is bound to lead to sales of plumbing and water equipment. When the plumber leaves to go to his next call, the prospector leaves too and repeats the process at the next stop. This system works well because the prospector has the credibility of the uniform and truck and because they work a short time in a neighborhood and then are on to the next. It breaks up the day and keeps spirits up.

Hardware assistance. A great salesperson tells me he goes to small hardware stores that are selling inexpensive softeners out of the store for do-it-yourselfers. He asks if he can put in a display and a way of collecting water samples. He gives the hardware store owners a commission on each appointment and each sale. The result? The storeowner makes as much commission on a great softener as he was making selling inexpensive softeners without the inventory, trouble or liability.

New home trial. One great salesperson I know goes to builders and asks if he can put a softener in the builder's homes at no charge. The builder then advertises that his homes include conditioned water by (your company name) at no charge for 90 days. After 90 days, the salesperson calls the new homeowner and explains that they can rent the equipment, surrender the equipment or purchase the equipment. If the owner says they will surrender the equipment, the salesperson shuts off the equipment using the bypass valve for a week and then calls one more time to ask if they noticed a difference without the equipment. The salesperson reports great success in selling or renting. Sounds good but costs too much? This salesperson personally rents 10 softeners--the 10 he puts into homes at any one time. He pays about $25 per month to rent them, so it costs him $75 to put one in a new home free for 90 days. He puts them only into homes he feels will be able to finance new equipment. He reports great success with this method and says it is well worth the $75 to have a steady stream of sales from the program.

Great Closing Ideas

Stain removal. A great salesperson tells me he asks the family if it has a stain on upholstery, carpet or drapes they have not been able to remove. He asks, "If I can remove the stain with just RO water and a cloth, would an RO be a good investment you would want to make tonight?  When they say yes, he tries to remove the stain. He says you can remove about 60 percent of the stains you attempt with just RO water and a cloth. If the stain is removed, he says you are well on your way to a sale.

Pet test. This is an old one but I was reminded to use it by a great salesperson at a recent seminar. If a couple is hesitating but seems to want the product and if they have a pet, he says, "Let's let Rover decide. Your dog can smell about 100,000 times better than we can. He puts down a bowl of RO water and a bowl of tap water. Be sure not to use the dog's regular bowl as it always will go to that one. Almost all pets--cats, dogs and birds alike--will pick the RO water every time. He says to close by saying, "Well, even your dog knows which water is best. I will get the paperwork started.

Spreading soap further. A great salesperson has put a twist on the soap package that adds to sales. His company buys a three-year soap package for each customer, but they promise the customer only a one year package. They feel this is enough incentive to get the close. The customer is expecting only a one-year package. When the salesperson does the call back and drops off the one-year soap package, he asks for referrals and offers to give a second year's supply of soap in exchange for six referrals. This is very effective. Finally, near the end of the first year, he does another call-back and offers the third year of soap in exchange for six more referrals. Now that's getting the most for your money.

These ideas are too clever to be developed by anyone but hard-working, resourceful salespeople. I hope you will try any you like. Feel free to contact me with your great ideas, so we can share them with others in the industry.          

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About the Author

Carl Davidson

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