Doing Great in a Do-Not-Call World

Who would have thought a few years ago that we would be prevented by law from telemarketing? Some dealers think it is a disaster but some are thriving—selling more than ever. Times and markets change. Maybe the do-not-call list was the best thing that ever happened to our industry. Here are some great tactics dealers are using to get all the leads they want without breaking the law.

Become The Welcome Wagon

Many dealers are reporting success with buying new home owner lists and having their sales staff go out and knock on the new home owner’s door. This cuts out the middleman telemarketer and puts the salesperson directly in touch with the new home owner. Many companies offer new home owners a free pizza coupon and a free case of bottled water just for having their water tested. Sure it takes more time but while they are there, they can call on a few neighbors as well. It’s simple, it’s legal and effective.

Health Seminars —
Free Filtration System

One of my friends in the industry has convinced a large local HMO (health insurance provider) to make him the “water guy” at the free seminars they give about nutrition. The HMO does the advertising and gets 40 or 50 people to attend. A dietician talks about food and he talks about water. Then he says he is so concerned about their water that he will give them a free water filtration system just for having their water tested. The system he gives is just a carbon filter and a housing and they only
get it if he does a full demo in their home. The customer would have to call a plumber to have it installed. Naturally, this makes an RO seem very attractive. This dealer gets 20 appointments per week and has a very high closing rate. His advertising cost: zero.

Thirst Aid Stations

One innovative dealer has vans with nice graphics. They are called Thirst Aid Stations. The driver of the van and a salesperson must go out every day to some event where they give away small cups of water and sell sports bottles. The sale of sports bottles covers the cost of the van and driver. The salesperson gets appointments with those who try the free water and those who buy sports bottles.

Joint Advertising

Here is a smooth one. Up north, many rural homes are heated with propane gas, and this gas must be delivered by truck. A large propane dealer might have 10 trucks and they might make 20 deliveries each per day for a total of 200 deliveries per day—4,000 per month! After they fill the tank, they hang a plastic bag with an invoice on the customers’ door knob. An enterprising dealer near me made a deal with the propane company. Each invoice came with a card attached that said. “We care about our customers. Carbon monoxide from your furnace can be dangerous. We’d like to give you a free carbon monoxide alarm to thank you for your business. To get your free tester, just call.... They will bring out your free tester and do a free test of your water as well.” What a great way to generate leads at a low cost.

School Science Projects

I met a salesperson at a seminar
who told me that a few years ago he approached the science teacher at a local high school with the suggestion that he would come in and teach a session on the environment, water and pollution and show the kids how to test the water from their home. Each child brought a water sample from home and was taught to test it. He got 600 water samples and he sent a report to each as a courtesy and followed up. He said the best part was that every home had a child who really believed in upgrading the water and was his biggest tool toward the sale.

Army of Seniors

For 20 years, this is the only way I advertised for my company. I put an ad in a local seniors paper that said, “Drivers wanted to pick up water samples from local home owners.” I hired seniors to work from about 3:00 p.m. (more people are home when the kids are back from school) until dark. I gave them a script that I would be glad to send to any reader who calls or emails and asks for it. They averaged seven bottles per hour and I paid them $2.00 per water sample.

Every day I had 20 bottles on each of my sales staff’s desk. They did the analysis and called to set their own appointments. If you give each salesperson 20 bottles per day, they can easily generate two appointments and your cost per demo is $20.00—far less than the cost of telemarketing. Best of all, because they set their own appointments, it eliminates the old tug of war as to whether the appointment was a good one or a wild goose chase.

There you have a few examples. Some may not be your first choice. The point is that without telemarketing we have to open our eyes to other great ways to succeed. As times change, we all have to change with them or we will join the dinosaurs
on a path to extinction.

Carl Davidson is president of Sales & Management Solutions, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in sales and management video training and live seminars exclusively for the water equipment industry. He has authored several books including Financial Secrets of the Water Improvement Industry and numerous articles. Send comments to davidson@salesco.net. For a free demonstration video, newsletter and list of products, contact Carl at 800-941-0068; www.carldavidson.com; davidson@carldavidson.com.

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