Bob was preparing for his first appointment with Mr. Winfred P. Smith , senior partner of the law firm Smith, Pennyworth, and Jones, one of the biggest, oldest and most prestigious firms in the state.
Into the brightly polished briefcase went the oversized company four-color brochures – fourteen glorious glossy pages in length, every piece of product and service material – all twenty-eight pages, questions and answers from all previous clients – eleven pages in length…
And to top it off, Bob added the complete introductory slide presentation and videotape outlining just how thorough his firm was.
“I am going to knock him dead with this stuff. My first appointment and I’m going to close him.”
Bob, it could be said, was confident.
Upon arriving at the office, he walked assuredly up to the receptionist and announced in a firm voice that he was here to see Mr. Smith.
“Oh dear”, began the receptionist, “Mr. Smith had to cancel your appointment at the last minute. One of the firm’s oldest clients suddenly needed his expertise. He asked if you could leave any material that you brought so that he could review it and get back to you.”
“Yes, I can”. With that, Bob disgorged a truly impressive pile onto the receptionist’s desk….(and brochures don’t sell)
“Well,” she responded, “You certainly are thorough. Mr. Smith will appreciate your diligence.”
While disappointed that he was unable to meet with Mr. Smith, Bob knew that within a matter of days, Mr. Smith would be calling.
Bob waited a few days. And then a few more. Finally, Bob called. “Mr. Smith was reviewing the material and would get back.” After ten phone calls, all with the same result, Bob decided that this prospect was a waste of time.
Bob thought what the prospect wanted was his information. NO, NO, NO! Your product or service is secondary to what you uncover in the interview. Don’t let your client conduct their own interview! If you were hiring someone and spending your own money to pay them would you send them information on your company and let THEM decide to work there or not. Then don’t do it here!
Companies spend thousands of dollars creating, printing, storing, distributing and delivering thousands of pieces of paper whose goal is to get the prospect to buy whatever is being sold.Prospects do not buy sales literature.
Unfortunately, as you saw with Bob and Mr. Winfred P. Smith, the “sales literature”, regardless of its form, is only useful if someone reads it. Mr. Smith will someday probably get around to doing just that, but in the meantime, since in his mind he has everything he needs to make a decision sitting on the sofa, he has absolutely no reason to meet with Bob.
A second danger in the show up and throw up is that you have no idea or control over what is in the mind of the person who finally gets around to reading what you left. Your product and/or service could be exactly what the prospect needs, but because the prospect interprets your literature in a way that is different from what you expect, you are summarily tossed into the circular file.You are not there at that moment to correct his mistaken impressions.
Leaving sales literature or sending sales literature in place of being there yourself is a waste of time and money, except in one situation. If the prospect has told you exactly what he needs as a result of you questioning him, and your “sales literature” is specifically confined to his need, then send it or leave it. In any other situation, you are wasting your time, your company’s money and perhaps more importantly, keeping yourself from prospecting for those who will buy.