Moving in for the kill

By Ricky Law, trainer and consultant

This is the final article in a four-part series on how to make contacts which can lead to success in seven strategic moves.

Reinforce your selling point, establish confidence, then celebrate the deal

The final two strategic moves are "Browse" and "Send". "Browse" is providing your targets with something to browse that will reinforce your selling pitch and build up their confidence in you or your products, preparing them for sending in their order or supporting your proposition.

Giving your audience what to browse in what format for how long in what environment is of course strategic. A high profile entrepreneur in the publishing world revealed in his biography that before he turned to publishing, he was in textiles and was once short of cashflow. He asked his friend who was the son of a renowned business mogul to request his father to issue a cheque for HK$1 million to his company and promised not to cash it. He then showed it to his creditors to "browse". He survived the crisis and later returned the cheque.

How about the graduate with an unimpressive academic record and limited work experience who wants to frame the employer to give him a job? Photos of his receiving awards from social celebrities, a copy of his 50-page report on the survey of the future of Hong Kong, and perhaps dozens of testimonial letters giving evidence of his leadership skills, organisational ability and perseverance are good materials for browsing.

You may wonder how a fresh graduate can obtain so many testimonial letters since he is unlikely to have many social contacts or influential relationships, otherwise he would have used them to get a job. This is where you should change attitude, integrate new concepts and modify behaviour. What matters in this situation is quantity, not who wrote those letters. Ask friends, family members, teachers, classmates or whoever is willing to help. Imagine you present a bag full of letters to the interviewer as testimonial to your merits. It may not guarantee you a job, but certainly a better chance, especially when you are applying for a job in sales and marketing, advertising and entertainment, all of which are businesses that value creativity.

Now comes the finale. After presenting browsing materials, how can you close the deal and get what you want, and complete the contact-to-success process?

Simple. Just ask. Request that your interviewer offer you a job. Implore your employer to give you a second chance. Remind your customers to send in their orders.

Too many people fail because they do not ask for what they want. They justify their inertia with excuses suggesting they are waiting for the right moment and deciding what to say. Even if they do ask, they only ask once. If rejected, they stop. If they change their attitude, integrate new concepts and modify their behaviour, they will certainly ask again in a different manner under a different pretext and the chance of success will be higher. A few months ago, legislative councillor Fung Kin-kee told the press that he proposed six times before his wife said yes.

Of course, you need to ask tactfully and with style to be effective. That is our last strategic move: Send.

For your audience, sending in their orders or support demands great commitment to you. You should reassure them that it is the right thing to do and that by doing so, they will benefit ultimately. How? Sandwich your request with benefits. Examples include:

"Order today; pay next year." This is a typical offer during Christmas shopping days. Actually we are talking about only a few days or at most two weeks before next year. But the claim has tremendous psychological effect.

"Enjoy a 14-day free trial and a free gift, which is yours to keep even if your return the product. Send in your order before this date and you will in addition receive a five per cent discount." This sales proposition is an all time winner for mail order operators, since the customers have nothing to lose but everything to gain, and a free gift to keep no matter what.

Unfortunately, many people do exactly the reverse. They request first, offer benefits later, and sometimes offer no benefits at all.

This brings an end to our discussion on the seven strategic moves that assure your efforts will pay off from contact to success. As a final reminder, you must prepare yourself mentally before moving on to action. Change your attitude to kill negative emotions and identify a new direction. Integrate new concepts following this direction to set up a new plan. Modify behaviour to accept this new frame and be ready for action. Moving on to the implementation stage, you need to "open" the attention of your audience, "read" them convincing arguments to retain their interests, reinforce your selling pitch with "browse" materials, and finally sandwich benefits to move prospects to "send" in their orders and/or support. Do all this and you will get what you want.

Strategic Moves

- Change attitude, integrate new concepts and modify your behaviour
- "Open" the attention of your audience and build their confidence in yourself or your products
- "Read" to your audience convincing arguments and sell with style
- Reinforce your selling pitch with "browse" materials
- Sandwich benefits to encourage prospects to "send" orders

Ricky Law is a part-time lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a registered trainer with the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC). He will conduct a public seminar on 7 August 2004 on the subject. For information and registration, please click here or call 2953 0069 for enquiries.

Taken from Career Times 30 July 2004
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