Selling from a home office presents a few unique challenges, namely how to reach potential customers, how to actually sell the stuff once you get the customers, and then, well, actually having stuff to sell—which really ought to be the first step in the process, but sadly is often overlooked. And of course, all this must happen without you having to leave the cozy confines of your home office pajamas.
Selling from a home office is the complete opposite of selling in the old days – when door to door salesmen schlepped vacuum cleaners from house to house. Instead of us going door to door, today’s home office entrepreneurs must somehow force/coerce/lure/entice/entrap or sometimes all-off-the-above our potential customers to our front door. This can be a challenge. Especially when your front door is really your side door, and no one can seem to figure that out and they keep traipsing all over your award-winning roses.
Many of the selling strategies I can suggest to you are far too complex to get into right now, so I’ll save them for my free, $3,000 seminar, “How to Sell Anything to Anyone, Any Time for Any Reason, Anywhere, Any How, and Any Way to Anyone at Any Time, Anywhere.”
For now, let me offer a few simple ideas, that anyone can do, anytime, anywhere (provided that anywhere is at your home office and that the any time happens between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m.).
My primary strategy is to take advantage of those people who are already beating a path to your door. Girl guides, newspaper deliver boys, couriers, campaigning politicians, and various people trying to sell stuff to you offer the perfect opportunity for you to make a sale without leaving your pajamas. Not only are they right there at your front door, these potential customers are, for the most part, already familiar with the sales process, since many of them are attempting to sell you things.
And by lulling them into a false sense of security by making them think they’ve got you on the hook, it becomes ever so easy to pull what’s known in sales as the old “turn-the-potential-seller-into-a-customer-by-confusing-the-heck-out-of-them” routine. And voila, the seller becomes the sellee. Instead of you digging deep into your pockets, the would-be seller is now digging deep into their pockets (or often, running back out to the mini-van to see if Mom can lend them fifty dollars).
How does this work? The process—and let’s not forget that making a sale is a process, otherwise a lot of sales trainers will be put out of business—begins by answering the door, something you may have resisted doing in the past.
Step two involves building a relationship by making eye contact, smiling and pretending to listen to the person at your front door.
Step three, which sadly, many sales people neglect to do, involves telling a hilarious joke, and/or tickling the person in order to build rapport through the power of humor.
Step four is to pretend like you are going to buy/donate/gather up your empty recyclable bottles for them, but then, pause dramatically and identify a problem that they obviously need solving. The problem should be of such a magnitude that the person will be so overwhelmed they will have completely forgotten why they are on your doorstep to begin with. Some people may burst into tears, but that’s part of the sales process, and can be as cathartic as the laughter you prompted earlier in the selling process.
Now ideally, the problem you identify should be solvable by—and you’ll like this—the very product or service you provide! Often, however, this won’t be the case. Not to worry, as long as you have depressed and overwhelmed the seller enough, they will be more than ready to purchase anything from you, since shopping has proven to be a very effective anti-depressant crutch that many down-in-the-dumps folks use as a coping mechanism.
For example, you might casually point out to them that you heard on the news there is a giant asteroid headed for earth and all known life will cease to exist in a few days. Now, unless you build nuclear space weapons capable of destroying an asteroid, I suspect your product won’t be able to help out with this particular problem. But who cares! There’s an asteroid coming! And it’s headed right for earth! Pointing this out will so depress this person that they will immediately ask you if you have anything to buy to make them feel a little better.
This leads to the final, and most important stage of the sales process: the close. So many would-be sellers (let’s call them “broke”) forget to close the deal. In your case, as a home office entrepreneur, this is simply a matter of remembering to firmly close the front door after the person has left with your product in tow.
I hope this has inspired you to reach out to the folks already dropping by your house, because, let’s face it, for interrupting you during your hectic, home office life, they deserve it. (Okay, this sounds a little mean, but I couldn’t think of any other way to close. Hmm…closing the deal is harder than I thought . . .)
Copyright Michael Kerr. Michael Kerr is a Hall of Fame international business speaker, very funny motivational speaker, trainer, and author of six books, including Inspiring Workplaces and The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank. www.HumoratWork.com
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