Creative Pre-Call Experiments 1 – It’s a Cake Walk!

19 10 2009

Here’s a harrowing statistic –  more than 78% of all mail is opened over the trashcan.   Dang.  Not the best news for a green sales wannabe who sends out enough “hello” and “thank you” cards to deplete her entire company’s supply of postage stamps. 

No joke – that has happened twice.

So what’s a cold-call adverse girl to do to warm up that first call??  I have decided to conduct a series of creative pre-call approaches to see how they measure up.  I have estimated that my response rate from my handwritten cards thus far has been around 0.01%.  So here goes – chEasy Money Part 1.  The cheesier, the better. 

It’s a Cake Walk:


  • Gift Bag (preferably a unique, company-related color)
  • Tissue paper (company color)
  • Note card with envelope
  • Assorted Candy
  • Ribbon (company color – getting the theme here??)
  • Card stock (cut to business card size-ish)
  • 2 business cards
  • Single slice of cake (can buy at almost any local grocery store)
  • Single-wrapped plastic utensils
  • Napkins


  • Scissors
  • Hole Punch 

Assembly Instructions:

  1. Fill the bag with tissue paper and sweet candied goodness:Step 1
  2. Tie ribbon around the cake box like it’s a gift.   Also tie the plasticware and napkin together with the ribbon. 
  3. Make the ribbon pretty by curling the ends with the scissors.
  4. Hole punch a business card and piece of cardstock.
  5. Inscribe “Working with (my company) is a piece of cake!” on the card stock.
  6. Tie business card and cardstock together on top of the cake so both are displayed:Step 2
  7. Place the plasticware and cake into the bag on the very top of everything:Step 15
  8. Write a clever note to the client (samples of mine to follow) on the card. 
  9. Place the card against the bag and hole punch in two places.
  10. Tie ribbon through the two holes to make a pretty bow on the front.  Curl the ribbon (duh).Step 3

Experimental Conclusion:

SUCCESS!!  Well so far.  I have used this once – on a local radio-based ministry.  I found out the names of the Communications Director and Development Director using LinkedIn and decided they’d be the best targets.  I dropped off the goody bags on a Friday morning and had an email requesting a printing quote from them by the following Tuesday!  All of my correspondence with them has been personal and pleasant and they have even given me insight into what their budget is for this upcoming project.  All from two pieces of $2.00 cake from a local bakery and a little creative cheesin’.  It’s going to be a bit of chEasy Money I think… har har har. 

The experiments will continue…


Don’t Build Rapport By Sucking Up.

2 10 2009

Michigan-1Rapport Building is taught in Sales 101.  You gotta find an area of commonality and build that relationship, girl! Lame.  Every other sales person goes into meetings with the same strategy – look around the office at pictures, posters, diplomas, books, whatever, and ask questions.  OMG!  You have the best sponge collection!


Aren’t you original.


I recently stumbled upon an even better way to build a connection with a new client – competition.  No really.  I had a first-meeting with the director of a nationally recognized sports organization to pitch SnapShotU, a great new online application from my company, Consolidated Graphics.  I did my pre-call research and learned all about the guy.  I was in luck and discovered that we had TONS in common – he was from the same area of Northeast Ohio as myself and even attended a college right near mine.  I couldn’t wait to impress him into liking me.


The meeting started off in the standard “arms-length-hand-shake” way as we situated ourselves around the table.  Time to implement rapport building.  I had decided that the best strategy was to slyly ask questions that I already knew the answers to: “Where are you from?”  “Gasp… OHIO?!  No way.  Me too?!  What a small, small world.  I’m shocked.” The atmosphere gradually warmed as I peppered my sales pitch with “unplanned” discoveries of areas we had in common.


As the meeting drew to a close, I decided it was time to pull my ace out of my sleeve and really seal the deal.  You see, 99% Ohioans are fierce football fans.  We are split in our loyalty to professional teams, but unite behind the crimson and gray of the Ohio State Buckeyes.  For years the Bucks have been a source of pride and camaraderie for Ohioans worldwide.  As I wrapped up the meeting, I dropped in a casual remark about the Buckeyes with a winning smile.

His smile faded.  Uh Oh.


The guy was a Michigan Wolverine’s fan – the arch-nemesis of Ohio State going back 85 years.  To my great surprise, this contention turned out to warm our relationship up even more.  I returned to my office and decided to focus on this awkward moment rather than all of the pleasantries.  I found a Michigan Wolverine’s paraphanalia site and ordered him a fan towel.  I sent it to him along with a note reading

“Here is a little something for you to show your team spirit, not that it will help you in your game against State this weekend!  Try to wave it extra hard and see if magic happens.”


Score.  By focusing on our differences I was able to make him laugh and make myself stand out.  We now have plans to attend an Air Force Football game where the combined love for beer and the pigskin will hopefully continue to position me in his mind as the first thing he thinks of when he needs print.