I know this is a pretty basic concept, but it is one I have fallen out of recently. I used to always be in selling mode. I can remember a few years ago, I was waiting for my car at parking garage and a Ferrari was brought up; I immediately introduced myself to the car’s owner and gave him a card. While that didn’t lead to work, countless other interactions like that have.
Just this past weekend, after a great CEDIA show, I was at a Best Buy (I was too impatient to wait for UPS so I was out buying a 4K Roku player) with Ken Vanemon of Sapphire Marketing. While waiting to checkout, I saw the ultimate DIY customer carrying a Sonos speaker, a Nest thermostat, a Dropcam, and some Philips Hue bulbs. I couldn’t believe the amount of technology in this woman’s cart. She wasn’t just dipping her toe in the water, she was doing a cannonball off a 10-meter board!
I couldn’t help myself – I walked right up to her and introduced myself and asked her if I could as a few questions. I told her I owned a home automation company and explained what that meant and just began to have a conversation with her about what she was buying, why she chose those products, what she hoped to gain by putting it all into her home, how easy/hard she thought it would be, etc. She had a decent grasp on what she was getting into, but it was clear she hadn’t intended to buy this much coming in. Even though she never received any assistance (or offer of assistance) from a sales person on the floor, she was buying a lot of different gear.
Until I brought it up, the one thing she hadn’t really thought about was all of the different apps she would need to use to control her home. I asked her if she would want a professional consultation from someone like me to see if there might a better, more cohesive solution that would work for her. She readily agreed, I gave her my card and she put everything back on the shelf and left the store empty-handed. We have scheduled a consultation for next week, but based on where she lives, her demeanor and her clothes and accessories, I know she can afford the luxurious things in life and feel confident we can deliver that for her.
I told this long-winded story to emphasize that we need to go out and get work, not just wait for it to come to us. We can spend money on marketing, and we do—direct mail, digital marketing, and traditional media all get a portion of our budget. But we also have to engage in outbound sales.
Now I don’t think any of us should start staking out our local Best Buys and poaching people entering or leaving the store. In fact, I definitely wouldn’t advocate that strategy! But being aware of our surroundings and always being ready with your “elevator pitch” of who you are and what your company does is critical. You never know when you’ll have an opportunity to strike up a conversation or you’ll meet someone new who is the perfect customer for you, even if they don’t know it yet.