Monthly Archives: December 2011

Big Al’s Place – You Can’t Judge a Book Just By Its Cover

I happened to pass by “Big Al’s Place” while driving thru Sledge, Mississippi recently.  First, you need to know this is in the middle of nowhere (as in go to Memphis, turn left and two hours later kind of nowhere).  Here in the middle of farm country, amongst the cotton fields, sat this place with all kinds of trucks and farming combines out front.  It just had to be a local repair shop.  One day the massive doors were up and several trucks were visible inside (have to talk to Al about his advertising though because when that big front door is up, this big sign is obviously not visible either).  Using my keen powers of observation, I had this business all figured out.

Big Al's Place

Being an inquiring journalist, I thought I would send “Al” a note to find out what kind of Yellow Pages program he had.  Surprise.  Big Al’s in not a repair shop, it’s the duck hunting lodge home of The Coldwater Duck Club.  But not just any club, it’s a huge 10,000 acre hunting facility as I found out when “Al” sent me a response back.  Needless to say I was blown away. What happened?  Simply put,  I had prejudged what this business was just based on apperances only.

Some things are universal, like the tendency of sales people to prejudge leads, instead of working each one, systematically. They are looking for the low hanging fruit.  We’re being human.  We all know sales isn’t easy, and given these evolving industry times, and a tight economy, it’s not surprising that sometimes we sales people develop some bad habits, especially the “reaching-only-for-low-hanging fruit” syndrome.

Not matter what size business you are selling for, no matter what products or services you are selling, whether leads are walk-ins, phone calls, emails, or the next connection you make at a Christmas party, it’s important to systematically take each potential lead through a process, and never give up.  I’m not suggesting that you don’t qualify candidates before you invest your very limited and precious time in meeting with or speaking with them.  Just don’t confuse prejudging with qualifying.

Proper qualifying is part of the sales process your sales people should be following religiously. Pre-judging said simply, is all about you. Prejudging is bypassing that systematic process you would normally have to declare: “This lead is no good. I’ll go on to the next one.” When you pre-judge a lead you are making assumptions about them before you ask any questions or uncover any facts. When you pre-qualify someone, you are asking questions to uncover their unique and specific needs without making any assumptions so that you can determine very quickly if there is in fact, an authentic lead worth pursuing.

One other real world story — according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are roughly 27.5 million businesses in this country. Many of these small businesses are run by just one person. In fact, only 6 million of those businesses have any employees.  Should we not even have a conversation with those other 21.5 million businesses because they are only a really small business?

Qualify, don’t prejudge…

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Surfing Web NOT The Same Thing as Buying Locally

Yellow Page publishers take note — a growing number of Americans are going online for fun, or to just kill time.

That’s not just my opinion, it’s the findings in a new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The survey talked with 2,260 U.S. adults from July to August. On a given day, more than half (53%) of those 18-29 year olds go online for no specific reason except to have fun, and 81% use the Internet as a diversion at least occasionally.

One of the perceptions vs. reality comments I often hear is that “young people” (that famous 19-35 year old age group) never use print yellow pages. Based on this confirming research, those comments are somewhat correct. But the fact remains it is not as if they are on exclusively going to the web to shop/buy either, at least not during the majority of the time they are playing around. The findings do point to the extent to which the Internet has become a competitor to other types of advertising media, since things such as “watching TV” and “listening to radio” can now be done online. For example, Americans watched a record 42.6 billion videos online in October (comScore data). And for those that follow the stock market, you may have noticed the new $1 billion IPO that Zynga filed on Friday for a company that is in the growing online social gaming segment.

More results from the survey show that 58% of American adults overall (and 74% of those online) go online for fun at least sometimes, up from 29% in 2000 and 40% in 2005. The shift toward more people going online for fun cuts across various demographic segments. For example, the proportion of whites, African Americans and Hispanics using the Internet as a diversion has increased between 25% and 28% for each in the last decade. In terms of gender, the share of men and women doing so has roughly doubled to 62% and 54%, respectively. Similarly, large jumps were seen across varying education and income levels.

The main point being that just because “everyone” is online/using mobile apps, doesn’t necessarily correlate that all of their buying activating is constrained to those media, or even in using those media exclusively for their shopping/buying information.

Given that reading a print Yellow Pages has never been confused with “having fun” or “killing time”, the ROI that a local advertiser can expect from their Yellow Pages advertising program is still solid…