The summer after my senior year of high school, I found my way into a sales job with Vector Marketing (Cutco Knives).
It was a 100% commission job so if I didn’t produce I didn’t make any money.
Fortunately, the knives were actually very good and the company offered a lifetime guarantee so they weren’t that hard to sell.
The hard part (for me anyway) was getting the appointments from people to hear me give the presentation.
The company provided a “binder” that they wanted us to go through page by page. They stressed that it was supremely important that I go through every… single… page.
Information about the company, when it was founded, etc, etc.
I quickly found out that people’s eyes would glaze over when I went through those pages.
In fact, I had repeated the sales script so often that even I would glaze over lol
During one particular appointment that I’ll never forget, I was going on autopilot and forgot I had the “Trimmer” in my hand (it’s Cutco’s version of a utility knife – it’s sharp!).
Apparently, I had cut myself and not even noticed it.
The lady’s eyes got big and she just said…
“Hey, you’re bleeding…”
I looked up at her but still glazed over I said… “mmhmm” and kept on going with the script…
“No, look, you’re bleeding! Are you ok?”
Sure enough, I had cut myself and was bleeding on the presentation and her kitchen table!
It hurt but I just gritted my teeth, asked for a paper towel, put a smile on like everything was fine and then rushed through the rest of the presentation.
Unfortunately, she did not end up buying and just looked at me sympathetically as she led me out of her kitchen and out of her house. It was so embarrassing!
After that incident, I adjusted how I gave my presentations.
Instead of focusing on the word-for-word script and flipping through the pages in the binder…
I relaxed, memorized the structure of the script, I still made sure I highlighted the important bits, but the main difference…
I put EXTRA emphasis on demonstrating the knives and proving how good the knives actually are.
The team had provided us with some leather squares to cut during our presentation…
…but I found it was even better if I used tomatoes.
If you’ve ever tried to cut tomatoes with a dull knife, you know how messy it can get.
So I made sure to take a few tomatoes with me to every appointment.
I would then go through some of the important bits of the script, but very quickly would move into my “challenge”.
I would say…
“Hey, I’d like to show you something…can you pull out your favorite/sharpest knife that you use every day?”
Then as they walked over to get the knife I would say…
“I’ve brought some tomatoes with me today and I’d like to try an experiment with you. Is that ok?”
I’d wait for their agreement, and then I’d continue…
“I’d like you to cut through this tomato with your favorite knife as you normally would. Then, I’d like you to use this knife [as I handed over the Trimmer] to slice through this second tomato and notice how it feels. If you don’t see any difference, I’ll get out of your hair but if you feel like it’s the smoothest, neatest, easiest tomato cut you’ve ever made, would you consider buying at least one knife today?”
99% of the time I’d get a “yes” to that question.
And then once they tried the knife for themselves, most people would buy. And a large percentage of them wouldn’t buy just one knife, they’d buy entire kits!
Because of undeniable, demonstrable proof!
“If that knife was this good, the others must be good too.”
I didn’t have to convince them that the knives were good. They convinced themselves.
Take a look at your business.
What could your version of the tomato slice test be?
Maybe you’re not selling knives, but how could you get your potential customers to experience the tangible benefits of what you have to offer and see for themselves that what you have actually works?
If you sell an information product, a higher end program, or a consulting service…
1 – Identify your best, most effective strategy, tactic, or technique that you know always works.
2 – Give it away for free (or sell it as a low priced front-end offer) to as many people in your target market as possible.
3 – Once they get the results from it, they will more readily want to buy your main product, higher end program, or consulting because… “Wow, this thing is good, their other stuff must be good too.”
Think about it and see what you can come up with!
See you next time…
P.S. Are you actively trying to get your business off the ground but you’ve hit a wall and feel stuck?
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