|Knock on the Door (Photo credit: Sharon Mollerus)|
Back to the subject of initiating contact. Doing promotional work online, by mail, or even by phone are relatively easy non-confrontational ways of reaching out. These methods don't require meeting people face-to-face. You don't have to fix yourself up or buy a nice new outfit. When you are using these methods you can sit at home in your pajamas all day and no one will know the difference. It's a safe way of getting yourself known to others.
Still, the old fashioned notion of pounding the pavement and getting your foot in doors can have a big plus side. Sure, it's a lot more effort. You have to dress up and leave the house, but is that really a bad thing?
Let's say you've got your new book published or a product that you've developed and are trying to market. A personal sales pitch with product in hand is tougher to turn down than a random phone call or internet contact. You might be nervous at first, but after a few tries the personal calls should get easier.
Walking into a place of business and shaking someone's hand gives you a better opportunity at establishing a rapport that can serve you well in the future. You have a better idea of seeing what their business is about and can even get to know them as friends.
Many years ago when I was managing a wholesale distribution company we had an 800 number where the stores who purchased from us would call in to place orders and we would ship them via UPS. This worked well for everyone concerned until UPS went on strike.
We began shipping via mail and Fedex for most accounts, but I decided to take a different approach with my customers within a 100 mile radius. I decided to use my van to deliver orders to those customers. When I had a "route" established for each following day, I then called other customers in the areas where I would be delivering to see if I could get orders from them. Many of these customers hadn't ordered for a good while, but most of them thought of something for me to drop by to them.
This plan allowed for me to meet customers with whom I had only spoken to on the phone and to see what their businesses were like. I gained a far better understanding of what they were doing and we got to chat in person. My extra effort was something they appreciated and it gave them more confidence in our company as a supplier that cared about our customers.
An extra effort gets noticed. An impersonal faceless contact can be easily forgotten, but the tangible experience of opening the door to a real person when they knock carries more impact. It may take you out of your comfort zone, but after a while you should get comfortable knocking on doors. And you might find the change of scenery to be a lot of fun as well.
Have you ever done route or door-to-door sales? What advantages can you see in making personal contact in marketing efforts? Is there something you've accomplished by knocking on someone's door?