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Markeintg Help/Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Questions and Answers' started by TiP54, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. TiP54

    TiP54 Bad Reputation

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    So my dad joined his buddy's business, the guy has a general contractor's license. He owns a company that installs fireplaces, fountains, statues, staircases and etc. This guy has been doing this for 8 years, he has tons of footage of jobs completed (I can present it here, if anybody wants to see what exactly they do) and can present references if needed. They are based here, in south fla, but will do any job in continental US. They guy approached me, and pretty much told me that I will get 5% of every job I will get for them. All I have to do is call, email companies that sell any of the previously listed things, introduce myself as a representative and offer our services.
    My questions is, what is the best strategy from my perspective, to land as many (if any) jobs as possible?
     
  2. anlgp

    anlgp ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A

    use social networking to your advantage.

    facebook, myspace, twitter, etc

    put it OUT THERE.

    create a fan page on facebook

    create a group on myspace

    hell create profiles in addition

    use word of mouth

    create business cards (or carry some if he has some made)

    just thinking off the top of my head.
     
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  3. TiP54

    TiP54 Bad Reputation

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    Thanks for input.
    The guy suggested just seaking out companies that sell that stuff, and call, email them our services.
     
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  4. anlgp

    anlgp ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A

    that's good advice too.

    take both :lol:
     
  5. cnc66

    cnc66 wiley veteran, bad spelur Luxury Box

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    ^^ That is how I would go about it. Get in with suppliers, make friends with contractors and designers. Make sure you give the contractor a happy customer and if your price is even close to fair he will bring you back. Do all the media stuff suggested too, get out there on the www with pictures.. I know you know the importance of images.. I have a large portfolio of my work that I have loaded into my laptop.. I take it with me and that lets me show off exactly what they want to see.. and then some. I have close ups of solved problems and examples of corners, steps, radii, columns and such finished in different ways. When you can go over the job and show them how it will finish they are eager to get started.

    It will be hard for you to land contracts because you are selling a service that "you" are not actually providing. You have to be prepared and up to speed on pricing. You cannot be vague but define what you are giving "for" that price. When it comes time to show pictures chose the examples of their work carefully.. interest is short, time is precious, know what it would cost to do the work shown. "This is what we will give you for XX per sq ft.. we would do this same fireplace for you at XX dollars". You will have to generate enough interest for them to make the next step and that's meet the contractor. If you can get a percentage for arranging that, you "could" do well when things pick back up.

    You are young and inexperienced, it is a handicap that will take determined efforts to overcome. Spend time on the jobs.. work while you ask questions.. do smart things.. anticipate a need, pick up trash, clean a trowel or level. Find out what "quality" means. From the artisan, what constitutes a quality job to him. What was his best work.. get them bragging, you will learn what is important to them. Get to understand the codes that control the installations. Treat the folks at permitting nicely and that will come back in spades.

    Go with them and get introduced to their contacts as their rep, it will add their rep to yours, don't let them down.

    These men.. your Dad, his partner, their men, have a lifetime of experience and they will share it if you are respectful, can convince them you are serious about learning, and just might make them money. Working with your Dad can be tough. He will want you to succeed, but will probably be a hard-*** about it. Mine was, "I" was, yours prolly will be too.. good luck Mark, feel free to ask anything anytime.
     
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  6. TiP54

    TiP54 Bad Reputation

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    Thanks for your write up Marty.

    You make a lot of great points, but I guess I didin't really make myself clear. My dad and his friend have jobs on regular basis that company that they work for. Basically, the guy pretty much told me that for every job I land them, I make 5%. I won't be out, working with them, because I have my own full time job + full time school. I will be calling places that sell the items that my dad and his friend isntall, the fireplaces, statues...whatever it might be. I will pretty much email them, or call them and say something within "Hi, my name is so and so, I represent so and so, we specialize in installation of this and that, a licensed, certified, 8+ years of experience, with examples of finished works and such" The price of the job will be determined by my dads friend, who will then look at the job (if i manage and get the offer) and tell him how much it will cost. If they agree, I get 5%. What I was wondering, what would be the best way to present myself, and in which way I should call(email) companies, starting with state, and then going out. Sorry i didn't make this clearer.
     
