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Trying To Bring "Door to Door" Sales To The Internet

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by OneSeventeen, Jun 27, 2014.

  1. OneSeventeen

    OneSeventeen Newbie

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    Hey all,

    I work a full time job as an on site sales rep. The line of products I sell requires me to relentlessly inquire with business owners, set up meetings with them, and try to sell them a product that there isn't much of a market for as of yet (the company I'm working for is trying to build a market with their product with an end goal to own that market category).

    We're a small build and while our CEO and President are good people, we (sales reps) have to take our marching orders from managers who are a bit more on the arrogant/dishonest side (I'm putting that lightly).

    As sales reps, we're paid pretty low for what we do (under 30k annual). Our management plays that card where they dangle hopes of a promotion over your head if you land X amount of clients in a given time frame - which is a near impossible number to hit and even if you hit it, they just find some excuse to not honor it and move the goal post further back. The only reason I haven't quit yet is because I truly believe that what we sell is a great product and will soon become pretty big. I believe in our product, not our management.

    With the above said, I've been trying to think of ways to go outside the box a bit regarding my approach to sales. One thing our manager(s) are neglecting to even try to capitalize on is internet sales. I want to take it upon myself to at least try to see if taking out product to the internet using many of the skills I've seen utilized here - can yield sales of our product.

    In short, what we sell is a range smaller products (can easily be shipped safely and cost efficiently to resellers) to places like smoke shops and liquor stores. My goal is to be able to reach every smoke shop and liquor store in the United States through the Internet and be able to deliver an effective sales pitch in doing so. While I have a general idea of how I'd like to do this (basically mass email to prospective clients, possibly the use of social media, amongst other things, I can't figure out how to start this process and am hoping some of you can give me some guidance as far as what to look into or suggestions based on similar situations any of you might have seen or been in.

    If I had to start somewhere, it'd be looking up possible clients (smoke shops/liquor stores/etc on Google, Yelp, and other search engines like that and sort them by state. I would comb through the results and if the store has a website with a contact form or email address, I'd send them an email with information on our product with an option to buy directly online. While this method may seem elementary to most of you, it's lightyears ahead of how we're doing it now by driving around all day. Assuming I took this type of approach, I assume I would need the following:

    1. A way to be able to email hundreds (possibly thousands) of email addresses without having my email address flagged as spam. Is there a program that offers a service that can do this? If not, I would assume to just create multiple email addresses and send the pitch emails from multiple accounts... which would bring up my next question: How many emails would I be able to send from a particular email address without those emails just getting sent directly to spam folders? Would I need to create these emails using a Proxy IP? Are some email providers better to use with these types of tactics than others?

    2. I've looked into possibly contacting these prospective clients via the social side (i.e. FB), but from what I've read, you can only get off a small amount similar looking messages off per account before they flag your account and/or disable it.

    I'm sure it's pretty obvious from my writing that my head is all over the place with this idea. Like I said, I really believe in the product we sell and think our management is overlooking a possible game changer for us by having little to no plan regarding internet sales. I know that if I can get through to these potential clients that I have a great chance of building a massive client list of which will be making re-orders on a monthly basis.

    Any help would be truly appreciated.
     
  2. lucasbraydon

    lucasbraydon Supreme Member

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    tl;dr Just saying :D
     
  3. OneSeventeen

    OneSeventeen Newbie

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    Sorry, wanted give as much background as I could so I can possibly get advice directly related to what I'm trying to do... but yeah my bad, everyone likes a guy who gets to the point :).
     
  4. tony_d

    tony_d Elite Member

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    Well you asked for opinions, and mine is this;
    for B2B sales, unless there's inbound demand (ie, search volume), online is not a good prospecting and closing platform. My view is that it's hard enough to get the prospects attention as it is (assuming you're selling a commodity, as it sounds you are), and the last thing you want to do is to make it even easier for them to ignore you by clicking delete.

    I would instead be seeking out better ways of what you're doing now - appointment setting, pitching, and closing.
     
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  5. Trepanated

    Trepanated Supreme Member

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    Does the company you work for manufacture the products themselves or do they buy them from a supplier?

    The reason I ask, is if you don't like the company but believe in the product, is this something you could do for yourself?

    If you are planning on putting in a huge sales and marketing effort, if at the beginning of that process you spent a little time arranging a deal of your own with the supplier you would see a far greater reward.

    You said the products are small, can be shipped easily and cheaply and the target market is resellers (rather than end users) - that all lends itself well to you setting up in competition relatively easily.
     
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  6. Duffers5000

    Duffers5000 Elite Member

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    I would be interested in finding out more about the product to give you real advice.

