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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Cold Calling + Emailing/Mailing (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Close.Up.Dave
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I had some questions about cold calling and mailing that I couldn't find in other threads. Hoping someone could help me out.

I'm researching businesses to cold call and then follow up with mail and/or email materials.

First, does anyone know of effective ways of building a good list? I'm currently looking at google, friends Facebook pages (the companies they work for), chamber websites, and some others. However, I can't help but feel like the list is still puny at the moment.

Second, for direct mailing, do people think it wise to send a simple postcard, or mail a physical package to those who seem (at least mildly) interested? I don't want to over sell my service, but also don't want to look like junk mail either that a secretary could throw out.

Third, how effective do people think it is to email information versus direct mailing? I have a downloadable brochure and my promo video right on my website. Its much more cost effective for me to email, but then I risk not finding their physical address if I want to do a postcard later in the year for an annual direct mailing. The other problem is them not having something physical to hold on to as a reminder. Then again, people sometimes don't like having things cluttering up their office. A promo packet by a magician could get in their way.

I'd really appreciate some advice. Thanks guys!

Dave
Mindpro
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Every town, city or area, big or small, has it major employers - factories, plants, corporate offices, etc. I always suggest trying these major employers first. The reason is multi-fold butt usually they are not only the major employers, but the pillars of the local business community. They have and often support and sponsor community events, are are often the most likely to hire entertainment at their events for their employees and their families.

The singlemost best answer to your question in my opinion is "all the above". For most efforts it is a multi-faceted campaign or effort that gets the job done. The plan is to reach your goal of getting your materials before them and ultimately booking a gig. This may take a multi-step process, for once you have it down and in place, it typically is as simple as just repeating it.

Begin with prospecting. This is great by cold calling or by a basic post card mailing. The goal of prospecting is to get direct names and leads. Follow-up my several methods - phone, e-mail, regular mailings, etc. Timimg of your efforts or campaigns is also important and of course will increase your chances of interest and success.

I have been to the point for about 7 or 8 years that all I do is e-mail. Email of course past clients and previous contacts (also agents), but also for prospecting. When you only do one, method you may expect only minimal results but because my database is rather large this amount is still very good for me. When it comes to e-mail campaigns, it's all about your size...the size of your list.

Also you must define your intentions or call to action. Are you expecting them to book you from your e-mail, post card or phone calling efforts, or are you simply trying to get them to your web site, to opt-in and sign-up for your list, or to request a physical promo package?
Carducci
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I'll echo MindPro's comments and give you some insight into what I do.

First and foremost, I know who I want to market to. Personally, I like small companies with 20-75 employees and companies that plan regular meetings etc. The smaller companies have very tight knit groups that respond well to my show and are a lot of fun to work for. They are also at a size where they're too big to just go out to dinner for their event, and too small to break up their entertainment by department. This is just what I go for, you decide what works for you.

Then, I spend a few hundred dollars on a good list. Not all lists are created equal. It's important to find out how they gather their information, how often they update it, how they update it etc. Just like there are great performers and terrible performers, there are great list providers and terrible list providers.

Whatever list you get, it's not enough. If you send 1000 post cards to some generic title like "event coordinator, XYZ Company" 990 will end up in the trash. I get names of the event committee chairs etc.

I load all the leads into my database (I'm using ShowBiz CRM) and proceed to call them (or I hire someone to call them) Here is a basic script for getting names and contact info:

Hello, I was hoping you could help me.

<they respond>

Could you tell me who is in charge of organizing your company's special events? (examples are Employee Social events, Meetings and things of that nature)


<If they ask why>
I would like to send you some information about new and different entertainment ideas for companies in the XXX Area. (Replace XXXwith whatever area this company is in)

<What company are you calling from>
I'm calling from the offices of Michael Carducci, a local company specializing in Corporate entertainment services. I'd just like to send some information down and I was hoping you could help me direct it to the correct person.

<they decline or give a generic name>
Ok, well thanks very much! Have a great day! (input whatever information they give if any, and Make a note in the 'notes' Column)

<If they don't know>
That's ok, would you mind putting me through to somebody who might know, maybe human resources?
<they transfer you>
(start from top)

<you get a name>
Do know this person's email, by chance

<they refuse>
I understand, How about an extension?

<they release it>
Thank you! How about an extension

<they don't hold such events>
Ok, thank you so much for your time! (Make a note in the 'notes' Column)

Thank you so much for your time!
Have a great day/weekend/whatever



For qualified leads with no event coming up, they get an email automatically every three months.

For qualified leads who ask for more info, they get a full 10 page PDF proposal emailed to them and I ask when I should follow-up (then I put that in my database)

For qualified leads, everybody gets a postcard, and a full salesletter etc mailed a few days later (usually with something interesting inside)

For those that don't plan events, I'm not wasting money sending them expensive direct mail pieces.

