People are more cautious spenders these days. Some buyers can stare down the most effective marketing ploys and not be persuaded one iota. Others are willing to spend -- but less likely to commit easily, quickly, or to larger expenditures. Forget the old sales adage "Get your foot in the door." A foot is a lot to fit in a narrowing sales doorway. Consider instead the toe-in-the-door strategy, which simply means get anything, regardless of the size of the sale, to start a buying relationship. Here's how it works.

A sales-rep-turned entrepreneur revamped his consulting firm by offering clients a lower-risk method of signing on. He had noticed a pattern among his prospects; they were all reluctant to commit to long-term, big-dollar projects. So, he repackaged his service to make it accessible from the buyer's point of view. He began to sell his ideas by-the-hour, offering his services in bite-size increments. It worked. The first client liked the concept and used an hour of the consultant's time. The first hour turned into another one, which resulted in a $5,000 project. A no-sale turned into a small sale, which led to a buying relationship.

It'll take some creative thinking on your part to devise ways to repackage your offering in this way. You'll have to work harder and longer to make more sales; however, it may be necessary in some instances. It's your call. You'll need to decide when a no-sale is better than a small one in a client relationship.

Copyright © 2000 Kimberly Stanséll. All Rights Reserved. Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form.

Published on: Oct 1, 2000