Quit with the gimmicks!

A friend of mine recently received a card from an advertising agency that had been trying to get her business. It contained a packet of flower seeds and a note that read “We’ll make your business bloom” and included the sales rep’s phone number as the call to action.

Both the card and the seeds were immediately filed away in the trash can – along with any hope that agency had for getting her business.

Was it an attention-getter? Sure. Did it demonstrate a level of creativity? Absolutely. Did it motivate her to finally return the sales rep’s calls? No.

My friend was insulted that the agency believed a tacky mailing would get her to change her mind. She was also annoyed that any company, especially one that wanted her business, would waste money on something that had very little chance of working.

I have yet to hear of anyone who has been swayed by cheesy promotional gimmicks. Mailing out a “penny for your thoughts,” toy truck to “let us drive your business” or a pen emblazoned with your company’s name, logo and phone number will not engage a prospect who doesn’t want to be engaged.

So why do these stupid tactics still rank high on the list of sales techniques? They are nothing more than a waste of time and money, yet they continue to dominate the sales industry – account reps at recruitment firms are particularly guilty.

We need to stop demeaning ourselves and our prospects by using gimmicks. Let’s get back to the sales basics by demonstrating value, establishing trusted relationships and respecting our prospect’s time and intelligence.

There is probably a very good reason your phone calls are not being returned. Top sales pros will figure out what that reason is and find a way to address it, or accept that it may be time to move on to the next prospect in the pipeline.

A packet of seeds, little red fire engine or a baby shoe isn’t going to get you any closer to that deal.

3 thoughts on “Quit with the gimmicks!”

  1. Coincidentally, my most recent blog post is entitled “Sales Gimmicks”. Check it out at – http://garywiram.wordpress.com/2008/10/31/sales-gimmicks/. You’ll find that we’re very much in agreement. However, your blog post provides the best summary, when you say, “We need to stop demeaning ourselves and our prospects by using gimmicks. Let’s get back to the sales basics by demonstrating value, establishing trusted relationships and respecting our prospect’s time and intelligence.”

    Great Selling!

    Gary

  2. Very interesting article. Are you saying that no sales gimmicks ever work? Or they just didn’t work with you and your friend.

    In any follow up campaign some will be persuaded by a letter, others by attention getting tools, and still others by a phone call.

    You’re right if they would include copy that generated value, they would have stayed in front of your friend longer.

    The core mistake is when the gimmick is the message, rather than those points you describe.

    Best,

    Justin

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