There is no such thing as a free lunch. Clients and employers will sometimes give you branded T-shirts, caps, pens, flash disks, coffee flasks, or even a bottle of wine. Whatever gifts you get, use them as an investment to propel your sales as opposed to your popularity. When most salespeople receive such gifts they already have a waiting list of friends and family to give them to. The client doesn’t mind that -- in fact, he is counting on it.
For instance, when calendars were still in vogue, the more desks and walls that had them, the more the client knew his investment in free advertising had paid off. Yes, it’s not a gift he is giving you. There is a reason why it’s branded-it’s advertising material he is distributing through you. What to do? Learn from this revelation. There is no free lunch. The ‘gifts’ are an investment the client expects will pay off through you; so use the gifts as an investment that will pay for you. And payment here does not refer to the accolades you get from family and friends, some who get offended when they do not receive it. Payment here refers to extending the gifts to areas that will accelerate your sales.
For instance, extending those gifts to back-office staff is one such way. These are the unsung heroes of every sale. They are the ones that will spend months slogging away installing the bank-wide software you sold. Back office staff, are the ones that will hold off the printing press past the deadline just so that your tardy client’s advert appears on the day promised. Gift them the cap saying, “Thank you for the support. The client was so happy they gave me this gift. We both know you deserve it more, so here. Thank you.” Process-oriented back-office staff vilify results-oriented sales staff and the feeling is mutual. Animosity with stakeholders to a sale is not a relationship the progressive seller encourages.
Investing in back-office staff in this way assuages the vilification and gets the seller favours in the year.
Another ingenious way was recently shared with me by a former highflying medical representative now businessman — he used to share his gifts with medical representatives from competing companies.
The pen they use for detailing (making a presentation to a doctor) would be branded his medicine, say, Xenolyn, so too the deodorant in the medical representative’s car. He would seek to give a suitable gift for every point of contact the competing medical rep would make with the doctor. The result? Brand reinforcement. He knew the doctor was aware of Xenolyn but just not bought into it.
However, seeing it repeatedly with other reps kept Xenolyn securely positioned in the doctor’s mind and just a call away from prescribing it.
What about you? With the gifts you get, are you boosting your sales or your popularity?