Face To Face Marketing: What it is and Why it Matters
How many times have you heard someone say something along the lines of, 'If I could just get people to walk through the front door/try my product/give me the time of day, then they'd be sure to buy from me!'
What the business owner really means here is, 'If people just gave me the chance to sell to them, then I'd definitely make the sale!'
Not everyone who says this is correct; sometimes their product or service will be poor-quality, sometimes it'll be too expensive, and sometimes the salesman will just do a bad job of selling.
But, there is definitely truth to the idea that if you can just get yourself in front of people, face to face, and persuade them to let you talk, then you'll have a much, much better chance of selling your wares than you would have if you'd used any other marketing method, such as cold calling, cold emailing or buying a print ad (as long as you know how to sell of course!).
This is because, when you sell to people face to face, you have a much larger opportunity than any other marketing method to earn people's trust, and this is hugely important, as people tend to buy from other people who they both trust and like.
Think back for one second to the last cold call or cold email that you received; did you like and trust the person who was contacting you? I'm pretty sure the answer to this question will be no.
But now imagine that you've been invited to pitch your products or services to a potential client. Now you've got a great chance to win their business (bear in mind that 'cold selling' face to face to people who you haven't met before is a completely different matter, and is not what I'm referring to in this article).
By pitching face to face to people who have demonstrated a strong enough interest in your business to invite you in to talk to them, you have a golden opportunity to make money. And assuming that your product or service is good enough to actually help your prospective client solve the problem they need to solve, you can almost guarantee them buying from you if you follow the face to face marketing guidelines that I outline below.
Face To Face Marketing Guidelines
1) Research the company you're pitching to
Know everything about your prospective client, and plan everything that you're going to say to them. This will involve googling the business, learning about what they do, and who they do it for. Try to gain some understanding about what business problems they face on a day to day basis.
Remember that your prospective client is looking to hire you to solve a problem for them, so it's important you understand what that problem is, and how you can solve it.
2) Research the person you're pitching to
Find out who you're meeting, and learn about them. Google them, look at their Linkedin profile and Twitter page, read any publications that they have written. Again, this will help you to understand exactly what it is that your prospective client does, and how you can help them.
Also, by learning a bit about who you'll be speaking to, you can pick up little bits of information that you can use to form a kind of rapport between you and the prospect, like (for example) finding out that they hate business jargon acronyms such as KPI's, CPC and CTR, and then mentioning during your pitch that you hate them too (without letting the prospect know that you've hunted out this information about them of course). Little things like this can help you to establish a connection between you and your prospect, and build their trust in you, which, as mentioned before, is vitally important to get people to buy from you.
3) Prepare your response to their objections
At some point, your prospect will most likely have an objection or a reservation about something you've suggested. Whether it's your price, your approach, or anything else. Spend time before your pitch to analyse what possible objections they could have to your services, and work out detailed, thorough responses to them, that address the concerns behind your prospect's reservations, and explain why they should not be concerned about such matters.
For example, if a prospect thinks you're too expensive, you may tell them that what's really expensive, is hiring someone cheap to do a bad job, then hiring someone competent to fix it all for them.
4) Don't Be Late
Seriously, don't be.
5) Don't Be Late!
I'm mentioning this again because it's that important. DO. NOT. BE. LATE.
6) Look The Part
You don't have to turn up looking as suave and composed as James Bond or Hilary Clinton, but just do the simple things well i.e. wear a decent looking, clean business suit, polish your shoes, make your hair look nice, and make sure that you have everything you need to hand, so you don't have to fumble about looking for that vitally important paper document, which may undermine the professional image you're trying to convey.
7) Listen To What Your Prospect Says
Whenever your prospect speaks, listen to what they say and don't talk over them! Remember, you are here to give them what they want, so if they start talking about what they're looking for, or give you indications about the problems they want you to solve, you must listen, and then formulate a response that convinces them that you're the guy (or girl) who can do the things they need done.
8) Don't Leave The Meeting Without Getting A Commitment Of Some Kind
Be sure to close the sale if you can, but if you're unable to do this, then ask your prospect to pencil in another meeting where you can follow up with them about what you've just proposed. Or, if they're not willing to give you that, then make absolutely sure to take their company phone numbers, and arrange a convenient time in a week or so when you'll call (not email!) them, and discuss how they're feeling about what you've proposed.
Then, during this call, if you can't secure the sale for whatever reason, ask your prospect if there's anything else you can do for them that will tempt them into trying you out. If they're not convinced by what you're offering, then you can offer them a plan which has minimal commitment, i.e. you can offer them a short-term contract at a heavily discounted rate, just to prove to your prospect that you know what you're doing, and at the end of the contract, you can then talk about upgrading their contract to your core product or service offer, while also giving them the option to walk away with no obligations, if needs be, so that they don't feel locked into something which may not benefit them in the long term.
Following the advice contained in this article will help you to significantly improve your face to face marketing efforts, and will help you to sell more of your products and services to any prospects you're able to get in front of.
These techniques however are no substitute for the very basics of having something good to sell, which will really help your prospect to solve some of their most pressing business needs, and of knowing the benefits and features of what you're selling inside-out and back to front. If you don't have these basics, then it'll be very difficult for you to convince your prospects to buy from you, no matter how good your sales technique is, so be sure to have these basics thoroughly covered before you dive into your face to face selling campaigns.
Thanks for reading!