Survey Canvas

This was my view when sipping a rare cappuccino in a local Cape Town cafe, two chaps walked in and approached the manager with this.

We’re just doing a local health and safety survey in the area. Do you know it’s the law to have a first aid kit on the premises. Do you have a first aid kit?

The answer was a disinterested nod yes of the head. The spokesman said thanks and left immediately.

Well, first the positive. At least they were asking a question. Hunting out leads. Getting off their rears and getting out there. Although quite why it took two of them, I’m not entirely sure.

Sadly, I’m struggling to picture how they’ll make hay though with this. Surely they can’t be selling solely first aid kits? If someone says they haven’t got one, what next?

It reminded me of painful pitches I was long ago privy to in the incredible world of fire extinguishers. There was supposedly once a culture of ‘it’s the law guvnor, and if you don’t buy from me right now, you’ll get a visit from the local fire officer sharpish, mate…’ Clearly not right.

So, how to improve on the pitch I heard?

No-one likes to be on the receiving end of a mandatory purchase pitch. And in this case, the tactic will yield poor ‘numbers game’ results for sure. I think you’ve got to remove yourself completely from this mentality.

I suspect that most potential buyers won’t willingly equate a regulatory requirement with an immediate need. If the problem to home in on then is not the regs, then what is it? It’s difficult to recommend without knowing the full contents of the sales bag involved, but hopefully there’s something to hang your hat on inside.

I’m reminded of the old building site reps. They’d walk onto a construction site with a bucket full of commonly used disposables. Tools, fixings, gloves. Items used a lot and replaced just as often. They hope to find someone in need right at that time. And even sell the bucket.

Maybe my dynamic duo could walk in brandishing a kit? Even sell some plasters to start a relationship? It’s a tough door-to-door world. But at the very least there should be some kind of conversation that brings out what’s in place, how often replenishment occurs, and eke out some other habit or need.

And there’s the run off in b2b-land. Assess your pitch. If there’s any element that smells of a binary one-in-a-squillion stop-go, then how can you ditch it and instead generate a proper conversation?

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