Biggest Challenge for Offliners?

26 replies
I'm curious what you fellow offliners find is the biggest challenge to your business?

1. Finding potential clients
2. Closing the sale
3. Administrative, sales collateral, etc.
4. Fulfillment

I'm adding a pole to this, but if you'd like to add verbal feedback that would be great.
#biggest #challenge #offliners
  • Profile picture of the author artwebster
    I think the biggest challenge to offliners is accepting that it really isn't difficult to find prospects because every business you talk to should be a potential client, deals should virtually close themselves if the presentation is any good and once you have a client and IF you actually want to offer a continuing and valuable service - the rest takes care of itself.
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    Some old school smarts would help - and here's to Rob Toth for his help. Bloody good stuff, even the freebies!

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  • Profile picture of the author Glenn Leader
    So what you're saying here Art, is the British Army's seven P's. Proper Planning and Presentation (Preparation), Prevents P!ss Poor Performance?
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  • Profile picture of the author GoGetta
    I think offline is exactly the same as online, TAKING ACTION is the biggest challenge to many. Because it is something a little new and out there! (Actually getting out from behind the PC!) This shocks many and they believe it is actually much harder than it actually is!

    GoGetta
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  • Profile picture of the author Harry Behrens
    I think for many the hardest part is walking out the door or picking up the phone and dialing. It's too easy to get lost in the online part of the marketing where it's safe, i.e. setting up your hosting, building some sites, choosing some nice looking themes, making an SEO checklist and bringing all your sites up to date... etc etc.

    It starts to become busy-work used just to avoid the anxiety that face-to-face contact with another person who might or might not tell you to piss off creates. And it's VERY easy to get stuck in it - even easier than in traditional IM because the leap is bigger.

    It helps to divide the day into two - in the morning you might do nothing but coding/online stuff, and in the afternoon do nothing but talking and calling. Or the other way around. Even then it's still not easy for a lot of people though.
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    • Profile picture of the author ken_p
      Originally Posted by hmbehrens View Post

      I think for many the hardest part is walking out the door or picking up the phone and dialing. It's too easy to get lost in the online part of the marketing where it's safe, i.e. setting up your hosting, building some sites, choosing some nice looking themes, making an SEO checklist and bringing all your sites up to date... etc etc.

      ................................
      I totally agree with you. One of my biggest challenge is to convince people to listen to what I have to say, or to give me time of their day.
      But once, i got an audience, i think i am good to go.
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    • Profile picture of the author joshril
      Good comment... it's easy to "trick" yourself into thinking you're working when in reality the things you are doing could be outsourced or done some other time. There are peak hours to be out selling or on the phone, and it's sometimes hard to pick up the darn thing... They say that receiver weighs about 250lbs on the first call... get's lighter the more times you pick it up...

      Originally Posted by hmbehrens View Post

      I think for many the hardest part is walking out the door or picking up the phone and dialing. It's too easy to get lost in the online part of the marketing where it's safe, i.e. setting up your hosting, building some sites, choosing some nice looking themes, making an SEO checklist and bringing all your sites up to date... etc etc.

      It starts to become busy-work used just to avoid the anxiety that face-to-face contact with another person who might or might not tell you to piss off creates. And it's VERY easy to get stuck in it - even easier than in traditional IM because the leap is bigger.

      It helps to divide the day into two - in the morning you might do nothing but coding/online stuff, and in the afternoon do nothing but talking and calling. Or the other way around. Even then it's still not easy for a lot of people though.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Rivero
    Offline marketing is tougher to achieve. I will get to that once I get fantastic results from online marketing.

    From this it would be much easier to convince them because you would have solid proof right in front of them and seriously how could they say no to that?

