Face-to-face or door-to-door marketing involves going from one business (or customer) to another physically with the intention of selling to them a product or service. Face-to-face marketing may seem like a nerve-wracking thing to do for the new entrepreneur or freelancer, but when it is done correctly, it can be a very powerful way to build your business and grow your customer base. In addition, face to face marketing can bring immediate results and it can be easier for first timers than telesales. If you know how to do face-to-face marketing—you can decide whether it’s something you want to implement in your business or not.

A lot of salespeople take the path of least resistance. They will prefer to call or email a prospect rather than meeting them on a face to face basis. However, customers and prospects find it easy to ignore emails and calls – and that makes selling a lot tougher. When you meet a customer face to face, you can get their full attention for that moment. A face-to-face meeting is much more persuasive. You get more information, you can gauge their reactions, find out what their objections are and overcome them.

Here are some vital tips to help you approach and sell a product to a customer face to face.

  1. Research the company

You should check the website of the company and see if you can find news and announcements concerning the company. Look for an angle that will help you sell. This information can come in handy during the meeting. If they’ve just come back from an industry exhibition for instance, ask them how it went. In addition you should also Google about the person you are meeting. Find out about their background and look for places where they are quoted such as press releases and articles. You can also find information about them on social networking websites such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

2. Be in charge of the timescales

When you book the meeting, tell them how much time you need and check how much has been allocated.

3. References

References are powerful in sales, they make it much easier for your potential customer to decide as they provide some sort of guaranty. Come to think of it, when buying something from a website like Amazon, you will feel more confident if there were user reviews on the product. In the same vein, you should try your best to support your arguments and your competence with strong and relevant references or testimonials. You will easily know if one of your references is suitable, if you think like your customer. Did you do a similar job at a relevant company for your customer? Or have you never done it? Or is your reference a large enterprise and you are trying to win a small business? If your reference is only ‘okay’, name why it will work for your prospect as well. If you do not have any references, that could be fine too. Be honest about it, you will have a reason why you are pitching the product, don’t you? Be transparent and explain your thoughts. Transparency yields to trust.

4. Be likeable

There can be many outcomes from a single meeting and you may not be able to determine if it was totally good or bad. You may receive a job right away, you may achieve a request for proposal (RFP) or they can leave it with ‘let’s see’. And that is fine, you cannot win all customers every day. What you must do is create some sort of liability. Do not push too hard for a sale if your prospect is not yet convinced. Write down the open questions and make sure they get answered. It is just the same if there are internal questions your potential customer has to sort out. Ask him when he or she will have the details and you can move on.

Most times, people will not buy what you have to offer if they do not believe they’ll get what they want and avoid what they don’t want. You become indispensable to your customer when you demonstrate that you both understand his or her problems and goals — and have the ability to help with them. For you to turn your prospective customers into real customers, you will have to solve a problem for them.

Customers will always need more information. Do not assume that they have all the necessary information and can differentiate between good and poor quality products or services. It is up to you to highlight and show the relative advantage of your product and services and how it can help them to solve their problems.

5. Prepare your response to objections

Some of the more common objections you can come across may be something like leave it with me, there’s no budget, we’re happy with who we use. Think about who you are meeting – an IT director may have different objections from a financial director, for instance.

6. Be punctual

There’s no excuse for being late so you have to leave for your destination early as you may need time to find the exact location and find a place to park.

7. Personal impression

In addition to being on time, it is also important that you should dress the part when on your way to an appointment. Dressing well does not necessarily translate into showing up in a suit, not at all. Your dressing should be adapted to the type of potential customer and to your profession. If you are not sure, better be slightly over-dressed than under-dressed. But try to avoid large differences between you and your potential customer. Wearing a suit when visiting a small sports shop creates distance, it does not look professional.

When you meet a customer, greet them kindly, look at him or her. No matter how your week has been so far, be polite, positive and open-minded. Do not interrupt them when they are speaking to you, rather, give them your full attention. In particular at the beginning, you should be informal, not too structured and sales oriented. Show you are interested by asking for a short personal introduction. It will help you to be more confident and to better judge how the meeting is going. Plus you can show you are prepared if you pose additional questions linking to the knowledge you gained through your preparation. That shows your prospect you are informed, prepared and value his time.

Avoid monologues during this first phase. Try to focus on listening and getting both of you comfortable, learn about your counterpart. Taking short notes helps you to remember if necessary.

8. Prepare and ask intelligent questions

Asking questions and listening to the answers is vital if you are going to impress the person you are meeting. Ask if they are having any problems that they need help with. Use the information to angle your sales pitch.

9. Don’t forget about territory planning

If you are on the road a lot, you need to be clever about how you use your time. Arrange several meetings in one area to minimize travel time and plan the most efficient routes from place to place.

10. Try to overcome the urge to jump in and pitch too early. Let the client talk and tailor your pitch to their precise needs.

11. Make sure that before you leave, you get a form of commitment. If it’s too early to close the sale, put a date in the diary for the next meeting.