Jill Konrath


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[Video] Why You Should Never Send Funny Items to Your Prospects


When your prospects don't respond to any of your overtures, it's enough to drive you crazy. All you can think about is, "What will it take to capture their attention?" If you're like me, you've been tempted to get creative. But, the real question is, "Will creative be effective?" 

VIDEO MESSAGE: Does sending funny items to your sales prospects help you set up meetings? Lots of sellers think that if they do something off-the-wall it will make a difference. But what do corporate decision makers think?

Perhaps it will at smaller firms, but I have to tell you that if you're trying to get into a bigger company, the people you're calling on have seen it all before.

While you may think it's cool to send a shoe in a box with a note that says, "Just trying to get my foot in the door," please know others have already tried it.

I was recently at a meeting where the VP of Marketing for a large medical device company was speaking to a group of salespeople. She said, "Don't send me a magic wand with a cutesy note about how you can work magic with my company. It makes me see you as a lightweight -- someone who doesn't have a valid business reason to see me."

If that's the perception you want your prospects to have, by all means try being clever. But if you want to be taken seriously, focus on the impact you can potentially have for their company. That's what your prospects really care about. Never, Ever Call Your Best Prospects First

YOUR TURN: Have you ever sent a funny item to a prospect?  What did they think?  Share with us!

Jill KonrathJill Konrath is an internationally recognized sales strategist. As author of two bestselling books, SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies, she's a frequent speaker at sales meetings and conferences. For more fresh ideas, download her free Prospecting Toolkit.


In an ideal world our prospects are only interested in the impact we can have on their company. I would argue that in some cases humor can go a long way to begin a conversation. All in all I have seen very little "creative" selling over the past 10 years or so... it's usually more of the same..blah,blah blah.  
If it were all about the impact we could have on the prospects company we wouldn't have entertainment budgets
Posted @ Tuesday, March 06, 2012 8:15 AM by phil melnik
Jill, I have been a fan for years and,as a promo product distributor,agree with your post. Sending a generic cutesy promo package does appear to be a lightweight approach. Experience tells me that business relationships develop in unanticipated ways. Sometimes cutesy works.
Posted @ Tuesday, March 06, 2012 9:28 AM by ken waller
Been in sales for years and tell tons of jokes but only after I get to know the customer.  
Love it
Posted @ Tuesday, March 06, 2012 10:25 AM by Greg
Jill, basically, it's all about relationships. I mean, just good old fashioned relationships. That is the base for success. And the last time I checked, that's how it's been, since……..well, ages, and frankly, that is how it will continue. Real business, real selling is not product or service business, it's people business. Period.
Posted @ Tuesday, March 06, 2012 10:43 AM by Harry
Jill, so true. I remember one of my sales colleagues telling me that she had done the "shoe" thing with one of her prospects. I remember cringing, upon hearing her tell me about her cleverness. The only shoes we need to put ourselves in is our customers - and see ourselves as they see us. Build credibility for yourself with legitimate and informative information. Not a circus act. Thanks for inspiring me, once again.
Posted @ Tuesday, March 06, 2012 11:13 AM by Babette Ten Haken
The big challenge for salespeople is how to develop relationships with someone who won't let them in the door. Unfortunately, since most sellers aren't able to clearly articulate a business case rationale for meeting, they're unable to set up a meeting. In most cases, these are the people who go for cutesy to get in -- which just trivializes them even more.  
That being said, there's always a place for humor in the workplace. And salespeople who can provide a good jolt of it, backed up by a solid case can stand out from their competitors.
Posted @ Tuesday, March 06, 2012 1:55 PM by Jill Konrath
I love this, and will use it to help inspire the young lady I am training. I have one idea that has worked very well with my existing clients I would love to share: I had single bud vases made with our logo and once per month I come around with fresh cut flowers for them. They LOVE it! I never ask for any business, just say hello and wish them well. They always thank me and our business has increased 30% from our existing clientele. Not bad for those prospects I have identified either. Just another reason to be in front of them every month! Happy hunting, lioness'
Posted @ Friday, May 11, 2012 12:37 PM by Michelle Grunberg
@ Michelle - I can see how that would work - people like to know they are appreciated!
Posted @ Saturday, May 12, 2012 9:54 AM by Krista Moon
Once I sent a race car to a prospect that said something about racing ahead of the competition (I can't remember exactly.) It got me the job! He loved it. Interestingly, the guy who hired me was the worst sales manager I ever had. Figures!
Posted @ Friday, May 18, 2012 10:54 PM by Krista Moon
Hi Jill, 
I really agree with you .Also one thing to remember when you are on Linkedin as most people look for you there. 
When I look at Linked in and see some people's silly commends and Tweeting ,they make themselves look very silly insteasd of making them visible if they think they are attracting business prospects. 
Silly things are ok on Face book ,but not on Linked in, where all professionals connect. 
What do you think.
Posted @ Monday, May 21, 2012 11:10 AM by Sara Kuruvilla
As promotional products salesperson for 15+ years I don't completely agree with you. Our company has an award winning four part series of items we send to prospects (one per week for four weeks)that has had tremendous success. Not necessarily funny but definitely unique and creative. I have sent broken records to prospects I have had no success with and they respond and always mention they appreciate the creative 'touch'. Funny all the time - NO - but at the right time - YES. Thanks for all of your great information Jill! I am a big fan!
Posted @ Saturday, May 11, 2013 8:28 PM by Pam Russell
Forgot to mention that I send a note with the 'broken record' that says "I hate to sound like a broken record..."
Posted @ Saturday, May 11, 2013 8:29 PM by Pam Russell
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