Elevator Man Gets Appointment!

Mark Victor Hansen is the co-author of the incredibly successful series of books, “Chicken Soup For The Soul”.

They have sold tens of millions worldwide now!

Mark lived in Southern California with his wife Patty and during the 1980’s when I first met him and when I used to bring him to Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia to conduct his seminars in this part of the world.

He’s tall blond and of Danish ancestry and his enthusiasm is infectious. When Mark sets his sights on the achievement of a goal, nothing and nobody better get in the way. I have absolutely no doubt that this was major reason that his first “Chicken Soup” book got published and sold so well.


During one of these visits we were discussing prospecting, and Mark shared with me how he got a face to face interview with the president of a major US corporation where he had been frustrated for weeks by receptionists and secretaries who successfully screened his phone calls and personal visits.

If you’ve been in sales for a while, I’m sure you’ve had a similar experience, and of course the average sales person eventually gives up. However, Mark is not average in any way and instead of giving up…

Mark applied some lateral thinking

It occurred to Mark as he left this company’s building one day, that all of the parking spots in the basement were clearly marked with the titles of the various vice presidents and department heads. Sure enough, it didn’t take much detective work to find the car spot signed “President”.

Mark noticed that one of the obvious privileges of being the president, was having a car spot close to the elevator. Mark noted the make and color of the president’s car which was where it should have been, parked in its spot.

Mark reasoned that on at least two occasions on most days, he could be pretty sure that the president of this company would be on this very spot in the car park as he arrived and departed. There would be no receptionists or secretaries to screen an approach here. However, the thought of cornering this important man in a dingy car park and trying to lay a sales story on him seemed a bit tacky.

Mark thought about it some more and came up with a plan.

The next day he arrived bright and early and entered the basement car park noting that the president’s spot was still empty. Mark went to the elevator and noted that he could see the president’s car spot quite easily from the elevator.

He settled in for a wait. Mark reasoned that the president was probably and early arriver and would probably arrive well before the office opened.

He didn’t have to wait too long until he saw the car he was waiting for. It pulled to a halt in the parking spot and Mark could see a lone figure in the car. At this point, Mark let the automatic elevator doors close.

He waited quietly for them to open and when they did, he beamed his broadest, friendliest smile at this man as he entered the elevator and called him by name.

As he wished him “Good morning!”, he pressed the button for the floor where he knew the president’s office was located. As the doors of the elevator closed Mark introduced himself.

Mark knew that he now had at least one full minute before he would reach the nominated floor, to convince this man to see him right now, without an appointment. Indeed, he had “captive” audience and this man’s undivided attention!

Well, Mark is not only creative, he’s also persuasive, so by the time the elevator doors opened again, he had this man laughing at his audacity and creativity. Mark had even brought hot coffee and donuts!

He got the appointment!

Senior people often do arrive early, and sometimes the only time they have to relax is at the beginning of their day before the phones start ringing and the meetings start. Finding 15 minutes for someone as creative as Mark, wasn’t so difficult after all.

All Mark did was apply some creative thinking and do something most sales people would not have bothered to try. Most would have still been at home in bed.

Now before you start ambushing prospects in the car park…

Remember that this type of approach only worked for Mark because he was well presented, well prepared and had something captivating and intriguing to say and show within the first 30 seconds, which caused this man to say, “Could you tell me more?”

Could you use this or a similar creative method for getting to your elusive prospect?

I bet you could. Until then…

Have a great week. Make it a great week!

Wayne Berry.

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