Monday, August 9, 2010

The Best Salesperson for Your Business is ...

... your product or service itself.

And the least-expensive way to get your product or service into the hands of as many prospects as possible may be sampling.

Claude Hopkins, the pioneer of modern advertising, devoted a whole chapter to sampling in his 1923 book, "Scientific Advertising."

He wrote, "The product itself should be its own best salesman. [S]amples are of prime importance. However expensive, they usually form the cheapest selling method."

How can you offer samples of what you sell?

Tip: DON'T look to your competitors for ideas. If you do, you'll end up offering the same "Free Consultation" or "Free Estimate" as everybody else.

For real breakthroughs, look outside your industry for ideas on sampling.

Mrs. Fields sample cookies
Example: Mrs. Fields built a national network of more than 250 stores on the basis of sampling.

"Providing free samples to potential customers has remained a cornerstone of the Mrs. Fields business since the very first store was opened in 1977," according to their web site.

Application: What small, irresistible piece of your knowledge, service, or product can you give away this week?

You could offer a free report with an intriguing title, like: "5 Easy Things You Can Do Right Now To Save $100 On Heating" or "7 Questions To Ask Any Plumber Before Letting Him Into Your Home."


Here's an advanced concept to remember: The purpose of sampling is not to make the sale outright, although it may happen. No. The purpose of sampling is to earn your prospect's trust and goodwill, so they are receptive to your entire sales presentation.

Done right, sampling will open your prospect's eyes and ears to what you have to show and tell.

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