    I guess here in Australia many people hear about the international news and get the wrong idea about which ones are legitimate and which ones aren't until we show them that it's becoming a trend.
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  • Profile picture of the author mimmo12345
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    • Profile picture of the author joshril
      Originally Posted by mimmo12345 View Post

      I think the biggest challange is just being stuck. reading so much but not taking action on anything!! worrying about 2 dollar problems like I try to do everything myself to the point where i just burn myself out. I think the key is to outsource and learn how to manage your time for optimal productivity that puts dollars in your business..

      i found a beginners guide to outsourcing hope this helps a bit

      Free File Hosting Made Simple - MediaFire
      So true... I'm a big fan of taking action... doing the stuff that puts money in your pocket and outsourcing the rest!
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      • Profile picture of the author Palo Coyote
        At a monthly 'networking' meeting I attended today I spoke one-on-one with 6 people. I now have one sale and 4 appointments to meet and tell them what I do and the 6th person invited me to a meeting of 50 other business owners on Thursday.

        NEVER - EVER (I mean this) use Internet Marketing JARGON: Hi, I'm John and I get you better 'SEO' with 'backlinks' and 'keywords' and then we get the 'SERP' to increase and your 'page rank' will be above 3. HUH? (words in single quotes are Chinese to non-Chinese speaking people)

        Here's what I ASKED, "When someone put's "Phoenix Mortuary" in Google Maps do you come up as the number one? NO? Wow, your company is the market leader, you guys are the best, that's odd. I worked with a dentist last month and when you put in, "best dentist Gilbert, AZ" he come's up FIRST. OH, you'd like to do that? Good, let's get together and talk about it, I'll take you to lunch next week. YES bring Brenda with you, she will help us convince the CEO. When we meet we will talk about, "getting you a list of people" (an autoresponder), and making you number one when someone looks for your type of business. You know this just gets you MORE CUSTOMERS." The Vice President of Marketing for this company said, "I don't know what 'backlinks' are and I don't care, you can help me, that's what I want."

        Saying, "Take Action" is a very ambigious thing to say. What action should I take? What do I say? Who do I say it to? When do I say it? What's the MAGIC 'Action' that I take?

        Here's what you can ASK (not tell, ask) you say (I'm giving you this for FREE): "Hi I'm John Jones, uh, when someone puts in YOUR COMPANY in Google Maps do you come up first?" "YES, wow, that's great! How do you do that?" (Shut up and listen then ask) "Do you have a list to send email to and tell about your business, so you will get more customers? By the way you have a great business." "NO, you don't have a LIST? That's what I do. Sure, I'll help you."

        OR, "NO, you don't come up FIRST? Does one of your competitiors?" "YES, Oh wow, do you want to be the FIRST?" "YES, great, that's what I do."

        Lesson over.

        Blessing be upon you,
        Palo
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        • Profile picture of the author joshril
          Very good info... People don't like to be talked down to, and that is how they feel when you throw internet marketing jargon into your conversation. People also care about what's in it for them... all business owners would like to make more money, and if you can do show them how to do that, you're in.

          Palo, this short post is better than most of the offline WSO's I've seen!

          Originally Posted by Palo Coyote View Post

          At a monthly 'networking' meeting I attended today I spoke one-on-one with 6 people. I now have one sale and 4 appointments to meet and tell them what I do and the 6th person invited me to a meeting of 50 other business owners on Thursday.

          NEVER - EVER (I mean this) use Internet Marketing JARGON: Hi, I'm John and I get you better 'SEO' with 'backlinks' and 'keywords' and then we get the 'SERP' to increase and your 'page rank' will be above 3. HUH? (words in single quotes are Chinese to non-Chinese speaking people)

          Here's what I ASKED, "When someone put's "Phoenix Mortuary" in Google Maps do you come up as the number one? NO? Wow, your company is the market leader, you guys are the best, that's odd. I worked with a dentist last month and when you put in, "best dentist Gilbert, AZ" he come's up FIRST. OH, you'd like to do that? Good, let's get together and talk about it, I'll take you to lunch next week. YES bring Brenda with you, she will help us convince the CEO. When we meet we will talk about, "getting you a list of people" (an autoresponder), and making you number one when someone looks for your type of business. You know this just gets you MORE CUSTOMERS." The Vice President of Marketing for this company said, "I don't know what 'backlinks' are and I don't care, you can help me, that's what I want."

