If you've worked in any kind of business for any amount of time, you've probably heard something like this: "That's not how we do that," or maybe, "You just can't go that route."
But sometimes to stand out, you need to break some rules. So I want you to think about unique ways to sell and market your product--and to do that you're going to have to think differently and have the confidence to try something new.
There's a phrase that salespeople use: "The map is not the territory." I always think of it as a reminder not to rely on any information that doesn't jibe with your own firsthand observations. Often, what is "normal" in theory doesn't fit the reality on the streets.
So if you're looking for a way to go bold, try one of these ideas.
1. Make Some Calls
When I sold the autobiography of skateboarding champion Andy Macdonald, we wound up with a publish date in the same month as the new Harry Potter. I was told that it would be very difficult to get Andy any book signings, because all the stores were focused on promoting Harry Potter.
But I called five of the top book stores and each one said they would love to have him do a book signing--including one store that was in a mall where they sold Macdonald's sneakers right next door.
All it took was being unafraid to pick up the phone and asking the right people.
2. Take a Tour
In some industries, when a company puts together a prospect list and wants help gaining access, I've found it helpful to make a personal visit to one of the offices or store locations they have in mind. Sometimes, I'd find a situation that did not warrant pursuing; at other times, though, I might find a tremendous opportunity that my client was unaware of.
It's easy to sit in your office and work the phone, but handshakes and face-to-face meetings and feet on the street will make your territory much easier to read.
3. Look for Hidden Opportunities
Several years ago I presented Six Flags with a way to promote their theme parks by having Robbie Knievel, Evel Knievel's son, jump his motorcycle over one of their roller coasters. That idea petered out, because of the insurance costs and logistical headaches of his set-up.
But it wound up starting a dialogue. Soon we started discussing the idea of an Evel Knievel branded wooden roller coaster--with daredevil thrills, and videos of all his jumps. We signed a licensing deal, and the Six Flags St. Louis park launched the $7 million roller coaster in the summer of 2008.
Trying something new and different doesn't always work--but may lead to other opportunities that would've never have come up if you didn't try it in the first place.