If You Don’t Ask the Answer is No

My father has many wise sayings but perhaps the one that has stuck with me most is “If you don’t ask the question, the answer is no”.  This simple advice has been invaluable to me throughout my life and most importantly in my career in sales. 

Living in the North Georgia mountains, we have decided to focus much of our initial prospecting for virtual tours on rental properties.  There are scores of cabins, bed and breakfasts and other vacation get-aways for us who would benefit from our services.  Getting started with a bang happened by chance. 

I had run to the grocery store to pick up a few things and saw a truck for one of the local rental management companies.  I tracked the owner of the truck down in the store and introduced myself and told him a little about our vacation rental photography business.  I asked if I could set up a time to talk to him about doing virtual tours on his properties.  He mentioned that he and his wife had explored this in the past but it just never made it to the top of the to-do list.  I got his card and put following up with him on top of my to-do list!

After doing a little research on their web site, we realized that this company has over 50 cabins in the North Georgia area which they manage and market.  I got as much information as I could about their company from their web site and went in prepared to offer them an introductory price on 5 of the cabins just so that we could get started.  Not far into my presentation, I asked which cabins they would like to have us start with.  I managed to keep my composure when she said that she wanted us to do ALL OF THEM. 

The logic makes perfect sense…if they see the value in having a virtual tour on one of their properties, they would want them on all the properties.  But sometimes we set our expectations too low. 

The lessons learned from this are priceless…

•    We must walk into a sales presentation with a firm belief in the value of our services.  At our photography company, we know that we provide the best virtual tours in the industry.  Backed by RTV, we have access to the premier technology available in our field.  We were able to provide a package deal for them and will customize each tour based on the specifics of each individual property. 
•    While we offer a service, we must sell our service in order to make money.  To quote from the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross” we must “Always Be Closing.”  Look for opportunities everywhere you go.
•    Never leave home unprepared.  Have business cards handy at all times.
•    Remember that you never get a chance to make a first impression.  Realize that a professional image at the sales presentation won’t necessarily overcome an unprofessional image should you run into a prospective customer outside of a work environment.