In Seth Godin's new book, "Small is the New Big" he tells the story of the
Fuller Brush salesman of old...
'The Fuller Brush Man knew what he was doing. In
the old days, Fuller's door-to-door salesman learned
a basic rule:
After you ring the bell, take a step or two backward.
That way, the woman of the house won't feel intimidated
opening the door for a stranger.
It wasn't just a tactic, though, it was a strategy... one designed to help the company grow by treating
people with respect, in contrast to rival salesmen who
were taught to jam a foot in the door.
You'll note that when the Fuller Brush sales force wanted to differentiate themselves from more aggressive salesmen... they didn't stop talking to customers all-together.
And they didn't stick a truck or a wagon in the middle
of the street and simply hope that the housewives of
the day came out to meet them.
Neither approach would have been very successful.
But that is exactly what many cart operators do that sell demonstration products...
In an effort to avoid 'hawking' customers, they go too
far... and stop the process of initiating discussion with
They pull back into the middle of the 'street'... or in
our case, the middle of the aisle... and simply hope
that customers stop by.
This approach tends not to work... as these operators
simply find it difficult to make enough customer contacts
to justify staying in business.
A better approach is to mimic the Fuller Brush salesman
Remain active, but not aggressive.
Initiate discussion with prospective customers in a way that
respects them, rather than attacks them.
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