My prospecting process

33 replies
Ive been mindmapping & flow charting my prospecting process and I thought I would share it here to get some feedback, improve it, and help others who are stuck.

Here it goes:

1. Identify Niche To Target. I have a list of niches such as personal trainers, plumbers, dentists etc..
2. Goto yellowpages.com.au and type in niche into search box
3. Copy & paste business names and details into excel spreadsheet.
4. Check to see which businesses have websites and those that don't
5. Identify suitable keywords for niche, focusing on keywords that get the most traffic and should convert into paying customers.
6. Type keyword/s into google and cross reference which sites identified in step 3 show up, and dont show up on pages 1 to 3.

So now with a list of businesses detailing whether they have a website or not, and if it actually ranks.

7. Contact the businesses that have a website but not found on pages 1 to 3by email (maybe snail mail) directing them to a squeeze page. When they optin they'll get access to a video like "5 ways to get more customers and make more money", or "5 mistakes that can kill your sales and profits"
8. At the end of the video they will be offered either a complimentary consultation or a video review of their website (which would you think is better?)
9. If needed, do a followup campaign until I secure a client in that niche
10. Rinse & Repeat.

Here are a few thoughts and questions you might be able to help me with

- I was going to target customers who didn't have a website and go down that approach by building a simple website, ranking it and doing other things like ppc, video marketing etc.. to help them make more $$, but then I thought it might be to much of a pain showing them the value of the web compared to those who already have a site
- I only want to work with one business in each niche.
- I am not sure if doing a squeeze page is a good thing, or an unnecessary step that could skipped and do the same offer mentioned above in the email. Any feedback here would be appreciated.

I look forward to hearing from all you fine people
#process #prospecting
  • Profile picture of the author grimace_86
    I know jumping on the phones is probably one of the best things I could ever do , but screw that, not my cup of tea.

    I couldn't think of anything worse (actually Im sure I could) then calling 100's of people every week.

    I probably should learn.
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    • Profile picture of the author dannyadams
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      • Profile picture of the author grimace_86
        Originally Posted by dannyadams View Post

        So don't do it. Did Henry Ford build cars? No! He found people that could!
        I was thinking as I wrote my comment "should just get someone else to do it".

        Might look into it a little more.

        I still like the idea of having them call me though. :-)
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        • Profile picture of the author geraldinesmith88
          Sales prospecting is really important especially for small and sales-oriented businesses. The sales prospecting techniques you provided are really great. However, I believe that you will still need to spend a little money if you want serious prospecting. You won't need $1000 for this. Just around $100 dollars is enough. I know of some people who have succeeded in sales prospecting spending only a few bucks.
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          • Profile picture of the author Tony Wagner
            Originally Posted by geraldinesmith88 View Post

            Sales prospecting is really important especially for small and sales-oriented businesses. The sales prospecting techniques you provided are really great. However, I believe that you will still need to spend a little money if you want serious prospecting. You won't need $1000 for this. Just around $100 dollars is enough. I know of some people who have succeeded in sales prospecting spending only a few bucks.
            $100 on what?
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  • Profile picture of the author peter.max
    My only observation is that you should target businesses that HAVE websites but that don't rank well, don't have an ad campaign and don't have a call to action. Use something like the free version of keywordspy.com to see who are paying for adverting in a specific niche. It only brings back 10 results, but it should be more than adequate for your needs. Look at their websites and then target them with a snail mail report that get them thinking. Get them to phone you because they want to know how you can help them.
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  • Profile picture of the author grimace_86
    Hey Peter thanks for the great advice.

    Thats they type of approach I like, have them phoning me. Like music to my ears. lol.
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  • Profile picture of the author peter.max
    No worries. Keywordspy also has a .com.au site. I use it a lot. Look for companies that are spending money on adwords and don't have landing pages with a call to action. They are easy targets. They pay for ads so they are spending money on online marketing. They just need help to get better. That's where your initial snail mail report give them a hint of what they should be doing. You know the rest of the sales process . . .
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  • Profile picture of the author Amir Luis
    Obvious spam post....

    Ok....

    I know you don't like picking up the phone... But after you have done steps 1-6 why not walk into the business and say "Hi."

    Here is what I found out about your current markteting strategy. Here is the problem, I have a solution.... Do you want it?

    Easy enough....

