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Commercial Accounts

    • 355 posts
    April 7, 2009 6:26 AM EDT
    I worked with the VP of sales at one company.  He had a standing rule.  "Never walk in unannounced on a perspective customer.  99 percent of the time, they won`t meet with you.  And, you leave the perspective customer with a negative impression of you."   

    His preferred sales method was to call and set up a meeting.  Or, he would drop off a catalog to the customer`s place of business.  He would follow this visit with a phone call to set up a meeting.  In almost all cases, he was able to set a meeting following this practice. 

    He would also try and learn something about the person he was meeting with.  He would then open their conversation with the usual niceties.  Don`t forget the niceties.  People still put stock in a firm hand shake and a warm greeting. 

    From there our VP of sales would discuss mutual interests the two shared or ask about the person`s family.  The VP knew what to talk abut because he had taken the time to learn something about his perspective customer.  You also don`t have to know the customer`s life history.  But you should know some basics.  One of our customers for example, liked racing cars.  The VP open their first conversation with a story about how he (VP) had the opportunity to drive a "Formula 1" race car.  Story had absolutely nothing to do with our product line, but it started a dialog between the two.  It also got the customer into a more receptive state of mind. The VP then steer the conversation towards his product line and how it could benefit the client`s company.



    nevadascul4/8/2009 9:08 AM

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    The older we get, the more excuses we make for not chasing after our dreams. But truth is, goals are attainable at any age.

    • 26 posts
    April 7, 2009 5:02 AM EDT
    While you`re right that a face-to-face opportunity would bring more value than a flyer, the larger commerical office buildings might be quite busy and your just-dropping-by-approach might signal that you`re too small and too much of a pest (excuse the pun) to handle their account appropropriately.  So definitely call to set up a meeting.  When you call, have a clear idea of the title of the person with whom you would want to speak, if you don`t know them by name.  Is that the facilities manager, the building owner, or the head of operations, for example?  And do have your pitch ready for why they should choose you over the company with which they already have a contract.

    Otherwise, there are plenty of additional ways to introduce yourself to companies:

    DIRECT MAIL. With so many people shunning cold calls, you may want to buy a local list of businesses from a direct mail marketing agency.  Before you buy, make sure you are selecting a fresh list, that it fits your locale and financial profiles, and that it includes the name and title in your category (if possible).  And make sure that the mailing itself is attractive so that people actually open it rather than pitching it directly in the trash.

    NETWORKING.  If there`s a local Chamber of Commerce, join it.  If there`s a local Better Business Bureau, join that too. Have you already notified your current clients that you`re looking for referrals to business owners and their testimonials on your work? Do that!  Word of mouth advertising works and people are likely to look around among the groups they know or ask friends for referrals.

    YELLOW PAGES.  If you are not in the Yellow Pages, you should be.  And make sure that your ad now mentions that you serve residential and commercial customers.

    ONLINE MARKETING. If you do not have a website that is optimized for local search, it is time that you invest in one. While the Yellow Pages still have traction, its resourcefulness is dwindling.  If you have one already, it is time that you include it in all of your online accounts as a standard signature (including here on StartupNation).  Do not make anyone guess at what you do for a living and how to contact you.

    If you need a company to help you with marketing communications and website design, please be sure to get back to me for a quote.  Best of luck.

    Tammi


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    Tammi L. Coles
    Archer Targeted Communication
    ArcherTC.com
    Follow me on Twitter @archertc

    • 7 posts
    April 6, 2009 1:25 PM EDT
    Hello all,
     
    I have been running my own pest control company for about 1 1/2 years, mostly residential, and would like any advice on expanding to commercial accounts.  What are some effective ways to grow my business.  I am thinking of putting a package together and walk in to meet the right people to give a proposal on my service, or should I try to set up a meeting?
     
    I would greatly appreciate any ideas.
     
    Thanks for everything
     
    Mazz
    mazz4/6/2009 6:30 PM