[thelist] how do you drum up de business?

john at johnallsopp.co.uk john at johnallsopp.co.uk
Mon Sep 6 04:10:55 CDT 2004

Hi Alex

I used to be a marketing consultant, marketing technology companies, so
here goes a couple of thoughts, since you (and I) are in the UK:

> Yikes - "Cold Calling". Thats something you pay other people to do,
> right? Man the phones and drive to meetings?

I'm not sure which way to jump on this. I do know someone who is great at
getting meetings, so if you want her details off list, then email me. But
she's never used a computer in her life, so that could be bad.

How bad is your telephone manner? How much do you know about selling to

My cold calling friend may be able to get through to the right person, but
then she'll flounder and get you a meeting. You would presumably be worse
at getting to the person, but when you do, you can talk intelligently
about their current website.

I think there's a problem with the whole calling strategy, that a few
years ago people were getting several calls a day about their website, and
how the company could offer a complete solution for £100 or whatever.
These were not high quality operations, obviously.

> Does anyone here actually do it themselves?

No. I try to do the best job I can, and then business comes through

> What sort of experience have you had? How much research did you have to
> do to find the ideal candidate for a cold call?

Well, if I were to do it, I'd do it like this.

I'd work out my strengths, and my interests. I drum in a band, so maybe
bands (not that there's likely to be much money in that), or drum related
sites .. anon through my interests and beliefs.

Then what sites have I done before? For instance, I did a charity site
once for disabled people, so it was strong on accessibility. I'd maybe ask
them, if they were happy, whether they knew anyone else who might want a

Then there's your location. What companies are within walking distance of
where you are? They might like the idea of using someone so local they
could call you and you could be there in an hour or so.

In overview, I think there are two strategies. First, general awareness ..
so having a business line and an entry in the yellow pages, and obviously
having a website of your own, and maybe doing the adsense thing. General
awareness marketing without any target, although you can't afford to do
much of it, discovers those markets that are growing, who are looking for

Once you've done some work, each one is a niche market you can follow up
on. If I'd done a web site for a drum shop, I'd be contacting all the
other drum and music shops around. You can buy the lists from the Yellow
Pages although they haven't got contact names usually. Actually, for UK
lists I have another recommendation, someone I used years ago, but
hopefully she's still going. You'll have to ask me for that because I'll
have to search for it.

> Did you write first or did you call first to find out who to write to
> before the cold call?

If you direct mail (a personalised letter), expect maybe a 2% response. If
you call beforehand and make sure you have the right name and contact,
that the name really is responsible for the web development, and then you
send a letter, you can double your response, so that's 4%. If you follow
up with a call, you double again, so 8%.

Personally, I'd add right up front, researching the company's website and
working out how you might improve it. Then make the initial contact, find
the responsible person, see if they might be interested in your ideas,
then write an individual letter and follow it up to see if you can meet
with them. I'd hope for 16% with that kinda thing. If you can do just one
a day, that'll turn into just short of a new client every week. Well, if
you're on your own and doing a good job you'll have full order books
pretty quickly at that. As you get busier, drop back with the marketing.

Obviously it's not just one call, you keep calling till you get them,
maybe cutoff at eight tries or so. Those in the latter stage of the
process you'll need to put into a diary system, they'll maybe want to talk
after the next board meeting, or in the next financial year, etc.


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