    Or.. instead of wasting gas... you could just call them and say "hi"

    Or.... you can pay someone like John Durham $100 for every appointment he sets for you. That way you can walk in having it presold and close the deal....
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      It's very curious why someone would go through steps 1-6, then not even pick up the phone and start calling. Sending email or even snail mail has a very slim chance of even making it to any offline decision maker. Making phone calls is the most efficient and effective method to prospect, IMO. By cold calling the leads generated, you have a lot less competition because every other "marketer" is sitting around waiting for prospects to call them. Keep in mind that offline prospects feel more comfortable and relate better to traditional offline marketing methods. Your job is to convince them and have them buy into the online world.
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      • Profile picture of the author Anthony Gardner
        When making the phone calls who should you ask to speak to and what is your chance of reaching someone who makes decisions?
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        • Profile picture of the author Mike Grant
          Originally Posted by Anthony Gardner View Post

          When making the phone calls who should you ask to speak to and what is your chance of reaching someone who makes decisions?
          Look up the business on something like Manta to find the owner name, then ask for the owner. Owner not around? Ask to speak to whomever handles the marketing.

          If you're unable to find the owner's name or Manta has the incorrect one, intentionally ask for the wrong person. "Hi, is Bob around?" "Oh, I thought Bob was the owner. Who is the owner then?" should suffice in getting the name.
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        • Profile picture of the author myob
          Originally Posted by Anthony Gardner View Post

          When making the phone calls who should you ask to speak to and what is your chance of reaching someone who makes decisions?
          Our target clients have one or more purchasing agents, and our presentations will involve pitching to several key decision makers. Sometimes it does take several phone calls to get past gate keepers and track down the key players. In large corporations, there is no one "owner".
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          • Profile picture of the author mrcouchpotato
            I'm more of an old school person and think the best way to grow a business is by making relationships with clients. Once they're your friend, they'll do whatever they can to buy from you.

            Quick story to prove my point.

            Over 20 years ago I purchased some professional video equipment from a local vendor. I met with a sales person who was friendly and bent over backwards to get me what I needed and helped me with my decision. He was great at his job. So for the last 20 years, we've been great friends. In fact, my wife and I were the first people he told after he got engaged to be married. Our kids grew up together. I golf with him many times over the summer. And we even have family fun nights together. Oh. And of course, anytime I need video equipment, he's the only person I go to. This is all because of the relationship he built with me. So basically I'm now buying from a friend and not a salesperson.

            So, that being said.....

            Making cold calls is actually much easier than you think.

            Right now I have 3 different careers that I'm juggling and I do cold calling with 2 of those three. One of them is video production. One is I'm a real estate agent. And the third is I'm a manufacturers rep for commercial roofing materials. Yes, I'm kinda busy...lol.

            Now....

            The first time you call on a prospect, the goal is to get an appointment....not make a sale. Once you have that in your head, cold calling gets much easier.

            For instance, as a manufacturer's sales rep for commercial roofing companies, I have to call on local contactors to show them our products and convince them to purchase them at various roofing distributor branches or lumber yards.

            So I find the roofing contractor owner's name (usually on the internet if they have a site). I'll call and ask for that person and say something like...

            "Hi George. I'm Mike Martin from xxx roofing and I'll be in your area this week. Would it be ok if I stop by to drop off some information and introduce myself?"

            This is very unintimidating to the owner. Simply say you're stopping by to drop off info and introduce yourself. I'd say 90% of the time they say "Sure" then I ask when would be a good time for them.

            BAM, I got the appointment which is what my goal was.

            You'll always get the 10% that are uncooperative, having a bad day, or simply don't want to be bothered. If that happens, simply thank them for their time and move on to the next one.

            Again. The key is to get an appointment. Don't sell them anything over the phone.

            Now, for those of you selling online marketing services...what if they ask what you do or what your company does? Then simply say...

            "I'm able to provide inexpensive marketing strategies for local businesses and increase their online presence. It's actually easier to explain in person than on the phone which is why I prefer making appointments and visiting local businesses rather than discuss it on the phone. If you'd like, we can even meet for a quick lunch at xxx restaurant. I'm buying".


            Again, the goal is to get the appointment. Once you're there you can introduce yourself, pull out your "information" and start your sales pitch. But remember. Don't push too hard. Don't turn into a used car salesman. Give them room to breath and think about it. Leave them your info and follow up a couple of days later to see if they have any questions about anything. Offer them some kind of free analysis if they already have a site. Keep on them. In the beginning, they don't know you from Adam. So if you give them help (even some free help), they'll eventually loosen up and trust you more.

            Now like I said in the beginning. I'm more old school and think building relationships is more important than seeing how many "sales" you can get during the day. Sales give immediate satisfaction. Relationships build businesses.

