Is your sales approach from the 20th century?

No lie, the Swiss Miss girl showed up at my front door the other day. She had braids, the accent, that innocent look on her face – I mean, she was the whole package.

Hello! How are you today?

Fine.

I am an exchange student from Europe, and I am going around the neighborhood to meet moms like you. I’d like to show you some educational books today.

I’m not interested, but thank you.

But wait … aren’t you a mother?

Yes.

These books are very educational. Don’t you like to teach your children?

I’m really not interested in buying any books, but thank you for you stopping by.

But wait …

Really, thank you. I have to go now.

And then she rode off on her bicycle.

While I was slightly annoyed, mostly I felt sorry for the girl. What company sent her out in the year 2013 to sell books door-to-door? That sales tactic may have worked for encyclopedia salesmen in the 1960s but it doesn’t work anymore. Even encyclopedia companies have wised up on that.

But while you don’t see a lot of door-to-door-encyclopedia salesmen anymore (unless you live in my neighborhood, apparently), there are still people who use this sales approach in business. They show up at your office unannounced, expecting you to drop everything so you can listen to their spiel. They make you uncomfortable and annoyed, much like I felt when the Swiss Miss girl was at my front door.

Or maybe you’re the Swiss Miss girl who drops in unannounced at your prospects’ offices, and then you’re really annoyed when the “gatekeeper” doesn’t let you through or someone tells you politely, “Not today.” And when you drive away, people watch you and shake their heads, “Thank goodness he’s gone!”

If you’re “that guy (or girl),” you’ve got to stop. My guess is you’re not having much success with that approach anyway. In Brad Farris’ new book Marketing and Sales: A Love Story, he writes about sales approaches that do work in the year 2013. It means being less intrusive while at the same time putting as much information in front of your prospects as possible.

I probably should have offered this free e-book to the poor Swiss Miss girl before she rode off to try to sell more books unsuccessfully. Oh well. 

Bridget Ingebrigtsen

Bridget Ingebrigtsen owns Write On Command, a company that provides writing and editing services to businesses and not-for-profits. Bridget describes her six-year stint as Anchor Advisors' writer/editor as being "mutually beneficial" -- she helps Anchor Advisors keep their written projects on track and Anchor Advisors helps her keep her business on track. When she's not running her business, Bridget is running after her four children, two dogs and the latest in entertainment news. Connect with Bridget on Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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