          Saying, "Take Action" is a very ambigious thing to say. What action should I take? What do I say? Who do I say it to? When do I say it? What's the MAGIC 'Action' that I take?

          Here's what you can ASK (not tell, ask) you say (I'm giving you this for FREE): "Hi I'm John Jones, uh, when someone puts in YOUR COMPANY in Google Maps do you come up first?" "YES, wow, that's great! How do you do that?" (Shut up and listen then ask) "Do you have a list to send email to and tell about your business, so you will get more customers? By the way you have a great business." "NO, you don't have a LIST? That's what I do. Sure, I'll help you."

          OR, "NO, you don't come up FIRST? Does one of your competitiors?" "YES, Oh wow, do you want to be the FIRST?" "YES, great, that's what I do."

          Lesson over.

          Blessing be upon you,
          Palo
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        • Profile picture of the author Irishman
          Originally Posted by Palo Coyote View Post

          Saying, "Take Action" is a very ambigious thing to say. What action should I take? What do I say? Who do I say it to? When do I say it? What's the MAGIC 'Action' that I take?

          Hey Josh,

          The above quote by Palo was hands down the #1 most asked
          question from my list. And as we can see from a couple posts
          in this thread, it is something that does indeed hold people back.

          A consultant's skill of asking questions is much like a graceful
          dance when done right. If I could give 2 quick tips to those
          asking that sort of question, I would say:


          1. Have a genuine desire to learn about the business/owner
          you are talking to as it relates to his/her wants/expectations/current
          or past marketing. That way you'll forget about "you and your
          sales pitch"
          and the "right" questions will be automatically
          delivered to your mouth with relevance & authenticity shining through.



          Most importantly, you'll stop being introspective during the
          conversation, psycho-analyzing what the owner "must"
          be thinking about you. This many times causes insecurities
          at it's root level and the biz owner can absolutely smell
          disingenuous flattery/pitching. Make no mistake about it,
          they are trying to size you up, so let them find you're
          most interested in them and how to help. Engage them.


          2. You are in control, don't be afraid to turn down a project
          if something doesn't sit right with you.
          (business owner,
          expectations are unrealistic or not part of the scope of work
          you want to offer, etc)
          I look at consultations as sort of an
          "interview" for the business owners to see if I can accept
          them as a client. It's a radically different mindset, but I have
          turned down clients before. If you feel you can't help them,
          be honest and move on.


          Will


          PS - Jamie - you should think about coming up with a way to
          record your cold calls, getting their permission to use them in
          exchange for some services... I'm sure it would be a killer WSO
          for many to hear you at work. (Gogetta is fearless!)
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        • Profile picture of the author TimD
          Originally Posted by Palo Coyote View Post

          At a monthly 'networking' meeting I attended today I spoke one-on-one with 6 people. I now have one sale and 4 appointments to meet and tell them what I do and the 6th person invited me to a meeting of 50 other business owners on Thursday.

          NEVER - EVER (I mean this) use Internet Marketing JARGON: Hi, I'm John and I get you better 'SEO' with 'backlinks' and 'keywords' and then we get the 'SERP' to increase and your 'page rank' will be above 3. HUH? (words in single quotes are Chinese to non-Chinese speaking people)

          Here's what I ASKED, "When someone put's "Phoenix Mortuary" in Google Maps do you come up as the number one? NO? Wow, your company is the market leader, you guys are the best, that's odd. I worked with a dentist last month and when you put in, "best dentist Gilbert, AZ" he come's up FIRST. OH, you'd like to do that? Good, let's get together and talk about it, I'll take you to lunch next week. YES bring Brenda with you, she will help us convince the CEO. When we meet we will talk about, "getting you a list of people" (an autoresponder), and making you number one when someone looks for your type of business. You know this just gets you MORE CUSTOMERS." The Vice President of Marketing for this company said, "I don't know what 'backlinks' are and I don't care, you can help me, that's what I want."

