I had a visit last week from someone in one of the several spinoff companies of the Amway Corporation. A pleasant fellow, like most of them are, I guess.
He had rung me a few days earlier to tell me about the coming boom in home delivery networks and the internet, and wanted to have a chat about it. Said he had contacted me because I had an ad in the local PennySaver for my PC card fax/modem, 28.8 for PowerBook, if anyone's interested :-)
Now I have a keenly tuned B.S. detector, but I think it was switched off at the time he called me, lulled into a false sense of security by his intelligent conversation. Normally I say goodbye to most offers like this before the smarmy salesguys are through the second sentence. (The first sentence is always: "How are you today friend, great weather isn't it?")
Tim didn't say this. What a change!
I said I didn't want to invest anything (Rule One: Always invest in yourself first when you own a business). He said no need to do that.
Then I said I have a thriving business (Rule Two: Don't dilute your interest or efforts elsewhere). He replied, "No worries my good friend, this will augment it handsomely - even surpass it with only a little work."
I invited him round. This was sounding good...maybe I was on to the bottom rung of the Holy Grail at last!
Well, to cut things short, as he sat down in my comfy home office, I noticed he was holding an Amway diary. I knew this because an Amway friend who has been trying for about 12 years to hook me in had sold one to my wife.
So our conversation was brief and to the point.
Afterwards, I said to our affable salesman, "One of the main reasons I won't go into your business is the sheer waste of time recruiting unqualified prospects." He looked a little sheepish at that.
I continued pleasantly but firmly, "You've come round here, spent half an hour travelling, twenty minutes talking to me, only to discover I have no interest whatsoever in your product! And you didn't even check it out at various points in our talk."
He said, "Well...what comes around goes around." (he was full of pithy, tired little sayings like that).
But as I showed him the door and promised to remain open to the concept, the thought of this gross inefficiency remained with me. And as I discussed the waste of resources and time of this meeting to my wife, it suddenly hit me.
Much of my success on the internet was due to two things. And these two essential ingredients are the ones that salesman Tim failed dismally in:
Tim failed to target me effectively. Instead of inviting me to a large seminar so that he could speak to 100 prospects at once, he went one on one...wasting hours, days, maybe months of his time on people that would only be vaguely interested. Maybe 1 in a 100 would take him up on his offer. That's a pathetic strike rate in any field.
* In my self-publishing internet business, ALL my prospects are strongly targeted through the beauty and efficiency of email. No plodding, one-by-one effort here. Instead, I use wide-ranging methods that talk to millions of people at once.
Tim failed to qualify me properly. Instead, he used a primitive qualifier - by assuming if I had a modem to sell, I must be computer literate. This is like saying - you're on the internet, you must be in the market for buying a book.
* All my targets are qualified first. They opt-in to read the first chapter of my info-manual. By this I know they are qualified...and they'll be eager to know more about it. You can't do better than that.
So, at the end of the week, I figured Tim had taught me a monster lesson. By learning from his mistakes, my marketing efforts are getting that much more effective!
PS. I never did find out exactly what Tim was selling, other than it was a pitch to come along and meet someone further up the organization. He was unable to even leave me a pamphlet. What a way to sell! It's set up for pure failure all along the way. When you compare the sales methods here with the pure effectiveness of the internet, we're on to a winner, no question about it.