November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving holiday and share a few notes and observations with you. With Christmas just around the corner, I find that the Thanksgiving holiday provides more time to actually be reflective without all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, so in case I don’t get a chance to send another one of these before the end of the year, I also want to wish you and your family a very happy holiday season. There, I think that covered all the politically correct angles….

I thought I was pretty familiar with the GeoQuote system but I learned something new this week. When a residential lead comes in and I mark it as residential, an email is sent to that customer automatically with a link to your ShopForDSL site with your agent ID. It may still be worth you following up, that is a decision only you can make, although I personally believe that residential telecom offerings are not worth the time to market them, there are many other things that can be offered to the residential consumer, assuming you elect to market to that segment anyway.

Speaking of residential customers, I find it both interesting as well as distressing that so many residential leads have been coming into the system lately from many of you. Part of that is not your fault — the residential DSL and cable providers make a lot of use of the terms “broadband” and “highspeed“, which in my opinion is toeing the line of truth in advertising. Yes, DSL and cable are technically “broadband“, and while “highspeed” is a relative term compared to dialup or smoke signals, it is unfortunately at least somewhat accurate. And we cannot expect every residential surfer on the face of the planet to understand or comprehend that a T1 is just not financial reality for a residential setting. When you are doing Internet marketing, some of this is part & parcel of the territory.

But there are things you can do also. Do you market or advertise your site(s) in places where residential users gather? If you are fishing for marlin or sailfish, you do not throw your line into the shallow waters where the minnows gather, and then scratch your head and wonder why all you are catching are minnows.

What kind of bait are you using? If you just throw the hook into the water with NO bait, you are only going to catch … well … stupid fish.

I am continually amazed at the number of leads (trash leads) that originate from RiverOffers.com. Now don’t get me wrong, I have a tremendous amount of respect for what RiverOffers has to offer the residential customer, but I can virtually guarantee that the customer who finds your T1 site via riveroffers.com is not the kind of customer where your T1 site can help them at all. The link from your riveroffers site to your T1 site is there for linking purposes, and NOT because you are likely to obtain any worthwhile customer traffic from that link.

If you know that the big fish are looking for particular kinds of bait (and if you have been following my newsletters, reading in your back office, and doing your own research where I have already told you where to do that, you already know what kind of bait you should be using), how many different kinds of carp will you catch when you use jello or yogurt on your hook?

Have you even tried fishing in a barrel, where you KNOW the right fish are there? I’m talking about offline marketing, where you already know that the qualified leads you get from that are 2 to 3 times better than the leads you get from the Internet? I don’t mean putting on a suit and meeting face to face with customers (gasp!), I’m talking about a US postal mail campaign, where for about $42 you can send out 100 flyers addressed to the IT Director of companies who use the bigger bandwidth. That could be the best $42 you’ve ever spent.

Do you have what it takes to actually talk to potential customers? Remember, if YOU enter the lead in the back office as a WARM lead where you have already talked to the customer, the system is fully aware that you have hand-entered that lead, and if it closes, your commission is DOUBLED. I’m not suggesting that you become a walking Wikipedia for telecom, but rather just talk to a customer and see if there is interest there, where you would be more than happy to have someone who CAN talk 1’s and 0’s all day long give him or her a call, like me. Do NOT simply let your fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages and start entering company names & addresses, because at the end of it, that is still a cold call, but if you have already talked to the customer and they have indicated some interest in discussing telecom, wouldn’t that be potentially worth your while?

Do you need help putting together a flyer for a mailing? If so, where have you gone for help? I am more than willing to help you with that.

Do you need help in determining how to bait your hook and where to throw the line? Instead of continuing to wonder, why not search out the answer, and if nothing else, contact me where I can provide suggestions until the cows come home, and beyond.

Have you implemented any of the things that I suggested in previous newsletters to increase your relevant traffic? If not, why not? Are you not convinced that they can be effective? I can virtually guarantee that those methods (and many others that I have not even shared with you yet) are indeed effective. The one sure thing that you can take to the bank is that with inaction, nothing will change, and in fact with inaction, things will go downhill from where they are today.

The companies who are interested in telecom circuit purchases are out there, guaranteed, and the market is not saturated. Even in this economy, and in many respects, even more BECAUSE of this economy, companies are needing to reduce costs. This fact gives you a tremendous leg up because you are in a position to allow them to maintain their connectivity, maintain their productivity, and still save money in the process. What more can you ask for? I have run across many customers in recent years where they have a T1 or DS3 circuit that they have simply been paying the bill for years and years, not doing any price shopping. This is the kiss of death for a business, since the CARRIER is not going to tell them that prices have dropped. One customer from a few months ago sticks in my mind — they had a fractional T1 (384k) that they have had for about 6-7 years, and I could have QUADRUPLED their bandwidth (to a full T1) and still cut their costs in HALF. If a customer has had their circuit for more than say 2-3 years, chances are better than excellent that they can save money on it with us.

So how are you finding those customers? First you need to make them aware that they have a need. If they don’t know they have a need, they are not going to be searching online in the search engines, so even the best keywords in the world are not going to help you find that customer. This is a huge point for a mailing, to have the right person open that mail, read your flyer, and suddenly start to wonder if this is a place they can save some money and appease the corporate bean-counters who are requesting budget reductions, without also being required to sacrifice bandwidth or functionality. This particular business model came out decades ago and is still extremely viable. As an example, a couple of years ago, I did not know I needed a big-screen LCD TV until I started to see the ads I got in the mail, then suddenly realized that of course I needed one of these, but without the mail and flyers, I would still be watching a smaller tube TV today. In other words, the ads CREATED the need, where prior to that, I was not burning up Google or Bing searching for deals on LCD TV’s because I didn’t know I needed one. 🙂

Many closers are getting away from receiving leads from lead agents because the quality of those leads has seriously deteriorated in the past year and particularly in recent months. It also affects the closer’s RPL score (Revenue Per Lead), where with too many uncloseable leads coming in, the closer does not receive new leads from the system. However, I used to be a Cognigen agent, am still a Commission River agent, and I still firmly believe in lead agents and the leads you are capable of producing, given some direction, and that is the purpose of these newsletters. As the saying goes, “ya gotta dance with who brung ya to the party“, and I have not forgotten who brought me to the party – YOU, where I want to continue to help you get this party livened up!

Summary

I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness”) of where you are, where you are going, and how you are going to get there. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions. My best wishes for a very happy Thanksgiving!

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238