One-On-One Marketing Part 2

October 21, 2004

By: Matt Michel

This is part of a continuing series of Comanche New Year’s Resolutions aimed at helping your company become “fiscally” fit. In this series, we will walk through the marketing mix of product, price, promotion, and placement. This Comanche Marketing tip focuses on one-on-one marketing your products.


As owner, you also have plenty of opportunities to interact with people one-on-one. Yet, too few small business owners avail themselves of the numerous networking opportunities that exist, ranging from the local chamber of commerce to service clubs. Be a joiner. Get involved in community organizations and you will find yourself in a position to promote your company to community “centers of influence” on a regular basis.

Salespeople can also create opportunities for one-on-one marketing. Every sales call, of course, is an opportunity for one-on-one marketing. Yet, salespeople can go far beyond responsive marketing.

When I worked with air conditioning super salesperson Tom McCart, I used to send him out to contractor companies in our organization that were struggling. Often, one of the first things Tom did was grab the owner and spend an afternoon walking through a target neighborhood knocking on doors.

Tom’s approach was low key, consisting of an introduction as the neighborhood contractor and a request for consideration the next time the homeowner needed service before moving on. Some people wouldn’t answer the door. Some were rude when they did. Most politely listened and accepted the business card the contractor offered. They may or may not ever call, yet the odds are favorable for those lacking an existing relationship with a contracting company, which is most.

Tom knew that if he knocked on enough doors, a few homeowners would invite him in, on the spot, to take a look at their ancient air conditioner. Inevitably, some of these ad hoc appointments resulted in sales. Tom used this approach when he was selling air conditioners for Ron Smith’s Modern Air Conditioning in Fort Myers, Florida.

In a one season market, Tom became the first person to sell a million dollars of residential replacement equipment, one air conditioner at a time in his second year in the industry. While Ron had a lead generation machine with Modern Air Conditioning, Tom never would have been able to achieve the results he recorded without knocking on a few doors.

Tom’s not alone in this approach. Pat McCormick, another legendary air conditioning salesperson generated over a million dollars annually using this approach selling high efficiency equipment in Los Angeles where air conditioning using is insignificant compared to the rest of the country. It can be done.

Tom and Pat understood that people are out there in the market, any market, who know they need to replace their air conditioner, but simply hadn’t got around to it, didn’t know who to call, and would buy with a little prompting. These people represent sales waiting to happen and they exist in every industry. Unfortunately, most salespeople never discover them because most salespeople never make the attempt.

Most salespeople never try knocking on doors because they’re afraid of rejection. By never making the attempt, they succeed… in avoiding rejection. If that’s a salesperson’s objective, he or she has picked the wrong career field.

Every salesperson must deal with rejection. Pat’s approach was to keep track of how many doors he needed to knock on before he made a sale. He then divided his average commission by the number of doors. Each time he approached a door, he told himself that it was worth $X. If the homeowner slammed the door in his face, he said to himself, “Well, I just made $X.” And as sure as the tide and the sunset, if he continued knocking on doors, he would collect.

This year resolve to…

  • Design offers for your call takers and salespeople to communicate to the people they interact with every day.

  • Run a monthly special on one aspect of your service or one accessory item.

  • Prepare scripts and outlines for call takers and technicians.

  • Create or purchase supporting collateral your technicians can use. Of course, the Service Roundtable ( provides these for HVAC companies as part of the $50 monthly bundle.

  • Personally join one additional community organization.

  • Set an expectation for the number of doors salespeople will knock on every week.

Source: Comanche Marketing. Reprinted by permission.
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Copyright © 2003 Matt Michel

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