Selling Outside the Box

As we have met dealers around the country, we have come across several off-the-wall lead generation techniques. These new ideas demonstrate what happens when you think outside the box. Remember to keep thinking; don’t convince yourself that leads cannot be found. If there were an award for great ideas that are outside the box, we believe the following methods would be winners.

Selling a Water Test

Several dealers use an idea that works well and has customers actually calling to get an appointment. Dealers print up boxes with glossy exteriors and nice graphics to sell professional water tests. They print a price on the box of, say, $15 for the test. Inside is a description of the test and why it is important, and a water sample container. The directions state that customers should fill the tube with tap water and mail it to the dealer in the enclosed envelope, or call the dealer to arrange a test date. Either way, the dealer delivers the test results, and a professional explains the results. Many dealers simply buy prepackaged water tests from other companies and avoid the cost and trouble of producing their own packaging.

These dealers give the water tests to local stores at no charge, as long as the stores commit to displaying the boxes on shelves or at the checkout. This technique is very effective because it generates leads from people who are interested in having their water tested. In fact, they are interested enough to pay for the test. If the store sells 100 tests, it will make a pure profit of $1,500. The customer receives a great test, and the dealer generates leads to cover the cost of the water test and packaging.

Promoting your services in local area stores gives you the opportunity to go directly to the consumers. Soon, people will be calling you and saying, “I bought a water test, and I’d like to schedule an appointment.” Once the appointment is set up, the only work involved in this program is to stop by the store weekly to refill the inventory and make sure the tests are prominently displayed.

Selling a Related Item

Several dealers sell related items, such as soda-making machines, to get appointments. These dealers usually go to shows and events where they have workers promote and sell these soda-making machines. In addition to selling an item that can save people money on soda, dealers can also offer to deliver the machine to the buyer’s home and test the water to make sure it will taste great when making soda. The delivery person does a demo and often finds that the customer needs to improve his or her water. Many dealers offer to give the customer the soda machine at no charge if the customer decides to improve his or her water by installing an RO or another type of a water treatment system.

You would be amazed at how many soda machines you can sell at a weekend show. The cost of the show, the staff and the machines is far less than many other forms of advertising, and this method draws people who are interested in taste. These folks are our best prospects. This method works so well that some dealers are selling the machines via infomercials and are inundated with customers asking for the machines.

Working Smarter

As you can see, these techniques are great ways to generate appointments. Why settle for two appointments per day when you can have more? Best of all, these methods find people who are interested enough in better water to take some action or invest some money. You will find that when you use these “warm” techniques, you are working smarter and not harder.

Authors’ Note: Send us your creative ideas, and be sure to contact us if you would like to receive additional information on any of the lead generation techniques discussed in this column.

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About the author

Carl Davidson and Ric Harry are directors of Sales and Management Solutions, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in sales & management video training, recruiting and live seminars exclusively for the water equipment industry. A free demonstration video and list of products and topics is available at 800.941.0068. Send comments on this article to them at [email protected];