Want to score more clients? How ‘sandwich selling’ can boost your business

- September 27, 2022 3 MIN READ
Woman holding sandwich while working at desk

The art of ‘sandwich selling’ has nothing to do with bread, but do it effectively, and you’ll make some serious dough, writes Lucinda Lions, copywriter and founder of Lion Writing.

What is sandwich selling?

I first heard the term sandwich selling years ago from a sales trainer. Like most brilliant concepts, it’s straightforward, simple, and leaves people saying, ‘Why didn’t I think of this sooner?’

Sandwich selling involves introducing your products and/or services to people located on either geographic side of a current client.

Practical examples of sandwich selling

Let’s say that you provide corporate massages for one particular business in a mixed-business building. After completing work for your client, walk to the offices on either side and say something like, ‘Hi, I’m Sven from Sven’s Corporate Mobile Massage. Janette from JD’s Accounting, next door, hires me to relax all her staff so that everyone is happy, healthy and productive. Is that something your business might be interested in?’

Depending on the answer, you might end up offering to give the person you’re talking to a free 15-minute shoulder rub (nothing like a captive audience while you natter on about your service), or you could set up a meeting for another day, or simply leave your brochure and business cards.

As you can see, sandwich selling works for an infinite variety of businesses that visit clients in office complexes, including web designers, IT people, copywriters, stationery suppliers, corporate gift suppliers, training providers and interior designers.

Similarly, if you maintain people’s gardens, then either knock on the neighbours’ doors to introduce yourself, or pop your business card with a hand-written note in their letterboxes.

Although sandwich selling refers to selling to businesses and people on either side of your client, it’s up to you to decide on the appropriate geographic radius. For a garden maintenance business, you could drop your card into every letterbox in the street, or even surrounding streets.

Real estate agents do this all the time: if they’ve sold a house for a good price, they’ll let every resident from neighbouring streets know about it.

Women exchanging business cards at networking event

The main benefit of sandwich selling is that prospects are more likely to trust you because you’re already doing business with someone they know. And thanks to social proof, some people will say, ‘Well, if the reason Janette always has a smile on her face is because she’s getting regular Swedish massages from Sven, then I want massages from him too’.

The etiquette of sandwich selling

For sandwich selling to work effectively, it’s courteous – and sometimes vital (depending on your privacy policy) – to ask for your client’s permission before introducing yourself to others. That way, they won’t be taken by surprise if someone randomly asks them for information about you. If your client loves your work, they’ll happily agree to your sandwich selling proposal.

A free lunch

Apart from your time, sandwich selling costs absolutely nothing. It’s a simple, quick and easy way to market your business to prospects.

So, rather than just earning a crust, why not make some serious dough using this tried-and-true technique to access untapped opportunities?

This article was published in 2011 and has been updated for 2022.

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