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Go ahead, make money from your competition

March 30, 2000
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How many thousands of times have you heard, “I’d like to shop around, then I’ll get back to you.” What do you do? Leave without the sale?

If you know your products and installation are superior and you offer the best value, then it’s your duty to help the customer choose you. So do the customer’s shopping for them.

Have an employee or spouse stay home and take competitors’ bids one day. Then insert your competition’s actual quotes and proposals in your presentation book.

Next, print sheets that compare apples to apples. Include warranties, guarantees, energy ratings, extras, cost, and length of time spent for the presentation. This becomes your “Comparison Shopping Guide.”

When you show this to your prospect, remind them of how much time they’ll spend gathering the same information. Just 11¼2 hrs per company would save them 6 or 8 hrs. Plus, your “Shopping Guide” puts all their needs in one place.

You’ll have a way to reel in those “Let me shop around” prospects, then either close them or find their real objection. As a side benefit, you’ll see exactly what your competition may be doing right, that you could imitate.

Mailing yourself is a good idea

Always include your own address in your direct mailing. Why?
  • You find out when your letters are being delivered, and can watch for areas that receive them late.
  • Your employees may have missed or forgotten about the scheduled offer. This is their reminder.

As an option, you can have one mailed to each of the employees who need to keep up with the offer. They’ll have their own copy, and you’ll know the reliability of your mailing or postal service.

Direct response figures to bank on

Direct-response ads can be explosively powerful. But you must watch closely for a $135 cost per lead average. (Divide the ad cost by leads generated.)

If direct-response ads cost over $250 per sale, but your cost per lead is acceptable, then your sales closing ratio is too low.

If you’re getting closes but aren’t getting financing, check other sources for backup or “secondary” financing.

Keeping tabs on your cost per sale and cost per lead is among the wisest — and easiest — ways to monitor your marketing’s effectiveness.

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