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But I’m new in this market

July 23rd, 2008

I got this e-mail last week:

Dear Julian,

I just read your post on “How to do a drop-in sales call” with great interest because I am about to embark on such a task, but you have two assets I lack at the moment: experience in the target market and current clients.

In your sales pitch example, you already have an established library show business and you are telling the potential client that you just finished one show and are on your way to another. Also, because your business is established, you have a lengthy roster of satisfied library clients. Great.

But I’m just branching out into the daycare market. I have a lengthy list of satisfied birthday party clients, but a very short list of satisfied commercial clients. Also, unlike you, I am NOT all booked up this year.

Finally, although I have what I consider to be a pretty good web site, I do not have any printed material to offer to a potential day care client.I’d be interested in your suggestions about how to approach these start-from-scratch calls.

Sincerely,
Larry Lipman

MY RESPONSE:

First of all, printed material can be pretty simple to create. A cover letter printed out on a laser printer or ink jet printer that has bullet points of what you offer along with a price might be all that you need, particularly for the day care market (always call them “Child Care Facilities” when you visit as some places such as Montessori schools are quite offended by the term “Day Care”).

For any type of educational market make sure that your sales letter has no spelling or grammar mistakes! I know there are other marketing experts who say that grammar doesn’t matter, but in the educational market it is suicide.

Determine what value you are bringing to the group. If you are promising just a fun magic show, then you should be able to do fairly well in the summer time at day cares. But if you can provide an educational program that’s still really fun then it will be even easier. What will the kids learn? How will you KNOW they learned it? How will their parents KNOW they learned it when the kids go home that evening?

A day care director (like any business owner) is interested in more customers, more customer loyalty, and making life easier. If the place is fun, the kids want to come back. And if they are learning then the parents want them to come back. And if you take care of all that, then you make the director’s life easier.

These are just simple marketing concepts that need to be thought about before you go in the door.

Now, to your real question, which seems to be: What do you say when you don’t have a bunch of customers already? The answer hinges on what you come up with from the previous paragraphs. Try this as an example of what I would do if I had to go back in time to when I first started and all I had was one “fun” show and one “educationally significant” show (which was also quite fun!), based on Texas history with a cowboy theme.

“Who is the director here?” (people answer this much more readily than “Is the director in?” which screams “SALES CALL”)

“Where is s/he?”

“Hi. My name is Larry Lipman and I perform fun, educationally based assembly programs for schools and child care facilities like yours. I’ve had the opportunity to perform for many of your students and even for the president of the United States twice but I haven’t had the opportunity to perform for you. [BTW: Larry actually has performed at The White House on two different occasions, so for him this is true, if it isn’t for you, you would not say that, but the point is to use what you have]

I know you’re busy, so I wanted to drop this off in person so it doesn’t get lost among all the other things you’re working on, but I’d love for you to look it over and see if you have any questions, then give me a call if you’d like to schedule a fun, hassle-free assembly program for your students that will have them rolling on the floor laughing so hard they don’t even realize that they are learning facts about ______ , ______, and ________ [fill in the blanks, use all 3 and no more].

“My fee schedule is on the letter I just gave you, but if you are networked with other facilities, or if you can be flexible in your scheduling, then we might be able to group book in the area and save some money off that price.”

[Now, if you want to move toward the close, which, in this case I would recommend, you might ask…] “Have you ever brought in a paid presenter for an assembly program like this before?” Then just let them talk and in the process they will ask the questions they care about and each one you answer brings you closer to the sale.

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