A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham McGregor: Getting appointments with key decision makers

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Sending out carefully targeted promotions helped get one company appointments with key decision makers. Photo / Thinkstock
Sending out carefully targeted promotions helped get one company appointments with key decision makers. Photo / Thinkstock

I received an excellent article recently from Tim Holliday the owner of
Children's World and Children's World Uniforms.

Children's World Uniforms partners with private schools to provide the uniforms that their students wear to school every day.

Each school is significant, because it means outfitting many hundreds of students they have with uniforms.

Obtaining meetings with the appropriate personnel at the school, to discuss a uniform program, is the number one goal of the business.

Having had mixed results with phone calls and direct mail pieces, Children's World decided to try something different.

Custom promotional items were put together, featuring the Children's World information in a tangible way, instead of just on paper.

These were used as custom direct mail pieces to a targeted group of private schools in a 100 mile radius of the store. After analysing data from the internet, and conducting investigative phone calls to determine the principals and appropriate school heads to personally address the packages to, the packages were assembled.

These consisted of an award sheet showing some of the numerous reader's choice and other awards that the store has won, an engraved flashlight that had the store information, as well as a catch phrase "shining a light on promotional products", for schools to think about Children's World Uniform Supply for their uniform program.

The award sheet and flashlight were put in a colourful oversized custom box with flowers and "look what's blooming with Children's World" on the outside.

The box was personally addressed to the decision maker that had been identified above, and mailed just a few at a time, to allow time for appropriate follow-up.

Within two or three days of the delivery of the boxes, follow-up was done via direct phone calls to those decision makers.

The decision makers were much more receptive to discussions and setting up meetings to discuss Children's World's services in more detail.

The campaign resulted in 3 closed sales out of the 21 packages that were mailed. The total campaign cost approximately $12.00 per box, plus some labour costs for the time researching the schools, assembling and mailing the boxes.

Total sales of $25,000 have been realised the first year alone, with that amount expected as additional annual sales for every year these schools are served.

By using custom promotional items, unique packaging, targeted mailing, and good follow-up, Children's World was able to make this a very successful campaign.

Other businesses could something similar to target key prospects.

First, the business would need to narrow down their target market into highly qualified prospects that would be good for their business, and would appear to be able to do business with them.

This can be done by doing research on the prospects via the internet and other informational sources available.

Next, the business could work with a promotional products expert, who can help them pick products and packaging that can make a visual impact with this project.

Finally, the actual mailing needs to be done in stages, rather than all at once.

This is so the business can have time to focus on appropriate follow-up and schedule meetings with the prospects. This is a crucial point, because if appropriate follow-up is not done, the entire project might not yield results, meaning the whole thing was a waste of time and money.

If, however, the mailings are done just a few a week, so there is time to make follow-up phone calls within days of the packages being received, there is a high possibility that meetings will be granted, and the opportunity to present your business proposal will be there.

I like Tim's marketing strategy because it is simple, effective and an interesting way to get the attention of key prospects.

"When you can do a common thing in an uncommon way; you will command the attention of the world." - inventor George Washington Carver

Action Exercise:
How could you use an idea like Tim's to get noticed by key decision makers?

Graham McGregor is a marketing consultant and the creator of the 396 page 'Unfair Business Advantage Report.' www.theunfairbusinessadvantage.com (This is free and has now been read by business owners from 27 countries.) You can email him at the link above.

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A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham has had 36 years 'hands on' experience in sales and marketing. He has sold a range of services including advertising, sales training, personal development, life insurance, IT services, investment property and business consulting services.

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