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  7. Vendigo

    Vendigo German Gigolo Club Member

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    My first advice would be: Take a reality check to see if it's actually worth your time and effort - because you would probably have to invest a lot of both into it. 5% might sound like a lot initially but what's the 5% of? Total value of the deal? The money the company actually makes after taxes and whatnot? How much exactly would that be? And how much time and work do you have to put into it to make one sale? And after you've made it, can you make another one afterwards or will it take the company a longer period of time to complete the first one?

    I don't want to discourage you but I'm asking these questions because 5% isn't a lot by any means considering the amount of both time and effort you would probably have to invest in order to pitch this properly to potential customers. If you're just looking for a quick buck on the side, I would advise against it but then again, I don't have enough information to say either way.
     
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  8. TiP54

    TiP54 Bad Reputation

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    Well, for example something like this (and these are rough, very rought estimates) pops told me that for a "small" fountain they get around 6-8 grand.
    [​IMG]

    And if the job is something like this

    [​IMG]

    Id imagine its more than that.
    While they even had jobs like this.
    Which is waay more than that.
    [​IMG]

    And what is required on my part?
    When i get a moment in front of a computer, instead of trolling on JN, ill google, or yellow page companies that sell statues, marble, or whatever, and just introduce "us" and tell them what we can do.
    At the end of the job, they get a check, for the amoun of $ that was agreed upon before. I get 5% commission of that number.
    Im just trying to get tips, advices on how should i present myself, and how should I search for places that sell this stuff.
     
  9. Vendigo

    Vendigo German Gigolo Club Member

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    My second advice would be: upgrade to pro today! :lol:
     
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  10. Vendigo

    Vendigo German Gigolo Club Member

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    Okay:

    - Get the right person on the line. Don't just call the office or the front desk or whatever, call whoever is in charge to greenlight what you intend to sell. Your first order of business should be to compile a list with names and - if possible - extensions. If you can't find someone's extension, at least know their names so you can ask the staff to connect you.

    - Be prepared. They are bound to ask you questions you can't answer if you do not know the business and that's bad. The hard part will be to actually get someone on the line and listen to you. If you can't answer his questions when they do - and they are bound to be specific - then you're dead.

    - Have an info mail ready. If you manage to get through to someone in charge and they listen - have an info e-mail ready to send. Make sure to personalize it and make sure there are no spelling mistakes etc. in it. Don't push it on the phone. Ask politely if you are allowed to send them pictures and references and such and if they agree, do so right away.

    - Brace yourself for a lot of "thanks but no thanks". That'll be the standard reply. Ask politely if you may call them back at a later point in time and/or send them an info e-mail.

    - Smile. It's the oldest trick in the business but if you force yourself to smile during the call, you'll come across as much more friendly and agreeable.
     
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  11. TiP54

    TiP54 Bad Reputation

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    Im pretty good with people.
    I mean to the point, where I talked a guy in to handing me a scholarship, who did not even want to see me, and met me because he was obligated to.
    You make a good point about questions.
    What could they ask?
    I think I have most bases covered.
    What would you ask I called you? :D
     
  12. 2k5

    2k5 I miss Ted Ginn Jr.

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    On a slightly unrelated note, those fountains are beautiful, the pictures of them should be too. Not trying to knock anyone, just trying to help out here, but in my opinion, if those pictures are the best that your dad's business has, I would highly recommend getting a photographer to take some professional shots to highlight the great workmanship of the fountains. Especially if the pictures are used in the contracting stages, which I'm assuming they are. Really beautiful art there though, I especially like the last one.
     
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  13. phinnhedd

    phinnhedd Reality.

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    Best advice is to tell the people who had jobs done to let their friends know or offer them incentives on getting their friends to seek you guys out. Word of mouth is the best advertisement in the business. If the guy has been doing it for as long as you say I'm sure he has plenty of customers willing to put their noses out for your sake. Use your reputation to your advantage.