My goal is to:

1. Build up a database of professionals who plan events in my area
2. Stay in touch with those professionals with Top of the mind awareness (periodic postcards and emails)
3. Generate leads for imminent events (in a week calling campaign, I'll usually end up speaking to 5-10 people who were stuck for ideas at that very moment and are very grateful I called)

For scheduled emails, and generating emails and PDFs to respond to hot leads, I let my system generate and manage those. For my postcards, I export the names and addresses and let the company that prints the post cards and letters do the fulfillment (I hate stuffing envelopes).

I also do a big mail/email campaign to everyone around September and March, when people are likely to start planning their winter/summer events. I usually send a postcard, the the email a few days later, then another mailing.

All my mailings have a clear call to action - get a quote for your event. If they're planning an event, I want that in my database so I can work the gig. All they have to do is fill out a form.

This system works very well for me and actually has a very light touch. Most people will get just a few emails a year and a few mailings a year. I strive to hit find the minimum of contact I need both to save money on mailing/printing, but also to not be a pest (most of these people have actual jobs to do and I don't want to get in their way) My goal is to make their life easier.

Hope this helps.
Close.Up.Dave
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Mindpro, as always, thanks for your great advice.

Carducci, I think it would be odd if that post didn't help lol. Thank you for the very in depth post.

I'm going to print this out and make a clear plan of action.

David
JeffWampler
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Wow Carducci...you could sell that post for $49.95 and sell a lot of them, great information...the cold calling script itself is awesome...I clicked on this thinking I could help, but you pretty much covered it...lemme see if I can add anything helpful...

Looks like what to do with prospects is covered, but not necessarily where to get the prospects. Dave, you mentioned Chamber webites, but most Chambers of Commerce will publish a directory of local and/or regional businesses. My local Chamber sells a manufacturing directory that covers a relatively large area for $40...not bad. It contains owner's names, addresses, type of business (SIC cod), number of employees and phone numbers. There's also the Chamber of Commerce members' directory. This will have the same information, but for every business who is a member of the Chamber of Commerce.

If you're doing programs outside your local area, you may have to search elsewhere.

One place I've found that is pretty cool is geoselector.com You can search for companies by SIC code, sales, and number of employees within a radius of a specific location (I use my home). It will give you the number of companies in their available lists for your selections. If nothing else, it's a good tool to se what's out there in the market you're going after.

Good luck, and Carducci, thank you again for your post...It's pretty awesome!
RJE2
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Great advice given here.

I'd like to add, don't forget the direct approach. Look for the industrial parks and go knock on doors.

The receptionist is often the "go to" person of a company when it comes to what is going on. I like to bring my promo directly to her to pass along and leave her with a little gift of some sort (ie. a fun little plastic business card that measures stress level). This approach has paid off well for us.
Oscar999
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There should be a "sticky" on Carducci's post.

Very nice and quite generous.

Oscar
Gerry Hennessey
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I'm sure you'll get a lot of good advice.

However in today's market there are three marketing components that should be at the forefront of your thinking.
A great act. Great word of mouth. Great social marketing.
"Every discipline effects every other discipline. You can't straighten out the corporation if your closet is a mess" Jim Rohn

GerryHennessey.com
Kevinr
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Quote:
On 2012-01-21 14:10, Carducci wrote:
I'll echo MindPro's comments and give you some insight into what I do.

First and foremost, I know who I want to market to. Personally, I like small companies with 20-75 employees and companies that plan regular meetings etc. The smaller companies have very tight knit groups that respond well to my show and are a lot of fun to work for. They are also at a size where they're too big to just go out to dinner for their event, and too small to break up their entertainment by department. This is just what I go for, you decide what works for you.

Then, I spend a few hundred dollars on a good list. Not all lists are created equal. It's important to find out how they gather their information, how often they update it, how they update it etc. Just like there are great performers and terrible performers, there are great list providers and terrible list providers.

Whatever list you get, it's not enough. If you send 1000 post cards to some generic title like "event coordinator, XYZ Company" 990 will end up in the trash. I get names of the event committee chairs etc.

I load all the leads into my database (I'm using ShowBiz CRM) and proceed to call them (or I hire someone to call them) Here is a basic script for getting names and contact info:

Hello, I was hoping you could help me.

<they respond>

Could you tell me who is in charge of organizing your company's special events? (examples are Employee Social events, Meetings and things of that nature)


<If they ask why>
I would like to send you some information about new and different entertainment ideas for companies in the XXX Area. (Replace XXXwith whatever area this company is in)

<What company are you calling from>
I'm calling from the offices of Michael Carducci, a local company specializing in Corporate entertainment services. I'd just like to send some information down and I was hoping you could help me direct it to the correct person.

<they decline or give a generic name>
Ok, well thanks very much! Have a great day! (input whatever information they give if any, and Make a note in the 'notes' Column)

<If they don't know>
That's ok, would you mind putting me through to somebody who might know, maybe human resources?
<they transfer you>
(start from top)

<you get a name>
Do know this person's email, by chance

<they refuse>
I understand, How about an extension?

