How To Do In-Person Sales Calls Right

Advantages went into the field with an industry rep to see how he handled an appointment with a client. Use the insights here to spur success in your meetings. 

1. Prep Properly
John Helder, branded merchandise resource at HALO Branded Solutions (asi/356000), knows his client is interested in safety green workwear jackets for employees. He sources samples of high-quality hooded jackets that fit the bill to show David Ruckman, sales manager at Scape-Abilities. Prior to the meeting, Helder gets more of a feel for Scape-Abilities’ needs from Ruckman. Helder decides to take along samples that might meet these needs – and that demonstrate HALO’s capabilities.

2. Respond to the Clients’ Needs
Once on site, Ruckman wants to talk about more than just jackets. He’s interested in custom-manufactured ball caps that Helder provided Scape-Abilities several years ago. Helder responds to questions about the cap, explains the style and decoration attributes, and notes that, given sufficient lead time, the caps could be on employees’ heads for the busy spring and summer season.

Helder facilitates discussion about how the caps – and similarly attractive and distinctive products – can give Scape-Abilities a marketing edge. “We need our image to match the quality of our service,” says Ruckman. “We have to set ourselves apart from our competitors.”

3. Identify New Opportunities
When Ruckman mentions that Scape-Abilities would like to improve its marketing with more branded merchandise, Helder sees an opportunity to suggest a seasonally themed promotion – and to show one of the sample items his prep work led him to bring along.

Being December, Helder suggests that Scape-Abilities send clients a 2016 mini-calendar. It could feature, he suggests, Scape-Abilities’ branding, contact information and best wishes for a great New Year. Helder notes that the calendar has a much longer shelf life than a holiday card, equating to 12 months of exposure opportunities. Plus, HALO’s bulk mail permit and competitive pricing on the calendars means Scape-Abilities will pay less than what it would cost to send a holiday card to its clients. Finally – and this really impresses Ruckman – HALO can offer turnkey service, mailing the calendars on Scape-Abilities’ behalf. A quote is requested.

4. Get Creative
Soon, the discussion turns to the jackets. Scape-Abilities wants them not only to keep workers safe, but to make them immediately identifiable to customers, especially when performing snow removal work in the dark. This leads Ruckman to bring up that Scape-Abilities is interested in unique ways it can raise its profile with clients and prospects. Helder suggests a program in which referring clients receive bamboo cutting boards that bear Scape-Abilities’ branding. “You’re a high-end residential landscape company, you want to put high-perceived-value items in the home that are going to be used,” says Helder.

In addition to other recommendations, Helder says that branded write-on/wipe-off boards would be excellent for Ruckman to leave for prospects following on-site estimates at the potential customers’ homes. “If I was the homeowner,” says Ruckman, “I would be impressed by something like that.”

Come spring and summer, says Helder, flying disc giveaways would help propel Scape-Abilities’ promotions in desirable neighborhoods where the company wants to be the dominant landscape services provider. Ruckman is receptive to the idea.

5. Set the Next Step In Motion
As the meeting draws to a close, Helder establishes when he’ll follow up with Ruckman about the various potential promotional opportunities. This will include answering questions on pricing about the mini-calendars, as well as other matters.

6. Perform the Follow-Up
That evening, Helder sends Ruckman an email that briefly reiterates the value of the mini-calendar promotion. He includes a price quote, and reminds Ruckman that HALO can handle the mailing. In a separate email, Helder includes a succinct breakdown of several of his recommendations about how Scape-Abilities can use promotional products to help drive business. He offers to provide samples, and to demonstrate them at an appointment. “I always thank my clients and let them know a timeframe in which I will contact them again,” says Helder.

The Result
Through the call, Helder clinched a sale and laid the foundation for several others that were in the works as of press time. Most prominently, Ruckman ordered 24 3-in-1 system safety jackets for Scape-Abilities snow removal crew. The safety green jackets featured a black logo on the front and back, as well as website and contact information.