    Go as far as monetary incentives. You won't have jobs unless they help you out, sort of like you getting them jobs and getting 5%. Seek out contractors and try to stick your foot in the door there, everything is worth a shot, don't sell yourself short and stick by your reputation. You can't go wrong.
     
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  14. HardKoreXXX

    HardKoreXXX Insensitive to the Touch

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    Some pretty good advice here, so as a (Ahem) Marketing & Sales Mgr. myself, I'll throw in my two cents.

    As mentioned, you definintely need to have a professional email package available. A prospective customer is always going to want to see work you've done (or in this case, the company you're calling for).

    One of the biggest things you'll need to do is identify who your target customers are. This could be contractors, owners of golf courses, apartment complexes, gated communities, hotels, whatever. Finding out who would utilize your service is just as important as being able to sell them on it.

    Lastly, and you may have mentioned this, does this company have a website? If not, tell them to drop everything and get someone on that right away. In today's business world, not having a website is just as bad as not having a business card.
     
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  15. ToddsPhins

    ToddsPhins Banned

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    1st things first. Before you start selling anything, you really need to learn your product in depth.... especially since you'll be dealing with a higher end clientele. The more you know about your product the more value you can build into it and make more sales. With more knowledge also comes more confidence, and with that comes more confidence in you from your prospective buyers. You have to be able to answer every question they throw at you. It seems like you will be dealing with a lot of people who are under the stress of making decisions all day long, so the last thing most of these people want is to have another decision added to their day. So learn your stuff. It seems like you'll not only have to know it, but you'll also have to act as a decorating advisor, know what goes with what architectural styles, landscaping etc.

    What is your sales back ground. Others can help with the marketing, but I can definitely help with the sales.

    There are conventions etc that you can start attending and marketing yourself to (realtor, architectural, constructural groups etc). When you go to these, you sell yourself...not your product. Get in with contractors for hotels, estate homes, etc so these people can give u a heads up on new construction. Maybe even look for new residential developments and leave informational/sales brochures with new owners or find realtors who will add your stuff to welcome home packages.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
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  16. TiP54

    TiP54 Bad Reputation

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    Anybody?
     
  17. ToddsPhins

    ToddsPhins Banned

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    It's not "what I would ask when you call me".... but what "you" would ask when you call me. ;) There's a lot more to sales than being a quick talker, but at least you have the talent to develop. I recommend HIGHLY that you buy a few books on sales. I can't tell you everything b/c it would take me too many pages to do so. LOL.

    You need to learn how to discover people's "hot buttons".... how to discover their needs and build their trust.... how your product will benefit their needs.... or how to make your product seem like it will benefit their needs.... how to properly qualify your prospect so that you have them on the right products for their needs/budget.....how to build value in your product so that prospects will feel it equals or surpasses the price your charging making it a worth while investment, b/c no one buys anything they like unless they feel the price is equal to or less than their perceived value of the product.... you need to learn when to ask open ended questions and when to ask close ended questions. You need to learn when to ask for the sale b/c it will differ from person to person, and need to learn the different ways of closing a deal. There are steps to a sale that need to be followed. When you talk about your products, you need to be talking about the benefits of the products. You need to know the features of all your products so that you can turn them into potential benefits. Cold calling/ telemarketing is different than face to face, so you'll need to read up on both aspects. The more prepared you are, the more money you'll make. This isn't something you can just wing, so keep that in mind. It takes a LOT of work to become a successful sales person. I modified a sales-training manual for a large national company, so trust me, I know.
     
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  18. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    There are many solid ideas here but none of them have come from true salesmen. There are two priorities you need up front; qualified leads and a professional sales package.

    For the leads you would search the internet for active contractors that are building subdivisions, quality hotel chains, etc. There are businesses that do nothing but generate these types of leads for you (for a price) or you can research it yourself. I personally would work the hotel line first because if you could locate a purchaser in Mariott, for example, a sale there could produce hundreds of thousands of dollars of business at muptiple locations.

