November 9, 2008|Kim's Blog|

No. This isn’t an attempt at on-line dating but a comment on the challenges of selling.

I gave up my Saturday evening to help out a friend of mine who is a member of Roundtable and who has invested a huge amount of his time and energy developing the West London membership and in organising events such as the fabulous firework display at Kempton Park last night (Well done my friend!)

My role appeared simple. A colleague and I, wrapped in roundtable sashes (this is the closest I ever got to wearing such an item – having never been in a beauty pageant!)were to approach men in the target age range to get their name and contact details in exchange for an a free evening of dinner, drinks and slot car racing in a totally male environment and to listen to some information about the Roundtable (which, for your information, aims to help develop young men, raise money for charity and for them to have lots of fun in doing so – oh yes, and their womenfolk get invited along to some events). I thought I had a winning sales proposition.

There were around 12,000 people at this event and, by rough estimate, at least 20% met the target criteria. Excellent!

I have to say that whilst selling to commercial organisations has long been an area of interest, study and work for me (having even written a book on the subject almost a decade ago)approaching people completely cold, out in the chilly evening air and rain, whilst they are enjoying precious down time with their loved ones and families proved to be a challenge. How to approach people? What opening line to use? What would be the compelling question or statement to engage in conversation? How to remove the natural fear that people have of those bearing clipboards? How to be heard above the noise of a live radio broadcast and a magnificent funfair? How to overcome people’s incorrect perceptions about charitable/men only organisations? How to encourage people that it might be fun and fulfilling to do something for charity or their community? How to persuade people that the free offer of an evening’s entertainment was genuine?

I have to say that I will forever more look at those poor street canvassers in a new light. And I will listen to the first few lines of what they have to say without being so suspicious or dismissive in future. Aren’t we, in the professions, lucky not to have to generate new clients this way? I guess it makes the other methods of marketing and communication so much more attractive.

And how do I continue to help out my friend? Well, if you would like to know more about Roundtable, have a look at the web site. Better still, drop me an email and I will pass on your details to my friend and his free invite to a fun evening later on in November…