Mail & Telephone: Winning B-to-B Combo









Proud and mighty beasts though they were, dinosaurs and in-person salesmen couldn't keep up with changing times.

We already know about dinosaurs. Today we use what is left of them for gasoline. In-person salesmen are another story. They are too fresh for fuel and too stale to keep as they are.

What caused the decline of the field salesman, the Tyrannosaurus Rex of marketing? It was his rising costs and flat performance. An in-person, back-whacking, martini-buying, expense-account, good-old-boy, friend-of-the-client salesman is now too expensive and slow. He can't react quickly enough or efficiently enough to satisfy the growing needs of today's low-margin, fast-paced marketplace.

Maybe That's What Happened to Dinosaurs

Too hungry and too slow to keep up with changing times.

An incredible marketing revolution is now underway to change the face of business in America. It uses mail and telephone (and e-mail) instead of across-the-desk sales personnel. It is the salvation of many industrial and consumer marketing programs.

Through a professional mail/telephone/email marketing system, a salesperson can make 20 or more sales calls per day. (Compare this with the four or five client contacts per day made by typical in-person salesmen.) A mail/telephone salesman is able to stay in constant contact with clients, relaying urgent information, selling, reminding, and motivating.

He Can Do All of This without Heavy Travel Expenses, Vast Entertainment Bills, or Virtuoso Performances at the Client's Conference Table

Mail/telephone marketing is a highly sophisticated way to reach and motivate clients, unearth prospects, upsell existing customers, open new territory, and react immediately to changes in the marketplace.

But switching to mail/telephone sales, or using it to augment in-person selling, does not mean simply putting your field salesmen on the phone and mailing out flyers.

It takes much more than that for a successful mail/telephone marketing program. It takes careful planning.

Mail/Telephone Marketing Is Not an Easier Way to Market

In fact, it is harder. Like the modern computer that replaced pen & ink bookkeeping, it is more complex, more sophisticated, and more in need of front line management’s attention.

On the other hand it is more powerful, more flexible, more responsive, more efficient, and more economical. It's advantages far outweigh its demands on corporate resources. For a rapidly growing number of companies it is the only means of survival.

To illustrate mail/telephone marketing, we will give you the following sample program we helped create for a major West Coast nutritional supplement manufacturer.

The company, well-known to health food stores on the West Coast, was unknown elsewhere in the nation. They wanted to expand their sales into the Midwest and East. They thought they had Hobson's choice: 1) Hire and support a greatly expanded field sales team, or 2) Turn their line over to a rep firm.

The first choice was terribly expensive. The second choice left them cold because rep firms are notorious for doing little more than taking orders. Both ways were slow.

We Suggested a Third Choice

We mentioned mail/telephone/e-mail marketing. Their response was immediate and animated. "No way. Impossible. It's not the way it's done. You have to press the flesh. It takes strokes, you know. Got to look 'em in the eyes." Etc., and more etc.

That was their sales manager talking.

It was a classic response, only slightly less conservative than: "If God had wanted people to sell over the phone we would've been born with headsets." More objective opinions prevailed and we launched a pilot program: a single salesperson was to be given the job of mail/telephone marketing. It was not an all-out commitment, but it was a start.

Knowing a Stacked Deck When We See One

We insisted the new salesperson be someone without sales experience in their manufacturing business. We wanted to avoid the pessimism and threatened equities of the field staff, so we hired a young, energetic, former health food store manager as the new mail/telephone salesman.

You can't turn people loose on the phone with orders to "Sic 'em, Tiger!" It takes a carefully constructed path to reach your mail/telephone sales goals. So the first thing we did was plan the sale sequence. The sales sequence is a chain of communication events that lead to a sale.

The First Thing You Want to Do Is "Break the Ice"

The sales sequence we created for the nutrition supplement manufacturer went like this: 1) A simple introductory telephone call was made to health food stores. No order was asked for and nothing was done except to plant the seed of identity. We said that we were a major West Coast manufacturer and we would mail something important to them, and to please look for it and read it immediately. 2) Next, we mailed a cordial, individually typed and signed letter along with a general image brochure and product list. No order was asked for yet. Up to this point we'd been softening them up, establishing identity, and linking to a rapport before we got down to selling. 3) –

We Started the All-Out Selling with an Urgent Phone Call

We told the prospect we had to have representation in their area and we wanted it to be them. We were prepared to make an extremely attractive order on a highly popular item, usually a Vitamin D or a multi-vitamin/mineral. It was such a good price they could hardly refuse. In fact, it was a loss leader.

That was the icebreaker. Suddenly we had an account, not a prospect. Once we had an account the mail/telephone marketing system was redirected toward a carefully-planned sales sequence to upsell, introduce more products, get more shelf space, etc.

Every marketing step was planned, rehearsed, and executed to achieve the precision of a commando attack. Every step led us closer to our marketing goals. And it worked. Today the client is a major supplier to health food stores throughout the Midwest and East – without having sent a single in-person salesmen to those stores. It was all done through mail/telephone marketing.

Of course there will always be times when nothing but an in-person sales presentation will do. But those times are surprisingly few – regardless of what your expense account salesmen say.

Even when in-person sales calls are absolutely necessary for major presentations there'll still be room for mail/telephone marketing as a sales support and sales leveraging system.

Do Buyers like Mail/Telephone/E-Mail Marketing?

They love it. Buyers are busy people. It is much easier to get them on the phone for 5 minutes than it is to set up a half-hour office appointment. Buyers welcome the efficiency of a mail/telephone program.

If the present trend toward remote marketing through mail/telephone and e-mail continues, in-person salespersons may be on the verge of extinction, while those who develop the power and efficiency of mail/telephone marketing will command the profits of the future.

Prev Next Home

©2011 John Nicksic Copy
707 E. Palace Ave.
Suite 2
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501