Creative Selling Strategies 2010

Winning With Creative Sales Techniques

I recently had the opportunity of helping to judge a group of creative sales technique entries for a large distribution company. It reminded me that creativity is now and always has been the way to win the sales game in challenging times and situations. Sometimes you utilize contemporary technology but most of the time sheer creativity is what sets you apart from the competition!

Here are some examples of entries that won the competition. These entries show what has changed and what has stayed the same in creative strategies for selling.

1. Finding and very successfully selling an off-season product to existing “summer-only” business customers. The difference here was in how the customers were identified and contacted. Historically this would have been by phone or in person but in this case the new contacts and customers came via e-blasts and Facebook. The backup and strengthening feature of the new product promotion however, was still a billboard ad campaign. How can you use technology to attract new customers or promote your creative ideas to existing customers?

2. Recognizing that a competitor’s customer was about to lose his existing supplier due to bankruptcy, this salesperson had a new showroom display model of his product delivered…to himself but at the customer’s address. When the retailer called to inform him of the miss-shipped package he apologized for the error and promised to stop by and pick it up. When he asked if they would enjoy seeing the about-to-be-released product version and received a “yes” it was the strong “buy signal” that he had been waiting for. He got the business for the year. This example of creativity would have been a winner in the past just as it was in 2010. What unexpected or remarkable things can you do to open the door or attract your potential customer’s attention?

3. Taking advantage of his bi-lingual abilities this salesperson appealed to his small service contractors (with counter card displays in Spanish) and asked for leads to other similar businesses in the Hispanic community. He offered additional support and/or leads and spiffs in exchange for new contractors signed up. That first program was so successful that he added a second level to the program for referrals to other contractors in different businesses. That was also a success. What strengths and/or unique talents can you utilize to take business away from your competition?

4. Finding a high profile name or event to tie your promotion to is (and always has been) a creative way to have promotions recognized and get response. During the World Cup soccer finals in South Africa this European rep named his July promotion after the country’s coach and team and alluded to their earlier-than-necessary demise. Because the event had everyone (including all of his customers) talking his promotion gained a bit of notoriety and was a huge success. He doubled his business from the previous year’s promotion. What are people thinking and talking about could help you set a timetable for your promotions?

5. Creating unique reports to continually remind customers (and field sales people) of an on-going promotion. This sales manager created unique and customized computer reports, simple but effective, that could continually be e-mailed to his field sales people and their customers. The reports indicated progress made and unit sales still required to attain previously agreed to sales growth incentives. The promotion was the most successful ever with his sales center achieving more than double any other center’s gains. How can you use customized computer reports to remind customers of how they can achieve success in a promotion?

6. Doing night-time, updated sales techniques training and offering customized presentation booklets for a retailer’s entire floor sales staff (as well as offering Saturday deliveries) was how this distributor sales person took 100% of the business away from his competition. The economy had stalled sales and a new round of sales training plus customized presentations rejuvenated this customer’s consumer-business. What unique training can you offer that will help a customer regain sales in a depressed economy?

7. Being creative about how products are assembled, packaged and delivered can sometimes increase volumes because of shared savings. This sales person worked with a customer and created a check with order process that, coupled with a 12 model cookie-cutter program, was able to reduce costs for the distributor and the retailer. When these savings were passed on to the consumer business increased dramatically. How can you find creative ways to save costs and pass the savings on?

No matter how much technology changes our daily lives and sales presentations, creatively solving a problem for a customer is still the winning combination. How can you help a customer regain lost sales? Find the answer and win the game!