Finding and Following Leads 1

letters, salesman, personal, letter, visit, salesmans and sales

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The increasing tendency to coordinate all avail able selling methods is giving the letter a place of increasing importance, along with advertising, as a means whereby to pave the approach and reinforce the visit of the personal salesman. Personal sales men are readily led to appreciate what the results may be if this kind of cooperation is planned and exe cuted as carefully and completely as its possibilities warrant. Letters written by the personal salesman himself, or by a man who keeps in with him, are most likely to be successful.

Many concerns are now working all territories thru the agency of two men; one is placed in charge of personal sales; the other is held responsible for mail orders. Each man, however, shares with the other the responsibility for the total sales record in the territory. The traveling salesman "pulls" for the man at the office, gives him data for effective let ters, plans letter campaigns with him—in short, gives the correspondent the kind of cooperation necessary for success; and the correspondent, by keeping in touch with prospects and old customers, supplements the salesman's efforts most effectively.

The correspondents are frequently chosen from among men who have had training as salesmen. Even when the correspondent's chief duty is to get sales in the smaller communities, where it would not pay to send a traveling salesman, cooperation be tween him and the man, or men, on the road is de cidedly desirable.

14. Function of advance that are sent before the salesman makes his visit may serve any one of several purposes. They may merely give advance notice of the salesman's visit, or they may constitute an extensive educational campaign which will thoroly inform the prospect concerning the prop osition, and so enable the salesman to concentrate on closing the sale. Or they may—and often do— save the salesman's time by eliminating poor pros pects and finding good ones. But this method of lo cating good prospects in a town, prior to the salesman's visit, is one that involves the necessity of a thoro plan, for there is considerable risk in carry ing it out. Letters often fail to get a response from men who could easily be sold by a personal canvass. On the other hand, salesmen in many specialty lines could not possibly follow the line of least resistance without the help of letters if the Correspondence De partment did not seek out the live prospects for them.

It is seldom effective to attempt to solicit by mail a request from the prospect for a personal call from the salesman. Such requests are desirable, but they are very difficult to get. Rather than try to secure them, it is better, as a rule, to offer some special in ducement that will bring a response from all who are likely to be interested. Then, it may be advisable in many cases, to send mail pieces or let ters to these people with the idea of retaining their interest until the salesman can call. If any of these prospective buyers express further interest in re sponse to these letters, the salesman may call on them first of all when he reaches their town. If he sells these prospects—the first that he visits in the com munity—he will be encouraged to work harder than ever, and probably will accomplish much, for "noth ing succeeds like success." 15. it is best to make the first letter in a series of follow-up letters do as much as possible toward accomplishing the sale, there is a. certain advantage in sending a number of let ters which makes the follow-up system profitable in many cases. This advantage is the power of repeti tion to cause belief. "If they are so confident that I ought to be interested that they will send me all these letters, perhaps, after all, they're right and I'd better see what they have to offer" is the reasoning that rep resents a common reaction to persistency in sending out follow-up letters when the letters go to a lead of fairly good "quality." Thus, even if the first letters are not read, atten tion may be given to the third or fourth or fifth—or the tenth letter in a series, if the selling budget war rants sending as many as ten letters. Each letter, however—no matter how many are sent—ought to be self-sufficient.

It is often best to present the same fundamental selling points in each letter, but from a different point of view in every one. It is most effective to make the difference in viewpoint evident in the opening paragraphs, for in a majority of cases letters that fail are not read thru.

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