Great Sellers Put a Dumpster in the Driveway

About three years ago, my wife and I decided to renovate our house.  We were going to add a new master suite, renovate our kitchen, replace the deck, replace the driveway, and re-landscape our front yard. It was going to be expensive.

We obtained three bids from contractors. The first two bids were almost the same. The third bid came in about five percent higher. The high bid was from Mark.

Arriving home from work one day, I was astonished to find a big blue construction waste dumpster right in the middle of my driveway. From my car, I called my wife.

“Are you aware that there is a dumpster in our driveway?”

“I know nothing about it,” she said. “Call Mark.”

I have no idea why she wanted me to call Mark. But I did.

“Mark,”  I said. “Are you aware that there is a big blue dumpster in our driveway?”

“I put it there,” he said without blinking.

“Don’t you think that’s a bit presumptuous?” I said. “We haven’t picked you yet.”

“Perhaps,” he said. “But I know that you want to finish the major parts of the job before the end of the summer. So we’re going to need to get a quick start. If you pick me, then I’m starting tomorrow. If you don’t pick me, then I’ll get rid of it and it won’t cost you a thing.”

I was stunned. I guess I could have looked at this as a high pressure sales tactic. But I saw it differently. Mark had decided to take a risk. He was going to expend his own resources to start solving our construction problems before we had even hired him.

And that’s what great sellers do.  They begin to solve the prospect’s business problems prior to being hired. The sales pitch presents the proposed solution to the prospect for free. The prospect should think, “Wow. I would have paid them for that analysis.  But I got it for free as part of the sales pitch. That’s impressive.”

If you’re a lawyer, the pitch should raise the key legal issues and begin to propose legal solutions.  If you’re a contractor, you should identify key construction challenges and propose how to solve them. If you’re a software salesman, you should lay out  a plan for reducing the prospect’s costs.

That’s putting a dumpster in the client’s driveway.


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