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Old 02-24-2010, 06:57 PM
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Default Notes from marketing meeting with Chamber of Commerce

Hi guys,

These are in no particular order, but here are a few of the notes I took from a meeting/seminar I attended with the Chamber of Commerce in my area. I hope they help!

-Price should not be a selling tool. Try not to include prices in your marketing material, instead try to get the user to focus on their problem, and how you can help them. Sell the problem, not the product!

-Practice a short pitch. The speaker's pitch (which has worked for him for 15 years) is: "I'm *insert name here* and if you don't already have a prescription plan I can get you free drugs for life." His company does indeed offer prescription med plans, so it works for him. The focus is to get your listener to a) Understand b) Be interested c) Ask you for more info. People don't like hearing speeches, they want conversation they can follow.

-Negotiate a free office. The mall can be a good starting point. Where I live it's the law to keep electricity, water, and other utilities running even if the commercial property is vacant. From a personal count, 38% of the commercial offices on the main strip in a 6 mile drive are empty. You can appeal to the building owner's interest in lowering costs by negotiating a 6 month or 12 month lease, free except the cost of utilities and tax. The building is costing them money now, why leave it empty? It makes them look bad. Tell them that if you're making a profit within 12 months that you'll talk about pay for rent. Don't make extra agreements such as partial ownership of the company, etc. That can ruin you. Free or walk out. 6 businesses in my area have done this in the last three months.

-Offer something free or at a deep discount to get your foot in the door with a customer. Upselling from there is infinitely easier. Monthly service? Free first month might be an example.

-Know your demographic! Your county and city websites should be able to give you stats on the population, median pay for careers (target mid to high pay), age groups, and seasonal population for tourist towns.

-Keep in contact. In my area half the year we only have 60-75% of our "tourist season" population. Get the contact info for your customers and keep them interested year-round! They might use you when they come back for (or from) vacation or call for remote support!

-Be specific in advertising methods. Break down target demographics and tailor advertising for them by setting a goal and defining the problem, strategy, and tactic. Example:
  • Goal (Vague): Increase business.
  • Goal (Specific): Increase maintenance contracts by 2 per month.
  • Strategy: Target local accountants with 1-10 workstations that do not yet have a website.
  • Tactic: Contact accounting firms in other towns, ask to speak to marketing. Ask how much website has increased sales, and other statistic info. Send a physical advertisement in the mail to each accounting office, addressed to owner. In the mailer give stats on how much websites have helped other accounting businesses. In the advert offer a free website with maintenance contract. Walk into customers office one week after mailing to talk to them, with stats in hand to try to pitch your offering.

-Get legal and insured. In my area the steps are:
  • File an LLC
  • Register EIN
  • Go to county tax collectors office, get business tax receipt
  • Find insurance (lots of resources on this site)

There were more, but these were some of the most important details taken from the meeting.
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Old 02-24-2010, 06:59 PM
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Thanks for sharing, great tips!
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:01 PM
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That's a great idea about free office space! I never would have thought of that.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:11 PM
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I'm in Michigan and we have been hit by the economy worst than anyone. The brokers in my area are asking for $11 per sqft annually for strip malls that are 50 - 60% empty. This was the price in good times. I wish I could get through to the owners.
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Old 02-25-2010, 01:26 AM
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I'm definately going to be doing some major bargaining when I open my 2nd location in May. Not only do I need good office space for growth, but also a receiption area that has bench area to do the "side by side" support that so many of my clients love.

So it's like a "repair shop where people sit, hang out and watch" for some of the time (drop off and pick up)

And I need room for a small phone center. I should be able to score some good space for dirt cheap and I will keep on looking til I get the right spot. So many spaces open...

Hmm, mall space might be a good idea for me!
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harbordatasystems View Post

-Price should not be a selling tool. Try not to include prices in your marketing material, instead try to get the user to focus on their problem, and how you can help them. Sell the problem, not the product!

-Offer something free or at a deep discount to get your foot in the door with a customer. Upselling from there is infinitely easier. Monthly service? Free first month might be an example.
First, thanks for sharing. Appreciate it

Don't those two items I quoted kind of contradict each other? I just want to mention that my experience has taught me that in a service business once you offer a discount or something for free initially, the client may always expect that discount or free service. I'll do things at a discount, or even for free, for established clients, not for new clients. Once the relationship is established then I can throw in some good will. This is just what's worked for me.
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Old 02-26-2010, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan22 View Post
First, thanks for sharing. Appreciate it

Don't those two items I quoted kind of contradict each other? I just want to mention that my experience has taught me that in a service business once you offer a discount or something for free initially, the client may always expect that discount or free service. I'll do things at a discount, or even for free, for established clients, not for new clients. Once the relationship is established then I can throw in some good will. This is just what's worked for me.
It's a fine line, true, but they don't necessarily contradict each other. For example if you're selling shoes, you might not mention that they cost $60 a pair in your advertisement, but you might say "Buy my shoes and receive 3 pairs of socks free".
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Old 02-26-2010, 01:56 PM
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Great tips! They were a lot like the ones from my chamber meeting.
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Old 03-02-2010, 01:42 PM
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Thanks for the info.
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