    Company doesnt sound like fun so If I was going to the effort of driving a new sales funnel to them it would be for my benefit. Either as a new start up or as a franchisee.

    Yes there are ways to easily send out thousands of emails a day but that sort of spamming is not what you want to do if you have an actual product to sell. Target the teritory and target the leads. I would use software to scrape business diectories/yellow pages etc but I would still verify every lead individually and address it to the right person etc. You are better off sending out 50 serious introductory emails a day than 5000 generic mailers.
     
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  7. KeijoKala

    KeijoKala Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Dont wait to get lots of sales only from mailing, its hard niche when you mail to business owners. But its better to mail first and call few days later and close those sales on the phone.

    Usually business owners see the mails, but its hard to close those sales via email.
     
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  8. manolo12399

    manolo12399 Senior Member

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    email and call after, or call and email after and call back again to close,

    build a relationship, even if they dont accept, keep the door open, if you had a call, they let you send an email as a presentation of your product, in the 2nd call, you build a relationship, if your product is truly good, when they will feel they will need they may call you back, or share with somebody that may need.
    Is time consuming? yes, but you will be remembered, an email in the inbox or worst in the spam box hasnt any value, will be lost in 100 of shit that they receive, hard to make it stand out.

    Professional make phone calls, email and discuss, the lead became warm.

    You can build a fanpage or such with your product, the ones have a profile, will notice they ahve been added, then call, email and close on the call, may be you can have a form/website etc. where you dont need to visit them to close the deal.

    Just top of my mind.
     
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  9. OneSeventeen

    OneSeventeen Newbie

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    I appreciate the input. While bringing sales online would definitely make it easier for people to ignore - it could also potentially allow for a better initial "pitch" if the use of images and right wording that appeals to their interest. I don't know the likelihood either way but I figure it's worth spending a week or two on to see if anything comes of it. Thanks again for the input!
     
  10. RosuC

    RosuC Regular Member

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    Trying to give my 2 cents advice:
    1. There are companies that are capable to send for you the emails (mass promotion) without getting the penalty (SPAM) regarding your emails. You should search a bit for them and try to see their approaches and offers.
    2. About the suggestion of one of the guys - mail/call and warm the relation is working but not if you want to get all the country touched in a short time - you will need for this a help of a call service. I was using such a service with good results - call centers that are using 3rd country for calling the customers and promoting your products - the problem is appearing if they get to one that is starting to put a lot of questions and there they have to be teach to "redirect" that client/customer directly to you.
    3. Here in this forum you will hardly find a LEGIT solution to your problems, most of the "players" from here are doing BH (at least they think that they're doing this) so you need to be careful.
    Regards,
     
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  11. OneSeventeen

    OneSeventeen Newbie

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    The company gets the product from a wholesale supplier (I imagine overseas). You brought up a great question that I didn't even think of before. I just did some quick research and yes, its absolutely something that can be replicated rather easily. I'm a bit inclined to stay with the company's product because it's a well funded company in a very early phase. A lot of things regarding everything from management to distribution seem to be up in the air. Given the scenario, if I were to come up with a method of making a substantially higher amount of sales than our other (small) sales team, I have good reason to believe that all the BS that our management is pulling wouldn't even apply to me. Our CEO is a good guy and has a very successful track record. His time is consumed traveling for meetings with investors to keep everything up and honestly don't think he has any idea how sh!tty the sales managers are acting. Making more money for the company by doing something that's totally opposite to what we're currently doing would definitely be grounds for a lot more freedom in regards to even having to listen to management.

    Also, I'm definitely not ruling out the idea of creating a similar product and running everything on my own. If I have any sort of legitimate success by bringing sales online, I think I absolutely would go that route, or at the least, let them know that I'm aware of how easily I could replicate their product as leverage in a negotiation for higher margins. This was a VERY eye opening post and can't thank you enough for taking the time to offer your suggestions. Anything else you can think of would of course be much appreciated!
     
  12. uchuckle

    uchuckle Registered Member

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    I've been in Sales a long time and if you are walking through doors for under 30K then I would be applying like mad to a better company honestly. Why bust your tail to make the people that it sounds like you don't like a lot of money? Just because they have a product? You'd probably be better off applying that effort in affiliate marketing B2B. What is the end goal here? Do you think your efforts are really going to pay off financially? I think that if you did do this, and it worked, then your going to get squashed on by higher up and not enjoy the benefits of your work. Create the product or one similar for yourself and put the work in for you.
     
