Technically, my sales career began when I was a 14-year-old girl selling candy door-to-door in Brooklyn, New York. When a homeowner opened the door, I went into my pitch: “Hi, I’m Karina and I’m with Good Kids of America, a non-profit organization that helps blind kids. I’m selling a box of chocolates for $20. I think you would enjoy the chocolates, and a portion of the proceeds goes to charity.”
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was selling on value. I explained to the homeowner (the potential customer) who I was working for, about the company, and why I was there. The value was that she was buying a box of chocolates, and donating to charity that helps blind children.
Years later, when the stock market crashed and I moved from New York to Los Angeles, I was hired as an account manager at Monster Worldwide. During my nine-year tenure, I never understood my boss when he tried to teach value selling.
I remember my emailed pitch: “My name is Karina and I work for a company that allows you to post jobs online. Are you hiring?” Most of the time, the answer was no. I would continue sending emails until someone said yes, which rarely happened.
Many of my emails were unanswered and I was too afraid to pick up the phone. In fact, I was petrified because I had no idea what to say and was afraid of rejection.
While I was working at Monster, I got married and had a baby. My husband and I started a new business since I was already working from home. In fact, he invented an all-in-one picture-hanging tool and I had this bright idea to pitch the product to big box stores. The trouble was, I had no idea how to contact them and was afraid of the phone. Meantime, I was fired from Monster for my lackluster performance. In July of 2014, I amped up my Hang-O-Matic efforts. I found a bunch of contact names on LinkedIn, learned their emails, and decided to pitch my product via email.
Quickly, the little girl that sold chocolates door-to-door came to mind. I was still nervous, but formulated my sales pitch as that little girl. I quickly realized after all those years what selling on value really meant.
My pitch said: “Hello Mr. ____. I’m Karina with Hang-O-Matic. Wouldn’t you agree that hanging pictures, shelves and more is the most frustrating project to get done? That’s why we invented the Hang-O-Matic, an all-in-one picture hanging tool that measures, levels and marks. Your store is currently selling wall décor and Hang-O-Matic would make a great addition to help your customers hang better. If you send me your address right now, I am happy to send you a sample.”
I mentioned the customers’ problem and offered a solution based on value it would bring. You can imagine my priceless face when I received email after email from people, providing their address and requesting a sample. My pitch never failed. I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to call my old boss and tell him that I finally got it. It took for me to get fired, start my own business, and teach myself. Today the product can be found Bed Bath and Beyond, Hobby Lobby, The Home Depot, The Container Store and Ace Hardware.