Before the days of unlimited talk and text, we used telephones in our homes that had a lanyard cord that plugged into the wall. There was no such thing as “unlimited talk and text”. In fact, any call beyond your local dialing area was “long distance” – and it was over 50 cents per minute! If you’re old enough, you’ll remember the “Long Distance” wars of the 1980’s. Companies like AT&T, Sprint, and MCI were relentless to get you switched to their economical long distance plans at a mere 40 cents per minute – a whopping 20% savings!
For years I marketed MCI long distance as an independent agent. MCI furnished me with slick brochures. They were created by the best Madison Avenue marketing firms and outlined the compelling wisdom of switching to MCI long distance. Beautiful graphics decorated the compelling logic of their pitch. Those brochures must have been expensive to produce and I was grateful for the company’s support.
I found a clever venue to find hundreds of prospects. I would pay $15 for a booth at the local flea market. If you’ve ever been to a flea market, you’ll know that the booths are generally packed to overflowing with… well, JUNK! Not mine. On my table was simply a stack of these beautiful brochures. I was well dressed (unlike many flea market vendors). As people would walk by they would stop in their tracks. They would scan my near naked booth and ask me what I was selling in a tone that suggested something was wrong! It was a salesman’s dream come true – prospects approaching you! As other vendors were barking like circus sideshow hosts – even following them down the aisle as they walked away. It was a turkey shoot! I wasn’t pursuing anybody – they were coming to me!
I would explain the virtues of switching to MCI and the new standard of living they could enjoy with the savings they would accrue. They would smile and delightfully accept a brochure and say something to the effect that they were going to talk to their wife (or some other boss) and call me back to sign up.
The problem is, in spite of handing out thousands of brochures, I never got a call saying “I’ve talked to my wife and we are eager to get signed up”. In fact, when I would walk down to the restroom, I would find the trash can stuffed with my beautiful brochures.
But one day that changed.
It was a windy March day. I remember the sense of panic when I literally ran out of brochures before high noon. So there I was – standing behind my now naked table looking like a fool. I should have been better prepared.
But I am soooooo glad that I wasn’t.
People would still stop in their tracks and asked me what I was selling. At the conclusion of my pitch, they would ask if I had a brochure they could take with them. I’ll never forget what happened. It has changed my life. I told them the truth! I told them that I had run out of brochures. I then asked if there was any reason they couldn’t just make up their mind right now and sign up.
I hit the jackpot. People signed up in droves. I incorporated this technique in a team of traveling agents that worked under me. They signed up thousands. My company was awarded a Lincoln Town Car at the annual sales convention!
You see, brochures are deal killers. Instead of calling for a decision, we give them a ticket out by handing them a brochure. We did everything to send them on their way never to be seen or heard from again.
I hope you’ll keep this in mind when sharing the Gospel. I’m afraid that there are legions in hell who were given nice brochures and an invitation to come to church to hear our Pastor. It’s OUR job to lead them to Christ – not the Pastor’s. If you truly believe that becoming a follower of Christ is a good thing – don’t kill the deal – invite them to pray the sinners prayer for salvation on the spot.
That’s what I think. I’m interested in your thoughts. There’s lots of ways to hit me up so let me hear from you.
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