I spent 3 hours in the Ontario, CA airport the other day. There are no airline clubs there, so to work on my computer I sat at a Southwest Airlines gate at one of their work tables and stools. It happened to be right next to the credit card sign-up station.
If you fly much you know that most airports have a least one airline affinity card sign-up station where the “sales people” attempt to get you to sign up for an affinity card. I, and most people I talk to, assume this effort is probably not all that effective … just highly profitable, since credit card customers are highly valuable to the financial institutions.
Boy, was I surprised. There were three people at this sign-up station working to get people to sign-up for a Chase Bank Southwest Airlines affinity card. During the entire three hours that I sat there, at least one of those people was signing somebody up. Often two were signing and sometimes all three.
Their success came from an effective opening line and a useful offer. As my friend Ted Steinberg says, “A closed mind doesn’t buy.” Their opening lines (each person used a different line) were highly effective at stopping people and their offer was compelling to a surprising number of people.
In talking to them I found there was a compensation plan that also drove an effective effort. They all made minimum wage plus commission/bonus. Their commission/bonus was tied to their personal sign-ups, sign-ups who ultimately qualified, and a team-based bonus based on how their team did during their shift. This drove individual effort without a cut-throat attitude.
It was confirmation for me that “cold calling” works and can be a good job … if you have a mind-opening line, and an effective offer.
You can learn a lot just by watching.