Generating new customer leads…The Kirby Way

My wife shouted so loud that it scared me and the cats darned near to death as they bolted out of the room.

Jumping up and down like a 5 year old ripping open their Christmas presents, she screamed, “I won a $1000 gift certificate from the vacuum cleaner salesman.”

By the way, this is a true story and a little longer than usual but it shows first-hand the brilliant use of  a great marketing technique.

  Meet the friendly neighborhood Kirby dude

He was a well dressed Kirby salesman.  You know, the $2000 vacuum cleaners that will suck your heart right out of your body. After the complimentary carpet shampoo, he proceeded to give the wife a big honkin stack of green raffle tickets to fill out with a chance to win some (alot actually) free of groceries.

I still didn’t “get it”.  Why would a vacuum cleaner salesman do that?

This guy actually gave up 3 hours of his evening at my house to shampoo one of our carpets (for free, nonetheless), PLUS he knew we already had a Kirby and were not interested in spending more money for a newer model. So his chances of making a sale to her was umm…slim to to none.  But to him, that was OK.

Now, as most of us know, nothing in life is completely free.  What I found out next intrigued me.

If my wife gave him a list of 25 names and numbers of friends and relatives, he would give her these tickets with a chance to win a valuable contest.

Ahh…There was the tradeoff, giving him a list of 25 leads to contact in exchange for a good chance to win a contest.

He didn’t give a high pressure sales pitch to her at all.  He tried, of course to get her to buy a new Kirby (very low key), but he knew the low odds going in.  

So I asked him about his closing rate, and he said that on average, he closes 75% of his appointments.

Think about it… 75 percent closing rate.  Or put another way, he sells new vacuum cleaners to 3 out of every 4 appointments he goes to. 75%… I don’t know of too many other salesmen in any business that can boast that high of a closing rate.

 Here’s the valuable marketing takeaways I got from him

#1. This very personable salesman spent significant time and resources on my wife, but went away without a sale, BUT he left with a list of 25 leads to follow up on. 

#2.  Even though we were a “no sale”, he continued to be nice and professional, so if we (or my wife- she talks a lot more than I do) happen to run across someone else looking for a vacuum, guess who she would recommend?

 #3. Without acting all disappointed and unprofessional knowing he wasn’t going to get any money from us directly, he still didn’t give my wife a long, drawn out high-pressure sales pitch.  He was very low key.  He knew that a) it wouldn’t work with us and b) he got a bunch of new leads to work on.

 #4. He mentioned he gets at least 15 leads per appointment (in our case 25) no matter if the prospect buys or not.

 #5. He has learned that a sales pitch usually doesn’t work.  Most of us (me included) HATE a sales pitch.  I was actually surprised when he didn’t give one, but I guess that’s the “Kirby” way of sales.

 #6. The better option is to ALWAYS keep develop new leads to work.The more leads you have, the more sales you make!  It’s as simple as that.  You figure out the numbers.

The truth is; every kind of business or sales professional could stand to use this lead generation.

The bottom line: No leads = No Sales!

After all, if a Kirby dude can be successful selling $2000 vacuum cleaners door-to-door without a hard sales pitch, can’t you do follow the same formula to generate more leads and ultimately, more money?

Hmmm…Maybe I should become a Kirby salesman.

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