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Old 17th July 2005, 06:27 PM   #1

Join Date: Jul 2005
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Default Marketing help for local businesses

Hi! I am new to the forum so I will quickly describe my business. I have been in business for 6 years selling brand new medium size photocopiers to not-for-profit and charity organisations, giving them large discounts off the retail price.

I have just posted a direct mailer to my local area and would like to reduce the mailing list by finding out who actually is considering purchasing a new copier in the next 6 months. For example, I want to eliminate those who have just purchased one.

I would like to follow up every client with a telephone questionnaire. Just 3 simple questions to see if they use photocopiers and if they need to upgrade in the next 6 months. I will use the new list to go and visit these not-for-profit organisations.

How do I get people to answer my telephone questionnaire and not just hang up on me?? I also don’t want to give my business a bad name……

Anyone who has done similar things please help me with some pointers.

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Old 17th July 2005, 07:09 PM   #2

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Welcome to the forum

I'm not sure there is an exact answer out there for your scenario, but more of a case where you need to play around with various methods of attaining the data you are after.

I have just posted a direct mailer to my local area and would like to reduce the mailing list by finding out who actually is considering purchasing a new copier in the next 6 months.

For example, I want to eliminate those who have just purchased one.
You simply need a list of everyone who has purchased one, but that list is probably not available. If so you could simply cross reference another list with your data universe and you would have what you are after. Is a list of those who recently purchased your product available? If not you are left with the option of doing surveying yourself. Could you tie it in with an offer. For example, co-market/research it with an office supply store. Answer our questions and you'll get a $25 gift certificate and be entered to win a free copier given away. You could gain confidence/credibility by associating yourself with a 'popular' local office supply store. They could gain promotion with the gift certificate offer. etc.

With that in mind, get a database with your full universe. Start surveying calling, followup with the offer, send a direct mailing, issue press release on results, and follow up with sales. The synergy between all would be beneficial if done so the potential customer is exposed to your message via a variety of mediums.

Those are a few of my thoughts for starters. Not sure what the right answer is though.

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Old 18th July 2005, 09:43 AM   #3
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In my not-so-humble opinion, you are better off asking the questions face to face. If you call me, I don't have time. If you stop by the office, it looks like you are eager for my business and I'd probably answer a few question or at least the receptionist would. My 2 cents worth...


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Old 18th July 2005, 01:01 PM   #4
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There are so many scams selling bogus copier supplies by phone that I would hang up on anyone who called and wanted to know anything about my copier. I had a company with 30 employees, any one of which was subject to answer a phone. They were instructed that under no circumstances were they to ever discuss our copiers on the phone, unless we were making the call to our supplier.

The conversations usually start with "Hi, this is so and so with the copier company. We just want to verify our records. Could you get me the serial number on your copier?"

A week later you have a box of overpriced black stuff that is supposedly toner.

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Old 18th July 2005, 11:31 PM   #5
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I highly suggest you do a 2-step postcard
marketing campaign.

That's really the whole point. You send to
the universal list... and instead of going for
the sale... shoot for some other action.

Whether it's a special offer and brochure,
or free report, or in-person demo (for which
you'll give them a no-obligation free gift) is
totally up to you.

Those who respond are higher probability
candidates. Those who don't -- you don't
spend another dime on.

You can also send a survey to select
businesses in your target market and offer
them something for responding... again,
a discount... or some other high-perceived
value -- but low hard cost to you --

Good luck.

Oh... and collect testimonials from some
of your best clients to aid in your marketing

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Old 28th August 2005, 11:16 PM   #6
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I'm sure I'm way to late for this topic but I'd like to throw in my 2 cents in case someone else finds themselvews in the same shoes.

Put together a FREE tips list that is actually beneficial to the recipient. It could be: How To Get More Copies From Your Copier or How To Cut Your Copying Costs In Half.

I'm just making up these topics and titles, but you could offer this info free to anyone that requests it. Then provide it, with no strings attached, and you have a prospect.

Follow up with a reply card and the "3 quick questions" and roll from there.

Sorry I'm late.............

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Old 29th August 2005, 10:36 AM   #7

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Good tip scott! I like your idea for search engine marketing as well.

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Old 30th August 2005, 08:23 AM   #8
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On the question of the "buying in 6 months":
I think if you focused on copiers of a certain age and expressed in benefits of cost or time savings by moving to a new copier within the next six months you would get a better response.

As someone who has worked in small organizations, we rarely planned to replace equipment, instead, we chose to buy better, faster, more effective equipment. I would be inclined to ask your prospects how old their copier is, about downtime, and costs, and then market the message of how your product solves those issues and makes their life better.

On the survey issue:
One of the ways I have been able to get people to open up to answering my surveys is to be open with them. I have actually written an article on this subject of using market research as a marketing and lead generation tool (read it here).

First, When I started doing the surveys I made sure I had at least a contact name. I got my names from the local development agency business directory. That will get you past the gatekeeper and eliminate the shot in the dark call "Could I speak to the person responsible for all your copying needs?" *Click* Even if you hit the owner/manager or CEO, and they are not responsible for this part of the organization, you can politely navigate your way to the correct person.

Second, position your survey as market research instead of prospecting. The only difference it the way you ask the questions and form the conversation (script). Instead of asking directly "Are you planning to change your copier in the next 6 months?" (an obvious prospecting question). Lead into the survey with a preamble explaining how you Bill Warren, are a local business owner of a business services company and are doing some research to get some real feedback from local organizations. Then tell them you are not trying to sell them anything. Then proceed with asking your questions. In addition you should make sure that some of the questions be open ended to give the person the opportunity to share there feelings and experiences about your industry. This will build rapport and really show that you are interested in your customers.

After the survey is complete provide a brief description of your business -they will half expect it.

Finally, ask permission to provide them with additional information about your company. This is powerful. If a person gives you permission to market to them they will be much more open to choosing to buy.

All the best,

Jay Gilmore

SmashingRed Web & Marketing Websites. Marketing. Simple.
Destination: World Class by Jay Gilmore: From a small business to success and all points in-between.

Last edited by gilmorejay; 30th August 2005 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 13th March 2006, 06:36 PM   #9

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cold calling has always been hard to do. Unless you have a hook, something to latch on them and personally identifiable. Perhaps you can approach them not with a business mind, just a personal interaction and then asks for their opinion? Maybe that will work.

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