          Saying, "Take Action" is a very ambigious thing to say. What action should I take? What do I say? Who do I say it to? When do I say it? What's the MAGIC 'Action' that I take?

          Here's what you can ASK (not tell, ask) you say (I'm giving you this for FREE): "Hi I'm John Jones, uh, when someone puts in YOUR COMPANY in Google Maps do you come up first?" "YES, wow, that's great! How do you do that?" (Shut up and listen then ask) "Do you have a list to send email to and tell about your business, so you will get more customers? By the way you have a great business." "NO, you don't have a LIST? That's what I do. Sure, I'll help you."

          OR, "NO, you don't come up FIRST? Does one of your competitiors?" "YES, Oh wow, do you want to be the FIRST?" "YES, great, that's what I do."

          Lesson over.

          Blessing be upon you,
          Palo
          Thanks Palo, this is gold.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jagged
    Originally Posted by transcontinental View Post

    I think I'm missing something here. I want people to stop asking me to do stuff I haven't ever offered. I have a client now that wants me to help with a yearbook for his fraternity. The only thing that I did for the client is update his website and cleaned up a graphic. No structural changes. I didn't build his web page. All of the leads that he generated come up with stranger and stranger proposals.

    It may be how you represented yourself in the beginning. did you come off as just a passing web designer, or did you bill yourself as a "consultant", a title so many use but do not understand??

    A consultants job is to listen to the business owner, collect his problems, analyze them....& find solutions for them.....thats what he's paying you to do..... It makes no difference if you know how to solve it yourself....if not...it's your job to find someone else who can offer a solution....

    My take, by what you say is....he views you as his "internet solution"...anything internet...he feels he can go to you...if his present problem is looking for a website / yearbook...and you billed yourself as a "consultant"...then you better find a solution.

    If your just someone who stopped by one day & offered to clean-up his website for a few bucks...making no other representations, then you have a right to complain...

    Stranger & stranger proposals, if solved correctly...can mean some large paydays!! Just need to be a little creative...

    Good luck,
    Ken
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  • Profile picture of the author L.James
    My problem is actually getting clients, direct mailings not working, emails rarely get answered and when they do its a no thank you ... and cold calling :-(... you kind of get the picture already .... From my experience its not easy and I don't see how some of you have the success that you are getting ...
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    • Profile picture of the author GoGetta
      Originally Posted by L.James View Post

      My problem is actually getting clients, direct mailings not working, emails rarely get answered and when they do its a no thank you ... and cold calling :-(... you kind of get the picture already .... From my experience its not easy and I don't see how some of you have the success that you are getting ...
      You know its all about consistent action and lots of it. I am a cold caller, always got my business from cold calling and the amount of NOs I get will be the same as you! The only difference is, I pick the phone back up and have the confidence to sell my services as I have signed up many clients.

      It is always hardest at the start, I have been there. Because when you have many NOs it feels like you are never going to get somebody thats interested, but you just gotta keep going! I don't sign up every person I speak to, far from it!

      Here is my stance on email and direct mail (Again My Opinion, I know it can be powerful if done right!)

      But, when you send an email to someone, they could read the email and then automatically have a few questions or a few reasons why your offer isn't for them. The issue with this is you cannot overturn these issues and answer the questions because they are highly unlikely to email back asking.

      With direct calling or dropping in, you have the opportunity to overturn and answer questions and issues because you are on the phone talking or stood in front of them!

      One other thing as well, the amount of email that are sent from indian companies now, especially in the UK is staggering. I have a few dummy sites for business owners with the form on the sites pointing to my email.

