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Try Outrageous Selling! –Farquharson/Tedesco

October 2011
Brook Reinhold shadows American soldiers in Afghanistan. He rides in armored vehicles with troops on live missions. When equipment fails, Reinhold calls engineers back home and new solutions are quickly engineered and sent back to the battlefield. Reinhold isn’t a soldier; he’s an “embedded” salesman for a defense contractor. You think your territory’s tough—imagine getting shot at to make the sale!

How exactly can Reinhold’s competition sell against him? They can’t! Reinhold’s selling strategy is outrageous…and outrageously effective.

Outrageous selling delivers value beyond what prospects and customers expect. No one’s asking you to hop in a tank to sell printing, but occasionally you can and should move out of your “same old, same old” comfort zone and into the world of outrageous selling. Creativity is key. Distinctness is golden.

The Outrageous Dinner. In his last job before founding the marketing firm he runs to this day, T.J. was a sales guy for a 200-person graphic arts services company. An employee at T.J.’s largest customer told him there was one big barrier to doing another $500k-$1mm worth of business a year: their presidents didn’t know each other well. Before T.J.’s company could make the jump from “supplier” to “partner,” the two big men had to develop a better rapport.

The president of T.J.’s company had resisted meetings like this. Against the advice of his sales manager, T.J. arranged a dinner for 10 people, five from each company. He reserved a private room at one of the best restaurants in town. The day before, T.J. showed the maître d’ a picture of his company’s president and instructed him to call him by name throughout the evening.

He foil-stamped the name of each dinner attendee on a small table tent and properly positioned them around the table. A limo stocked with Dom Perignon picked up everyone from both companies and brought them to the room. T.J.’s sales manager whispered, “Good luck, pal. You may have just slit your throat.” The evening cost more than $1,000.  

A week later, the two presidents got together on their own. During the next year and beyond, T.J.’s company ended up doing as much new business with the customer as predicted.
 

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