If making the sale requires you to get through the door to see the top dog, you'd better not rely on casually dropping in.
You can be much more successful if you plan in advance, says Tony Frederick, CEO of FrederickSeal Inc., a Bedford, N.H., marketer of industrial sealing devices. Frederick encourages his salespeople to send postcards to customers a week before calling on them; the postcards are printed with a list of all the items the company sells, by category, and carry the message that the salesperson looks forward to a visit the following week.
Upon arriving at the customer's office, the salesperson can honestly tell the appointments secretary that his or her call is expected. "The customer then feels an obligation to make it a two-way conversation," Frederick says.
That few salespeople are so well organized turns out to be a big asset. "You stand out from other people who call," Frederick says. "You build a presence in the customer's mind."