      I get enquiries daily from 1-3 indian companies trying to sell me top page of Google or marketing services. So, emails you send could just fall into this category and be deleted before having a second glance!


      Conclusion,

      There is no magic way to get clients, there is no special formula that will generate you clients like clockwork. But, there are strategies that work, there is hardwork, your knowledge and a will to help business owners, that if puit into action, not just once, but consistently, you will generate clients and lots of em!

      I know from experience, been doing this a while! ; )

      Hope that helps somewhat!

      GoGetta
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    • Profile picture of the author Jagged
      Originally Posted by L.James View Post

      My problem is actually getting clients, direct mailings not working, emails rarely get answered and when they do its a no thank you ... and cold calling :-(... you kind of get the picture already .... From my experience its not easy and I don't see how some of you have the success that you are getting ...
      We need to get L.James some clients!!

      Try targeting a certain market, like dentists, health spa's or chiropractors. Markets that have large advertising budgets & aren't affraid to spend money.....(for this I will use a dentist). Concentrate on that market....understand their targeted customers & see what you can do to drive that targeted traffic to the dentists or chiropractors.

      Start by looking through your weekly local print ads or magazines. There are always dentists in there....
      These are the kind of clients you want to target!! Ones who are presently advertising...looking for new customers & most likely paying way too much to find them.

      Do they have a website listed in their ad? If so....

      Is it a Website... And not just a "digital business card"...?
      Is it eye appealing & customer friendly?
      Is it up to date? (a sure sign it's not is the copyright date)
      Is it informational, with easy access to that information?
      Does it have a newsletter? Or a way to capture customer info to grow their marketable customer database?
      Does it offer ways for them to make money with the website?

      Look over the main page, locate a couple of their targeted keywords....do a google search using those keywords.....
      Do they show on page 1? Page 2 or 3 even? Beyond that...they really need help....
      Do they show on the Google local map?


      If they do not have a website, well, there's your in right there. They know they need one....
      • Show them the value of a website, opposed to that "untargeted, untrackable, over priced print ads he's tossing money away on very month....
      • Show him that a large percentage of people (I believe google had it at 82%) start their searches online for local business like his...and how he benefits from being out in front of them all...
      • Show them some of his competitors websites....
      Then....Arm yourself with information....
      • Keyword research, not only his, but for some competitors too...
      • A breif synopsis of Google local business center....how that benefits his business, his website...
      • Get some stat's from sites like www.serprank.com - www.builtwith.com - www.grader.com - www.backlinkwatch.com ....(business owners love stat's & charts)...show them how their website compares...& how it can inprove.
      • Show them where they lack with local SEO
      Now, either go visit them direct....Ask if the it's the dentist or someone else who would make decisons.....It's OK to leave your package at the desk if the dentist can not see you right away, just ask the receptionist for the best time to contact the dentist or to come back....

      Or personally write them, putting your information, your research, your stat's in a large yellow envolope....draft up a nice cover / intro letter & let your info speak for itself....make sure you have your contact info

      Follow up in a few days...Call, or personally visit...

      If it doesn't work for that dentist...move on to the next...just change that info & stat's to fit your next target.....

      Stay with it L. James!! Take Action!! Like GoGetta said...it's always toughest when starting out & I see your going through that now.... You need to stay focused & positive...if you start feeling down or negative...it will reflect in the way you come across...& you will not get to far like that...

      There are no easy ways. Every Method takes hard work, persistance...
      It works for all methods...
      If you cold call & make 100 calls with only 1 response......
      If you send 200 letters & get only one call back.....
      If you knock on 30 doors & get to talk to only on owner....
      .....be persistant & that response has a chance of changing into a $2,500+ deal....not bad for a long, hard, rejection filled days work

      Good luck,
      Ken
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  • Profile picture of the author GoGetta
    Will,

    Something I have been pondering myself, I actually have a recording of my first ever sale! The beauty of this is you can actually hear that I am not confident, it was my persistence, excitement and personality that snared me that deal.

