My fiancé Christopher and I were hanging out Saturday afternoon when the doorbell rang. I wasn’t expecting anyone but was pleasantly surprised to see two Mormon missionaries there.
I say “pleasantly” because, although it’s not my faith tradition, I’ve always found the missionaries to be among the nicest people on Earth.
And, since it was 95 degrees outside, I invited them in for some ice water. We chatted about all kinds of things, but halfway through I felt my marketing hat start to appear on my head.
Talking about marketing and missionaries in the same breath may seem crazy, but they have a lot in common. Both involve recognizing a need and meeting it, developing a compelling message and delivering it in a way that makes people want to take part in what you offer.
While I was asking them about their vocation, I was listening for clues as to how they are effective in spreading their (marketing) message.
The slow, painful, unenlightened approach that works poorly
Many of us are familiar with the image of Mormon missionaries bicycling around neighborhoods in their short-sleeved shirts and ties. They walk door-to-door in an attempt to deliver their message.
Since my guests had been doing this all day, I asked how many people they talked to. I was shocked by what they said:
“If we knock on 100 doors, maybe one of those will invite us in.”
UGH! Can you imagine how dejected they must feel at the end of the day?
This is basically a “cold-calling” method, the same idea as if you got on the phone and dialed 100 strangers and found you only got into a conversation with one of them.
Although well-trained salespeople can make this technique work better, most of you reading this would probably rather eat glass. Marketing to strangers is an ineffective strategy.
My clients learn that in the very first lesson of my teleseminar series, the Fast Track to More Clients. It’s a real relief to know that you don’t have to try to sell things to people you don’t know.
Let’s review: marketing to strangers feels terrible, and it’s not effective. Let’s cross that slow, painful, unenlightened approach off our list of marketing tactics.
So, if you can’t market to strangers, what can you do?
The enjoyable, effective, enlightened approach that works successfully
For the answer to that question, let’s check back in with the missionaries:
Turns out, they have another marketing technique they use that works way better and is really fun to do.
Members of the local church invite their friends over to meet the missionaries. In these small groups people feel comfortable listening to their message and sometimes decide to join the church. It’s kind of a faith-based Tupperware party.
From a marketing standpoint, this method gets better results because of the affiliation with the church member hosting the event. Instead of trying to get the attention of strangers whose point of view, needs and attitudes you do not know, you’d be speaking to those who are probably similar to the host. In sales terms, it’s a warmer lead.
I employ this technique frequently by having networking lunches. I invite two or three colleagues to lunch and ask them each to bring a guest. In doing so, I meet people who are quite like my colleagues, whom I already know, like and trust. They’re not strangers; they’re friends of my friends.
Could you be more enlightened in your marketing strategies?
I’d be willing to bet that you are not doing much cold-calling or door-knocking in your business. But, I would ask you to consider: are you trying to market to strangers?
Is there some way you can create – and leverage – an affiliation with them before they get your marketing message?
I wish you success as you spread the good news about your services to your intended audience.