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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.
Direct Mail Follow Up
Posted by Anonymous on
1/20/2006 at 10:07 AM ET
I am introducing a new product to a market I do not traditionally serve. I have purchased a mailing list and will sending out postcards detailing my value proposition. I have a dealer network I can utilize to support the mailing. My question is how to design a follow plan that best utilizes my dealer network and maximizes my sales opportunities.
1/20/2006 at 8:12 PM
Assuming your postcards are professionally designed and have a compelling message, you've done all you need to do with your end-user audience. Devote your energies to training and motivating your dealer network to close the sale.
You might want to have a contest of some kind, or an "everybody wins" prize for dealer sales reps. At a minimum, you'll want to be sure to provide them with FAQs and suggested answers, so that when someone comes to them for info they don't just stare at them like they are from Mars.
If you do a really good job, you might even get the dealer sales people to proactively sell your product even to prospects who didn't receive a postcard.
1/23/2006 at 11:55 AM
Follow-up plans work best if the initial steps (i.e., the marketing) lay good ground work. Here are three ways you could go.
CAVEAT: I don't know what kind of cost-per-lead your business can handle, so obviously these options may not work for you simply from a cost basis.
1) One option (if indeed the postcards aren't finished and mailed already) is to include the dealer's name/brand on the mailing. Dealers LOVE this, as it puts their name in the marketplace on your nickel. Of course, this is a bit complicated since you have to determine which specific dealers you want on which specific prospect's mailing (but automated systems such as the one referenced by the earlier response above can make this easy). Even if you can't take this step, proceed to option 2 below.
2) As responses come in, allocate these leads to specific PRE-TRAINED dealers. As time goes on you will see which dealers are better closers. Don't be afraid to follow up with prospects (esp. those who did NOT close) later to get their opinion on how the dealer did in presenting the opportunity. If you feel this option takes control of the prospect away from you too soon, then try #3 below.
3) As responses come in, make JOINT follow-up calls on each prospect - you and the appropriate dealer. You bring the dealer in early enough, but you maintain control (and visibility) of the sales process. If your product takes a few face-to-face meetings to close, it is up to you as to when is the right time to step away and let the dealer close.
In sum, the more you can involve dealers in the marketing process, the better the results in the selling process.
1/25/2006 at 8:29 AM
I disagree with mgoodman that you have done all you need to. I do agree with him on offering incentives to your dealers. I also agree with kevin.hornes advice but I would take this one step further.
I would continue to send direct mail to prospects. It is not enough for them to read your message once. Use the direct mail piece to take your prospects one step at a time through the sales cycle. For example, maybe the first mailer is an awareness piece, second mailer is a call for action to visit your website (or the dealers’), third to sign up for a newsletter...so on and so on. Take them through the sales steps that you use that would lead to a close.
Whatever you decide to do, however, follow up is essential in sales. As Kevin.Horne said, don't be afraid to do this. Develop a plan that will include follow-up.
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