<they release it>
Thank you! How about an extension

<they don't hold such events>
Ok, thank you so much for your time! (Make a note in the 'notes' Column)

Thank you so much for your time!
Have a great day/weekend/whatever



For qualified leads with no event coming up, they get an email automatically every three months.

For qualified leads who ask for more info, they get a full 10 page PDF proposal emailed to them and I ask when I should follow-up (then I put that in my database)

For qualified leads, everybody gets a postcard, and a full salesletter etc mailed a few days later (usually with something interesting inside)

For those that don't plan events, I'm not wasting money sending them expensive direct mail pieces.

My goal is to:

1. Build up a database of professionals who plan events in my area
2. Stay in touch with those professionals with Top of the mind awareness (periodic postcards and emails)
3. Generate leads for imminent events (in a week calling campaign, I'll usually end up speaking to 5-10 people who were stuck for ideas at that very moment and are very grateful I called)

For scheduled emails, and generating emails and PDFs to respond to hot leads, I let my system generate and manage those. For my postcards, I export the names and addresses and let the company that prints the post cards and letters do the fulfillment (I hate stuffing envelopes).

I also do a big mail/email campaign to everyone around September and March, when people are likely to start planning their winter/summer events. I usually send a postcard, the the email a few days later, then another mailing.

All my mailings have a clear call to action - get a quote for your event. If they're planning an event, I want that in my database so I can work the gig. All they have to do is fill out a form.

This system works very well for me and actually has a very light touch. Most people will get just a few emails a year and a few mailings a year. I strive to hit find the minimum of contact I need both to save money on mailing/printing, but also to not be a pest (most of these people have actual jobs to do and I don't want to get in their way) My goal is to make their life easier.

Hope this helps.


WOW! This is great advice for my auction biz as well..
montygoodrum
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Awesome information...thanks for sharing....!
theothermentalist
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This is absolutely fantastic.
-Tom Kennedy
My Site
CurtWaltermire
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Michael's post is more than good advice; it is full of real-world stuff that absolutely works.

Direct mail brings me a lot of business, and I've been doing it for years. However, it must be done a certain way. There are many ways to build or obtain lists of potential clients. Doing it manually through online resources, networking, etc., is great, but takes a considerable amount of time to build up. A HUGE amount of time, in fact.

I recommend buying targeted lists. There are various types of lists depending upon various markets you are targeting. It is important to have a clear idea of the type of ideal client that hires you for shows (what types of shows/performances you do) and work from there. Just "anyone who has events needing entertainment" is too broad and not enough. Be specific.

I have used a company called InfoUSA with great success. I still use them. I have a specific person who I correspond with to manage my account and build targeted lists with as much detail as I need, and I can buy them and have them emailed to me in a relatively short period of time. These people are experts at this, and can get you a ton of information. You can buy as large or small of a list as you can afford, and with as much detail as you can afford. Usually the larger the list, the cheaper per lead it is.

Overall, sales letters get better results than postcards, but that is a topic that is fairly involved.

Also, the envelopes should be hand addressed with a first-class, "stuck on" postage stamp. They should look like a personal letter and not a company letter. This will get them opened and increase your open rates 15% or more, which is huge. This little trick is very effective. I pay some friends to do this for me and it is well worth the money.

For what it's worth, I talk a little bit about how direct mail works for me in a recent podcast interview. I talk about this at around the 51-minute mark.

https://soundcloud.com/mysteryartspodcas......episodes

Also for what it's worth, I also plan on covering some of this stuff in a bit more detail in upcoming weeks on the "magicians/mentalists only page" of my website: https://curtisthementalist.com/esoterica/

I don't charge for this and I don't spam people. But I release the info as I have time and get around to it.

Most people won't go to the trouble to do this, but I assure you it is absolutely worth doing, but it takes time and work to get it going, build momentum, and see huge results. Many start, get discouraged early on, and then quit. It pays for itself many times over eventually and the more you do it, the more you get out of it. It can be difficult, and takes time, discipline and consistency. The sooner you start doing it, the faster you will see results. Even if you start small. Keep sending something out on a regular basis and building upon it and you will see results soon enough.

As most other full-time professionals will tell you, unless you are fortunate enough to get a big time manager, talent agent, and huge publicity through an appearance on a Got Talent show, Fool Us, or any number of other things, in order to book more gigs and keep your calendar full, pay your bills, etc., you are going to have to do the hard work of marketing yourself and building a team of good people to help you towards this end. And you will spend a great deal of time and effort doing so. Get people to help you who are better at things (such as graphic design) than you are. Barter with them or save the money to pay them to do the work.

Keep in mind that no matter what, it will take time to build and see results. There are no silver bullets or short-cuts.
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