            Now I'll soon be putting my money where my mouth is because I'm going to start offering local businesses an online package which includes a website, 30 second online video commercials, and SEO for both.

            And who knows. I may create a few "friends" in the process.

            Mike
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Grant
      Originally Posted by Amir Luis View Post

      I know you don't like picking up the phone... But after you have done steps 1-6 why not walk into the business and say "Hi."
      I strongly advise against this. This is a surefire way to piss off a lot of business owners.
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      • Profile picture of the author Amir Luis
        Originally Posted by mgtarheels View Post

        I strongly advise against this. This is a surefire way to piss off a lot of business owners.
        Agree to dis agree.... Picking up the phone and calling them is the same principle. Either way.... it is a proactive way to get your message heard.

        I would actually call first too.... the only reason I wrote such a short answer was to spit out the idea. Not really taking the time to exrpress the complete thought.

        I was wholly and absolutely sick earlier this week.

        Being Sick... + Posting on WF = oops... that's not what I meant.:rolleyes:

        Anywho... the OP has effectively taken the time to identify and qualify his target demographic and prepare for an appointment. So why not make step 7 the point where you call them and establish a rapport, build trust, and set an appointment for showing the information?

        It just makes senses.... the rest of the steps would be great as a "back up" so that when they don't answer or return your call. They get a piece of literature, then they go to a site... and get another peice of literature.

        Then they call.

        By just breaking down and calling them to establish rapport and get the appointment you are adding one more layer to the marketing blitz you are sending them.

        When you left a message... they heard your name.
        When you sent an email... they heard your name
        when you sent a snail mail... they heard your name.
        When they went to your site... they heard your name
        When they call you... They here your name and already sub conscientiously know you are the marketing professional that can help them...

        Why....

        Because you brow beat it into their heads with all your marketing streams.
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  • Profile picture of the author fasteasysuccess
    Here's The Fast and Easy Way...

    Get your targeted list-mail them a direct response letter (correctly) offline making them interested in picking up the phone and calling you. Send 2 follow ups letters to the people not responding.

    Why do this instead of cold calling? Positioning. When cold calling you are bugging them and they have control and when they call you...they are interested, raising their hand, and want more info or take the next step.

    The people you don't hear from after 3 letters...then pick up the phone and call them asking if they have got your letter sent to them. Now it's not a cold call in the dark. You have a reason to call them and you are just "touching base" to see if they received your message and not pitching.

    Then talk to them about their business and how you would like to help them reach their goals.

    This is a money maker if done right and so easy.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Actually sending letters is a waste of time IMO, especially when targeting large corporations with many departments. A few well-directed cold calls is much more efficient to ferret out the true decision makers (and it is often not the owner even in small companies either). In the time others piddle around with mailing letters and resending letters (which more than likely get trashed), my telemarketing team is making sales.

      In some instances if a letter/literature is required to solidify the deal, you have the decision maker's name to send it to. And don't just put it in the mail. Fed Ex is your friend
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  • Profile picture of the author Amir Luis
    This has been my experience too....

    Everyone wants to talk about positioning when discussing cold calling....

    Really. I don't see the difference in direct mail to a direct phone call when it comes to positioning. They are one in the same... it just so happens calling them is cost effective and produces faster and more prodigious results.

    The key to positioning is....

    To care... Just not that much....

    Sending out letters and wasting money on postage, I might get a few appointments a week. But because I would get a WHOLE lot less than if I just called to get the appointment...

    Positioning really comes into play during the closing process. Not prospecting.

    Positioning in my experience.... is the ability to walk away.

    Do you have that when picking up the phone? Yes.... click....

    Next....


    Do you have that when making the appointment? Yes....

    Sorry Bob... I just don't feel like us working together would be a win win. We are a selective outfit, and I just don't feel like it would be mutually beneficial.

    That my friends... is positioning... combined with the take away.....
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  • Profile picture of the author fasteasysuccess
    I gotta disagree with you on this one. Positioning starts from the first point and through the end. Plus if they are calling you, then there is a huge difference.

    Direct mail is not a waste of time if done right and a total waste of time if done wrong. Like you said myob...larger corporations have many departments, but if you know how to do it right...you'll letter will get to the right person, opened, and read.

    Anybody can throw something in an envelope and mail it, but the trick is knowing how to get your direct response message to the right person, opened, read, and responded to. If your stuff isn't getting responses and getting trashed, then you're not doing it right yet. You need to make it A pile mail, not junk mail and have good direct response copy included so they respond.



    Sure you can pick up the phone and cold call, but it's a lot easier sitting back and taking the calls from 100% interested parties. In business, time is money. Spend your time working with interested parties and you are ahead of the game.