    For your presentation package, absolutely nobody will even consider buying from you if the best you can do is to provide a friendly voice on the phone saying why your product is better than everyone else's. The craftsmanship looks great in your pictures, but the lack of landscaping was the first thing that caught my eye. You need to get together referrences from 2-3 people and photographs of their installed fountains. Then visit a typesetter and get a professional layout of your material in a two or three page spread that you can mail off to any potential client. It may cost you a few hundred dollars up front, and a dollar or two for each you print at Kinkos, but one job would pay for a year's worth of supplies.

    Once you have both aspects in hand, mail the packages to your top 100 leads on Thursday and follow up with 100 phone calls the following Wednesday referring to the material. Repeat this each week while keeping thorough notes including names, interests, etc (like, how'd your wife's birthday party go last month....it's an instant door opener). Most importantly, do not fear rejection. The average cold call sale on a qualified lead is less than 10%...you will fail more than you succeed.

    Just remember one sale a week pays your bills (you sounded young without a family yet), two a week would be a good income. Referrals in that type of industry are your biggest source of income, so as you progress your cold calling will decrease and eventually if you do it right you can hire a friend to do most of the cold calling for you.

    Last but not least, do not do this for 5%. Ask for 12-15%, settle for 8-10%. Explain to the owner the amount of money it will require up front to make this a full time income places all the risk on you; he has nothing to lose. Once you get the terms worked out (like lets say you contact someone but six months later he contacts the owner directly....how much do you get? Or lets say you get him a job and two years later they call back wanting 5 more for new locations, what do you get? Or your customer does not buy anything, but he tells another business owner about it and they contact the onwer directly, what do you get? What if the customer hates the product and demands his money back, do you owe money back too?) There are many scenarios that could screw you, define them beforehand in a written contract....especially since you will be working with your father and business makes enemies quicker than anything in a family. If there is a referrence in place, it will avoid many hard feelings down the road.
     
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  19. Samphin

    Samphin Κακό σκυλί ψόφο δεν έχει

    Mark, I would put together a portfolio of all the work done. I would also suggest searching for a blue book. They have a ton of contractor's businesses, etc. for you to talk with and network with. Those aren't the end users, but the more you can get the companies name out there, the more it will pay off. If a prospective customer who knows next to nothing abotu this stuff, happens to walk into a lumber yard and ask where they could get themselves a fountain, if you have ocntacted these yards andleft contact info, chances are it will trigger in their head and they will pass it on., as an example.

    Also, the best type of advertisement is word of mouth and customer testimonials. I would call up previous customers, ask them how they are liking the product your company provided for them, ask them what they would like to see more of in the future, what worked, what didn't and if they wouldn't mind providing a testimonail to be used in marketing materials to help further solicit business. If they are happy with what was provided, typically human nature kicks in to want to promote it (its like letting others in on a secret, we just can't help ourselves).

    Cold calling is tough and can be VERY difficult to get past a receptionist ( often times, their JOB is to block sales people and freeze them out). I recommend starting with someof the easier calls first to get used to it. And also, perhaps get creative. Customers, especially now, are price driven, so probably the first question they will ask is price. You will have to sell them on the quality, customer service, etc.

    In my business, I am ALWAYS the highest price and still come away with the majority of the business, mainly because I service the hell out of the customers and things like that, can help save thousands of dollars on the back end in fixing mistakes, versus a couple of thousand up front.

    But yes, I think, since it looks like you guys are selling aesthetic type materials, that a profesional looking portfolio is certainly needed.
     
  20. maynard

    maynard Who, whom?

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    it would seem to me that you would have to educate yourself more on the business before your start calling people

    if they ask you specific questions and your response, "ill have ______ call you with the details," it will be tough to "hook" them. without haivng to strike a deal right then and there, you still have to know the price points, duration, workload schedule, etc. you need knowledge of the job and all the jargon that comes with it

    i would guess that you need to be more of salesman and not a referrer. you need to treat it like a real job where you have authority and accountability. you really need to be an employee

    as someone else said, you need to figure out if its worth it to you. nothing is as simple as making some calls and collecting your 5%.

    im not in sales, so i dont know, but thats my opinion
     
  21. 2socks

    2socks Rebuilding Since 1973

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    are you looking for the actual paying customer or a contractor who will sell to their customers your product?????

    Huge difference in marketing.
     

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