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  13. OneSeventeen

    OneSeventeen Newbie

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    I would love to disclose it but am sure that it'd get back to the managers that I'm trying to move around rather quickly (I'm sure someone over there has a Google alert notifying them every time the company name hits).

    The idea of a franchisee is where I'm headed if I saw some initial success with this, I wouldn't even need to hold any inventory as we have a warehouse in the back of our office. I highly doubt our CEO would dispute it.. if anything I can see him welcoming the idea.

    Do you have any suggestions regarding any particular software to scrape directories? I'd definitely verify every lead and personalize/adjust every email according to the establishment.

    Would I run into issues regarding getting thrown into everyone's spam folders at something like 50-100 similar emails daily? Even at 200 emails a day, would it be best to use multiple email addresses? Also, would you see any need to use a proxy IP when creating and/or using these email addresses?

    Thanks so much for your help, I'm definitely giving this a shot and this is really helping me narrow down to a general plan of how to go about this!
     
  14. jackl

    jackl Regular Member

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    Unless you're selling something that is unique in some sense or design. I don't think many businesses would be interested in purchasing it.
    That being said without knowing the product the advice we can give is limited.

    I personally don't think it's a good idea, to do something without your employers approval as you may be fired.
    I don't get how any firm can exist nowadays, without a presence on the internet. So I really find this strange.
    Even gun and drugs dealers are active on the internet, not the regular one but still....
     
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  15. tony_d

    tony_d Elite Member

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    Did you investigate whether there is any search activity for buying keywords that relate directly or indirectly to your product? Even if there were a very low number (eg 10 per month) it would still be worthwhile targeting, because in the space of 6 months you could have another 20-40 retailers reordering your product on autopilot.
     
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  16. sudorank

    sudorank Power Member

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    Welcome to the world of middle management!

    I wouldn't tell your work about this. It sounds like me (I'm a cynical old man) that they would take your idea, copy it and you'll be in the next round of redundancies.

    Sounds harsh, that's how business works though.

    I work for a small tech start-up in the same kinda position, except the product is a SASS not a physical entity.

    Anyway, they find Twitter quite useful as a method for finding people to sell too, worth a look IMHO.

    Twitter is where you want to take this :)

    I'm not sure how old you are but reading between the lines I'm thinking <30

    The reason i'm saying this is that most companies (Middle Managers) hate employees who think for themselves. The reason is that most middle managers are in a fairly scary position at work.

    - They take all the shit rolling downhill from the upper management.
    - They have all the little up-starts (YOU) below them with great ideas who could by-pass them on the career ladder.

    This is why they are arrogant/dishonest as you said, they are scared to lose their position.

    What i'm trying to say to you is be careful - take it from a guy who's been around the block, ideas are powerful, they can also get you fired, sued and given a crappy reference.
     
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  17. OneSeventeen

    OneSeventeen Newbie

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    This was all very helpful advice. Thank you so much. Will definitely be putting this to use.

     
  18. OneSeventeen

    OneSeventeen Newbie

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    First off thank you - this is a phenomenal idea I'm planning to incorporate into my game plan.

    If you don't mind, how would I go about investigating whether there's any search activity for buying keywords that relate directly/indirectly to the product? Thanks again, this is something I'd really like to run with.
     
  19. OneSeventeen

    OneSeventeen Newbie

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    Wow. You hit the nail straight in the center of the head on everything! Your comments regarding middle management's position really re-enforced some opinions I had of them by addressing why they do what they do. I mean.. it's scary how well you know my managers just by their type!

    One thing that I spared from my initial post (to try and keep it at a length where ppl would read it) was that the CEO is a long-time friend of mine. He's got 20 or so years on me (as well as some legitimate success as well) and I've worked for him at all of his previous startups. This is a guy who would be happy to see some initiative taken (assuming it drew some success) and would absolutely allow me to pursue a new position of something like "online sales" if I were successful with this. I've been around long enough to where he trusts my intentions and judgement. This move to try and play outside the box is just as much to remove middle management from my work life as it is to actually generate (hopefully) more income for myself as well as his company. It's a unique situation but in short, I do like the company and would like to play a role in it's success - I hate our middle management and don't want to make another dollar for them. If I can "create" a new job title for myself by bypassing middle management then it's mission accomplished :).

    This post put so much in perspective and really answered a lot of underlying questions I've been asking myself for weeks. Can't thank you enough for taking time out of your day to write this. It answered my questions as well as ones that I had but didn't even write. Again, thank you so much.
     
  20. tony_d

    tony_d Elite Member

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    Just sign up for a free Google Adwords account, and use the keyword tool to check search volumes