Jan 31, 2003

More Great Ideas from Great Salespeople


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

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.          

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.