    Like I said, you can follow up with the people who didn't respond by phone, but now you have a lead in versus someone on the phone they don't know.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Direct mail certainly has its place, but I still don't see the logic in blind mailing over cold calling. In telemarketing you can find out who the buyer is within minutes and determine immediately if you have a prospect or not. And phone calls cost next to nothing compared to the expense and time wasted by mailing.

      Besides, those "interested parties" who call in, especially from a letter they got [LOL!] are never "100%" interested. It sounds easy just to mail out some letters and sit around waiting for the phone calls to come in, but am I really missing something here?
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      • Profile picture of the author tubeincreaser
        Originally Posted by myob View Post

        Direct mail certainly has its place, but I still don't see the logic in blind mailing over cold calling. In telemarketing you can find out who the buyer is within minutes and determine immediately if you have a prospect or not. And phone calls cost next to nothing compared to the expense and time wasted by mailing.

        Besides, those "interested parties" who call in, especially from a letter [LOL!] are never "100%" interested. It sounds easy just to mail out some letters and sit around waiting for the phone calls to come in, but am I really missing something here?
        I have closed $30 grand deals starting from direct mail, why? Because they are advertising somewhere else and I show them what I can do for them as well as include a copy of my book.

        You are missing something, you don't just mail out a letter you have to do something to make them open it like FedEx it or once they open it make it so they want to read it and it looks important or crazy as Bill Glazer would say such as hand writing a letter on yellow legal paper.
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        • Profile picture of the author myob
          @ tubeincreaser

          Thank you for making my point. How many of your books did you have to mail out before finding those $30k clients? I would guess most of them were trashed. I get $30k+ corporate customers all the time with my communications products and services just by making phone calls. So I fail to see exactly what I'm missing by cold calling. Very curious.
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          • Profile picture of the author tubeincreaser
            Originally Posted by myob View Post

            Thank you for making my point. How many of your books did you have to mail out before finding those 30k clients? I would guess most of them were trashed. I get $30k+ corporate customers all the time with my communications products and services just by making phone calls. So I fail to see exactly what I'm missing.
            I have sent out 4, hooked up all 4 to contracts. Going to send out more in 2011.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    @ Amir

    Indeed.

    Back when I was a songwriter they would say "seperate the writer from the editor"

    In this I would say "Seperate the prospecting from the closing".

    Two different processes.
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  • Profile picture of the author Amir Luis
    I am still thinking potato tomato on this one....

    There are still the same elements in both mediums of marketing/prospecting.

    The undisputed fact is.... cold calling works, is more cost effective, and gets results faster.

    One can still maintain... "positioning" as previously stated in my earlier post.

    I am not by any means stating that direct mail doesn't work. I am just stating from my own experience, cold calling is more effective and cost efficient.

    I have more than one marketing stream in play right now... cold calling is only one.

    I agree with what has been said about your marketing copy. However it is delivered. Whether by phone or by mail. It has to be solid and effective.

    I have not closed a $30k deal over the phone yet... but I know it is possible. Stock brokers do it every day. So why can't I?

    I know what works for me.... and works for me very well....


    Well enough that I staff people to do it because I have paid my dues in that arena. I also have B2B cold callers face to face.... And starting next week I am going to outsource appointment setting to someone on this forum who has a proven telemarketing background and has effective systems that work... (John Durham)

    I know because I work them. Paying $100 for a presold, preset appointment is soooooo worth it to me. Even with a low ticket average of $1500 I will more than make my money back and be able to support my other marketing endeavors.

    I have never wasted money on advertising/marketing. There has always been at least a 100% return on investment. I just don't like doing direct mail because the industry standard is 5 mailings to one person before they actually start to open your stuff.

    I don't care if you fed ex and put a lollipop in it... They seem to need to see that same trick 5 times before they will actually read the message being sent.

    Now of course that is with less than perfect copy. I specialize in direct response marketing and have previous experience with other companies that I have owned and marketed. So really my response rate is a little better than the industry average of 1%.

    I guess it really depends on your product... I target the low hanging fruit. I don't go for the $30k clients because there is too much maintenance and it's a lot harder of a sale. Yes... it is worth it in the end. But I can close a lot more deals keeping the money coming in while others are trying to close the big fish.

    If I were chasing the big fish... I would use the fed ex direct mail, combined with a phone call, an email, a free gift of some sort, and a thank you card.

    But since I am not... I don't. I just call them and establish interest within 15 seconds of being on the phone. If we are a good fit... great....

