Turn Chance Encounters Into New Business

Last week Fire Enterprises (FEI) Sales Tribe Leader Zoot taught Ganymede how to wield one of the most important tools in any salesperson’s toolbox: referrals. This week, Zoot shows Ganymede how to turn chance encounters into new business opportunities. Remember, fire = print.

One afternoon Ganymede strolled by Zoot’s desk to find him organizing some papers.

“Whatcha got cookin’ this afternoon, Zoot?” Ganymede asked.

“I’m going to call on Hercules Chariots, our newest client,” Zoot said.

“Wow, that’s one of Olympus’s top chariot companies! How’d you land that one?”

“You’ll never believe it,” Zoot said, “But his kid and mine compete on the same Pentathlon team! We were both watching a practice the other day and got to talking. Before long, I’d signed him up for $2,000 Drachmas worth of torches!”

“Wow, talk about dumb luck!” Ganymede said.

“Actually, it wasn’t dumb at all,” Zoot said. “Capitalizing on chance encounters is smart selling. Before I run to meet Hercules, let me give you some tips to turn your next chance encounter into new business.”

Zoot started writing on the whiteboard in his office.

Create opportunities tactfully

“Social events are obviously great opportunities to meet potential customers,” Zoot said. “A relaxed, pressure-free environment allows for a natural mix of business and pleasure. However, don’t turn every youth javelin competition into an industry mixer. Steering an informal conversation toward business should be handled with tact if you want a receptive audience.”

Zoot scribbled more on the whiteboard:

Be prepared
“When you find yourself in an unplanned business discussion, don’t blow it by trying to memorize the details of your conversation,” Zoot continued. “Whether you use a smartphone, tablet, or just a sheet of paper, be prepared to take notes, which you’ll put to use later. This is especially important if you’ve made a promise, such as placing a call by a certain date or sending your prospect additional information.”

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or tj@tjtedesco.com.
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