As if your presence was invisible to the human eye, you receive nothing but a blank stare from the businessman as he walks past. A pedestrian couple makes an effort to appear nonchalant as they casually shift their path to avoid you.
Any brand ambassador who has ever had the pleasure of being on a street team in New York City is very familiar with the interactions that are to be expected while attempting to engage the seemingly unending supply of strangers that this large city constantly offers. It takes some getting used to.
There are people who will show legitimate interest in what you have to offer. And there are those who will politely appease. And, I’ve learned, if you don’t actively pursue them, it will seem that the majority of people will completely ignore you. This is true of course, unless you are giving something away for free. It doesn’t matter what it is… but if you have a large box full of anything that isn’t a super-glossy, double-sided postcard, you will have a line of people who want as many as they can carry.
Many field marketing programs will call for this type of grassroots method of localized distribution. However, a six hour shift of street-flyering can be tedious. The only way I have been able to perform this activity effectively (while trying to maintain a degree of sanity), is to break it down into short, individual, immediate challenges. Maybe it can work for you.
Treat each interaction as if it is an individual sales call. Associate a sense of victory with every flyer passed. Enjoy the depletion of your flyer supply. And specifically target the individuals that will be both the most receptive personally, and the most likely to encourage the interest of others.
Pick one person and step in their direction. Make eye contact. Smile. Then, present the flyer in a manner that says, “I want to give this to you and only you.” Don’t allow yourself to decide that the person doesn’t want a flyer. Confidently hold it in front of them for as long as it takes for them to decide.
They will feel compelled to take it. Not because you convinced them that they want it, but because they now HAVE to either say “No,” or literally walk around you. Obviously, in NYC, there will be plenty of people that will just get extra annoyed with you and will continue on their way, but most will just smile and take one. If you are managing the day’s activity, be sure to demonstrate this for your team. It will make a difference. Every time I manage a street team that says “no one wants to take one,” I’ll pull this move out and go 5 for 5 in a matter of seconds.
Something else to consider: You must remember that everyone believes that they are more important than the other strangers on the street. This includes you (as a person that believes they are more important, and as one of the people that everyone else recognizes as less important).
If the traffic light changes and a parade of people approach you, your success with that group always comes down to the person in front. If that very first individual takes a flyer, you can double-down that a good portion of the people behind him will take one as well. Why? Because no one wants to miss out on what the people ahead of them got! So do your best to get one in that first person’s hand.
When you get chosen to join a street team, here are my top 5 ways to be successful.
- Always get as much training as possible so you are set up for success.
- Think from your client’s perspective. What would she do if she had your job?
- Get creative with your engagement. Try new tactics to get the results for the client.
- Gather a crowd. Human nature suggests a crowd attracts a crowd.
- Have fun! This is a fun industry and every day is different. Have fun and the day goes by faster and the consumers have a better experience.