    If not... Click.

    Next call.....
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  • Profile picture of the author tubeincreaser
    Why does cost effectiveness matter when we are closing a $30k plus deal? It is a matter of 10-15 dollars...whatever works for you do that.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    I have closed 30k deals via email... even several 20k ones... on Alibaba flipping export loads. Never a webdesign deal though.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Originally Posted by tubeincreaser View Post

      I have sent out 4, hooked up all 4 to contracts. Going to send out more in 2011.
      Originally Posted by tubeincreaser View Post

      Why does cost effectiveness matter when we are closing a $30k plus deal? It is a matter of 10-15 dollars...whatever works for you do that.
      I see, tubeincreaser. So you are not prospecting by sending out your books. If you've only sent out 4 books this whole year, how then are you prospecting? Direct mail certainly has its place, as I have said, and really am just trying to clarify.
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      • Profile picture of the author tubeincreaser
        Originally Posted by myob View Post

        I see, tubeincreaser. So you are not prospecting by sending out your books. If you've only sent out 4 books this whole year, how then are you prospecting? Direct mail certainly has its place, as I have said, and really am just trying to clarify.
        I find the people in Yellow Pages and send them my letter and book in the mail. We meet in person I go over everything and they sign the check.
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        • Profile picture of the author myob
          @ Amir Luis

          Leave the poor guy alone LOL!

          But I do wonder how many letters tubeincreaser had to send out from the yellow pages to find 4 clients even if they are $30k deals. Personally, I would have called them, since the phone numbers are right there. :rolleyes:

          However, by most accounts, that still is a pretty decent chunk of change. And it is an excellent idea to find advertising leads from the yellow pages just by looking for the advertisers with big display ads.

          I have a cell phone voice-to-texting service which can also be used for sending/receiving email, updating Twitter and Facebook, etc using only voice commands. It actually works on any phone, including business and home phones.

          Most of the time my telemarketers can sell it right over the phone to major corporations, hospitals, trucking companies etc. It takes some probing to track down who the decision makers and buyers are, which is most effectively done right on the phone. Indeed, there are times when buyers do request to see some literature, and we will mail to them. But we nearly always get even the big $30k-$50k accounts just by calling!

          My call center also sells Amazon products and business opportunity leads the same way. Most of it is sold by telemarketing, with targeted mailing if needed. You need to find who the decision maker or buyer is so you'll know who to mail to.

          Oh, BTW - we do send out lots and lots of "direct response mail" and Fed Ex promotion packages especially for our Amazon products. But that goes to our existing customers, targeted around what they would be most likely to buy. So I agree that direct response mail works - if it's done properly. It's just that in my experience, it is actually far more effective and less expensive to make the first contact with a phone call.
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    • Profile picture of the author Amir Luis
      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      I have closed 30k deals via email... even several 20k ones... on Alibaba flipping export loads. Never a webdesign deal though.
      Awwwww... You know what.... Now I have to take that back. I guess I only meant in the Offline Marketing field....

      In a former life. I had a company called the Re-Cell Technologies Corporation that sold used cellular technology that I would get hella cheap here.... then sell to South American, Veitnamese, and some European markets.

      My very first deal in that business was $137,000 over the phone and email.

      I only made $30k off of it... but that was because I was a broker, the Nextel i700's that I sold weren't even mine. They were in a warehouse in Missouri. At the time I lived in Oklahoma.

      So I do apologize for the mis information. I have closed deals that size over the phone.... just not in IM... yet....

      Y.E.T. Your Eligible Too.....

      Thanks John for jogging my memory....
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  • Profile picture of the author Amir Luis
    And you are stating a 100% close ratio?

    Every stamp you lick gets you a check?
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  • Profile picture of the author fasteasysuccess
    like tubeincreaser said and i said above. The same old boring mail isn't the way to go and won't get you desired responses-be outrageous and unique. You can't just write something and throw a stamp on it and expect good responses without applying the right mix.

    I have something I mail now that gets 100% open rate as well (not close ratio) but open rate. How do i know? Because like I said, if don't hear back from them, i do give them a call after my mailings and every time I do it this way...everyone received and read it.

    Costs for me...around $3-$4 if go's to all three mailings which usually doesn't need to. You can't just mail a plain old letter and expect results. You need to stand out, be unique, and use the direct response marketing techniques needed for results.

    Like i said before, if done right, then you only deal with interested parties which saves time and makes money.

    Nothing wrong with adding different marketing channels to your business for full success. Not just count on one, but like i said...i prefer dealing with interested parties.
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