In the wee hours of the night I received an email about creating a proposal to send to the regional directors for someone's area Goodwill stores. I get quite a few emails at night, but usually they are of the worst nature. Some drunk ass hat who found my site and is asking if I sell hot dog carts or if the carts come with hot dogs. It's usually the worst questions that come in over night. But last night I actually got a great question and after responding to him today, I figured I should share this with everyone.
Let me preface this with what I've always said, if they request you go through corporate, that is usually a “no” and their soft way of blowing you off. I would reconsider my pitch if I got these responses more often than not. Remember, you're asking for permission to vend, but your not asking. YOU'RE OFFERING.
Sometimes that's all that has to change to encourage a local store owner to unhesitatingly say “YES”. You're wording is crucial and if it sounds like you're asking, then many times you'll get the, “You'll need to call our corporate or regional offices. I'm not able to make those decisions.”. If you do a great “pitch” then the person requiring permission of their bosses would say that he/she will call and ask, because they are so sold on the idea.
Let me cover this again briefly for those of you who haven't heard my pitch before. You'll find several examples in the free training, but this will give you the basics. As you listen or read this, tell me – if you were the manager of your local Goodwill, Tractor Supply, Northern Tool or Whatever Store, which one would you likely give an immediate yes to?
- Hi, my name is Ben and my wife and family have a small hot dog and catering business. It's how we make our living. Could we vend here in front of your store and sell our products to your customers? I know they'd love it. We are licensed Statewide and are fully insured. So what do ya think?
- Hi, my name is Ben and my wife and family operate a small hot dog can catering business. We actually use the old style push carts and enjoy helping local businesses by offering a unique and nostalgic service from a real hot dog cart. We have expanded recently and will be in your area next Tuesday and wanted to see if you'd like us to stop by for an hour or two and set up our hot dog cart? We are state licensed and insured and your customers are gonna love it. We don't charge for this service so it's not going to cost you a dime. Would next Tuesday at around lunch work for ya'll? Are you pretty busy on Tuesdays? Or are Friday's better. I have either day open for lunch.
See what I did there? Which method do you think is going to get me a yes? One I'm asking for permission, the other way I'm offering them my services for free.
Regardless of the method, you're still going to get a no or two. Some are going to refer you to their bosses, district, regional or even National managers offices. They may, like the gentleman that emailed me last night, request you submit a proposal. Personally, I wouldn't do it. I'd take my “no” and walk away. But if you feel you should pursue it, then by all means. Me, I don't – want to take the time to pursue something like this. Without being face to face, the answer is likely still going to be a no, but if you must… I've put together a rough outline as to how I'd write this up. You'll find a copy on the blog at LearnHotDogs.com and search the word Goodwill.
If you want to make it super duper professional, then make some letterhead with your logo, your license number and hire someone on Elance.com for $25 to do it for you. Then sign it, send it in – but don't hold your breath. I wouldn't sit around watching Oprah while I waited either. Take pitch #2 above and go find some great place to vend today and if the proposal come through, then all the better. I'll include some additional tips on the blog article so be sure to check that out.