OPINION: I recently had a great marketing strategy shared with me by business expert Dan Swanson. The strategy is called “Lunch Marketing” and allow me to hand over to Dan to explain how it works…
I have had my own businesses for most of the past 40 years and an important function of any entrepreneur is to attract more clients.
I had a terrible problem though, I was horribly shy. My sales attempts have been horrible.
On the other hand, I was great for having lunch with people.
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I did not spit my food out while I was talking, I did not spill food or drink on the person I was having dinner with and I read the How to earn friends Dale Carnegie’s book several times, so I can have a good conversation with people.
As I had more and more children, my need to learn how to sell became more and more vital. Fortunately, I stumbled across a technique that I ended up calling Lunch Marketing. It just happened like that.
I would attend meetings. Back in the days when I started instead of going to a website, I had to browse the Tuesday edition of the Dallas Morning News where people holding local meetings would announce the time, date and location of their events.
I tried to go at least once a month and sometimes once a week. While at the meeting, I strike up a conversation with four to six of the participants to find out what they have done.
For those who seemed to have a need that I could help them with, I would ask them to come together for lunch saying that I would like to get to know them better. About 80 percent of those I invite would say yes.
When we got together for lunch a few days later, we were discussing our families, our jobs, and the things that interested us.
After we developed a rapport, I would ask them what they did for a living, specifically their job title.
Once I knew more about what they were doing, I would ask them what their biggest challenges were. Sometimes I would ask him the question and say, “If you had a magic wand and could solve any problem in your business, which one would you most like to solve?” “
If I knew the solution at the time, and it was a short answer, I would just tell them what I thought would solve their biggest challenge.
If this was something I could fix but it would take a better understanding of the specifics of the problem, I would say I have a good idea of how to fix it but would ask to meet them at their office to find out. more on the details by reviewing the situation or speaking with their technicians to better understand the nature of the problem.
If this was a problem that I didn’t want to fix because it was too small or didn’t have the skills to fix the problem, but I knew someone who did, I would introduce it to someone I knew who would solve the problem.
I was at a business meeting in Dallas and got to know most of the members. One of them owned a private jet brokerage firm.
When we spoke in the meeting, I discovered that he was having a hard time finding buyers and sellers. So I told him I had some ideas but suggested we meet at his office to discuss it further.
A few days later, I went to his office and we went through his entire business process, from finding planes to sell, creating an agreement with the seller, and then the process he went through to list. aircraft for sale and interview potential buyers who responded to the ads.
I suggested that he might want to make some changes to his website, his list of planes for sale, and change what he said when called in by potential buyers.
He seemed very interested and introduced me to his capital partner to finance the operation and acquire private jets. I mentioned that I would make him an offer in a few days. Then left his office.
A few days later, I finished the proposal and set up a meeting to review it with him. We went through the proposal together in person, and he asked a few clarifying questions and signed the contract and paid my deposit on the spot.
Another example was inviting a friend of mine who was the president of a $ 250 million company to lunch.
We talked about our families, our hobbies and our businesses. Then I asked him what was the biggest challenge he faced.
At the time he was running a telecommunications company and the cost of his phone lines from Ireland was killing him. I suggested that I come to his office and talk to his tech staff to find out more.
A few days later, I met five of his technicians and they described to me in detail what the problem was. I then verbalized a solution that would reduce their costs by 75%.
They were very interested in the solution and asked me for a proposal. I gave them one a few days later, and they liked what they saw and landed a six month contract to implement the solution.
Six months later, I had completed the project which had saved them over a million dollars per month in long distance line charges to Ireland, which was their hub for all calls made and destined. to Europe.
How to put this breakfast marketing into practice for your business:
1. Attend networking events or call acquaintances who are leads from the company you work for.
2. Find out what they are doing. Once you qualify them as someone who might need your products or services, tell them that you would like to get together to find out more about what they are doing? About 90 percent of the people I invited would say yes.
3. After you have lunch with them, chat with them as you would a friend about their family, their hobbies, and more about what they do at work.
4. Next, ask them what are the biggest challenges they face.
They usually have one on the tip of the tongue that drives them crazy. If this is a problem you know how to solve, you may have found the golden opportunity.
Mention that you have an idea that may be a great solution for them. Describe it to them in general terms and ask if you can drop by their office for more details to make sure your solution would really solve the problem they are describing.
Ask who else would be nice to have at the meeting when you come to visit.
About 90 percent of those I suggest meeting at their office will say yes. The remaining 10% is not sold on your solution or is not ready to fix the problem.
5. Once you are at their office meeting with their team, get more details about the issue, any technical details that would be helpful, and the impact of this unresolved issue on their business.
If they seem interested in your solution, ask them if they would like a proposal from you on how you can help them solve their problem. If the solution I suggested was okay with them, they almost always said yes (99%).
6. If I was able to identify a good solution for them, they almost always accepted my proposal, at least 90 percent of the time.
7. After you have completed the project, take the person out to lunch regularly to see how things are going and if they have a new number one problem that you might be able to fix.
This has led to many long term clients.
One of my clients asked me to solve dozens of projects over the 10 years where I consulted them on projects ranging from designing systems, hiring executives, mentoring top 18 executives, owner mentorship for seven years, help design a $ 10 million head office. , reengineering their workflows, customer services, sales scripts, etc.
I brought in over 50 different experts over the same period of time to solve dozens of issues that I was not an expert on.
It can work for all kinds of products and services.
I personally used it to land:
Development of services
Recruitment and training of executives
Construct office buildings
Outsourcing of main sections of their workforce
Replacement of old telecommunications equipment with the latest state of the art
Turn around failing companies
Acquire competitors to improve their growth
Creation of websites
And dozens of others
This technique works today as it has been for 40 years that I have been using it.
I recently attended a seminar in California and had lunch with several people during my stay. I landed a client who wanted to shut down his business and buy another.
I helped him turn around his original business by increasing his sales by 500% and his profits by 700% while growing his staff from 45 to 50 people through process improvement of his main processes.
Why does Lunch Marketing work?
I have made a lot of cold and hot sales calls to potential customers. When you introduce yourself and are led to their office, they are in a position of power.
They are most often seated behind a massive executive desk, often in a higher chair, and you are invited to sit in a chair a little lower than them. It’s like their office is a fortress to protect them from you and your “aggressive sales tactics”.
In fact, several executives I visited actually had their chairs on a 6-inch raised platform to dominate the power in their office.
In addition, there are countless interruptions and phone calls during any meeting with a senior executive, interspersed with crisis situations and minor requests to the executive’s attention.
So what I found to be much more effective was ending up in a neutral restaurant for lunch or dinner. It’s much easier to have a friendly, investigative conversation once you’re out of the office.
I use a low-key selling process called consultative selling.
So instead of making a pitch across the table when they have their resistance muscles bending the sell, you are solving problems together as a consultant on the same side of their table, solving the problems. .
Hope you have found this lunchtime marketing strategy helpful.
It is worth trying in many companies.
Graham McGregor is a marketing consultant. You can get his free marketing guide “The Selling Solution Plan B” at www.simplemarketinganswers.com