If you are in sales you know one of the most challenging aspects of what you do is getting in front of prospects. Prospects and clients are bombarded constantly with items that promote, market, or advertise what people do. So we sell, buy, receive, file, or throw away items that we’re just not sure what to do with. Millions of dollars in advertising and promotions end up in the trash, completely ineffective and wasted. Add to that the constant bombardment of email messages and it becomes a never-ending battle to stand out from the crowd. Not just standing out, but being seen as a viable solution to a client’s problem. The question becomes: How do you create a message so unique and compelling when using promotional advertising that you keep your promotional advertising and unique marketing items out of the trash and on the desk? The answer is simple: use creative and appropriate methods to get recognized. Sales is really about the ability to think quickly, be flexible, creative and innovation. Regardless of what some people may believe, marketing is a huge part of the sales process. If you want to stand apart from the competition, you need to do more than sell products. You need to know how to get your foot in the door. To get your foot in the door you have to market. However, it also means making sure you have the right door and a plan for keeping your foot there. Selling is also about taking stock of your market, your prospective customer, and yourself before you even go a-knocking. It is about knowing you are doing the right thing for the right reasons. Selling is truly an art. It is not just about getting the business. It is knowing you are making a difference in the lives of others with the product or service you provide. It is being of service to others, loving what you do and having fun while you do it. Following are two fun ideas from the book, “101 Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door.” Growing Solutions A lot of selling is about assisting prospects during periods of growth. The gift of a live plant is a great way to get your foot in the door. Most everyone appreciates plants. They bring life into a dull space and provide beauty as well. You’d be hard pushed to find a prospect who will deep-six your gift of a plant. You can play on the words “growth” and “growing” while sending a gift that will stay in the office and on the prospect’s desk. Along with your card include a note that reads: -We are interested in helping during this rapid period of growth. -Is your business growing to the point that you need our service? -We’d love to help you grow. -Instructions for growth: Water once a day and call us at ______. -Congratulations on your growth.” Don’t be stingy if you’re going to do this. Buy a big healthy plant and have it professionally potted and delivered. The presentation and delivery are as important as the clever play on words. New Company in Town A great way to get your foot in the door is to be helpful long before you knock on it. When a new company hits town send them a “My Favorites” list that refers them to the best people, places, and professionals in town. Make sure these are reputable companies and individuals who offer quality products and services. If there is a specific contact, include that person’s name and number. My Favorites - list could include: -Chambers of Commerce -Conference centers -Consultants -Florist -Local associations and contact numbers -Local printer -Media contacts -Restaurants (think about including a take-out menu) -Office supply store -Places of interest -Travel agents Remember to include yourself and your services! Once they receive your list, follow up and ask if you can be of assistance in any way. The Law of Reciprocity is a strong one! The ideas for getting your foot in the door are endless. Again, all it takes is making sure you have the right door, you are appropriately creative, you believe in your product or service, and you are willing to take a risk.