    I may have a few things cooking up! ; )

    GoGetta
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  • Profile picture of the author Irishman
    Another good post Ken. thx
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  • Profile picture of the author jgand
    The greatest challenge is getting traffic, getting that awareness out there that you are available and have a product to sell. But I guess everything has its challenges, every aspect of running a business requires effort.
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    • Profile picture of the author Keith Boisvert
      Based off of the above choices I would tend to think that taking action, as with anything is peoples main problem...

      However I think that its issue lies more in their fear to talk to people one on one, whether it be on the phone or heaven forbid...face to face, or in the their lack of confidence in what it is they are offering.

      Solve those problems, and then all that's left is to take action.

      keith
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  • Profile picture of the author david-forer
    First and foremost Palo has hit the nail on the head and use his approach if you can. If you just can't see yourself being able to do that then try this...

    This post assumes that you have some seo and website development skills but maybe are lacking in sales or face to face skills. I would do the following:

    Set up your website for [city] SEO Expert.com (or something similar)
    Do your seo stuff to get it to rank #1 (local easy keyword + wordpress)
    Write down the steps that you did everyday to get this done.
    Use Jing and video the steps you did to help visually explain things.

    Then take that information and create a report "how to get a local website to #1".
    This is your social proof and also a huge confidence builder.

    Next create a video series of how to get your local site to #1.
    This is social proof you can do video and you can create cd to hand out.

    Set up your auto responder with the daily ways to get your site to rank and sprinkle in your videos that show it being done. That is a powerful auto responder set up that will sell your services to the local small business owner.

    So what you have done is show potentail clients that you can get a site to number 1, that you are an expert in creating videos, and that you can put together a compelling report. These are all the services they need and your "extras" that you hand out do the selling for you. Go to a network event and can't get up the nerve to sell... Well at least hand out these and you will get some local businesses calling you.

    This is obviously very rough and short but I think you get the picture. Do it for yourself, get confidence, and use it to sell.
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    • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
      You'll find in the majority of fields that the basic cause for success or failure is the same:

      People succeed by:

      # Taking specific action that can conceivably move them towards their goal. The more likely that action is to get them positive results the more likely they are to succeed.



      People fail by:

      # Failing to do the things that can conceivable move them towards their goal.



      When you're selling your internet marketing services to local businesses the bottom line is getting in contact with those business owners in some way.

      The obvious way is to start by talking to the business owners you know, the owners of businesses where you're spending money and the business owners your friends know.

      You could also be sending letters, emails, calling on the telephone, asking for referrals from friends and other people you know etc etc etc.


      If you're focusing on doing a lot of that your return on effort will be good.

      But yes the biggest problem most people have is they simply don't take action along those lines.

      Kindest regards,
      Andrew Cavanagh
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  • Profile picture of the author joshril
    Wow! This thread has come back from the dead and received tons of solid information over the past couple of days.

    I think the big thing as most have mentioned is to do something. The whole "take action" thing seems so cliche, but it's true. Here's the thing about taking action... each person's action might be a little different, but doing something is important.

    There are some people like Jamie that are fantastic at cold-calling and that is their thing... some people are just not going to succeed at cold-calling, but may be better suited for other methods of lead generation.

    My philosophy in business has always been to find someone else to do what I'm not good at or that doesn't justify my time. If you hate cold-calling, do something else or find someone that will do it for you on a commission basis.

    If you don't have the money to do direct mail, setup a co-op with 3-4 other businesses. Do a joint mailing and pay little to nothing for your portion of the mailing.

    Partner up with a local web designer that doesn't do marketing for her clients and work out a joint venture relationship...

    The possibilities are endless!

    Where there is a will there is a way... but as Andrew mentions above... you're only going to make sales if you can get in contact with business owners. It's impossible to succeed in this business without making contacts. Activity breeds results...
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