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    #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumfun
    But as I'm sitting down to think of who to call, I can't think of more than 80 or 90 companies to call. At 20 calls a day, that would only last 5 days. So can you give us some examples of who to call? And how do you get through to the decision makers?
    What exactly is it that you do or aspire to do and I'll try to make some suggestions? FYI, up until 2.5 years ago we were located in Orlando for around 14 years and we have about 2100 prospects for that immediate area. Tell me what you do.

    Robert


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    #12
    Senior Member Sumfun's Avatar
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    Robert,

    Thanks for the reply. What a nice coincidence that you used to live in Orlando. And wow, 2100 prospects! I would love to see your rolodex. Actually, I would love to get advice on how to "fish" even more.

    My goal is to produce TV shows for cable networks, or syndication, or, dare I say it, broadcast networks. I know this may take a lot of time and money (and work and luck), so until that happens, I would also like to work on commercials and industrials.

    My background is in engineering and sales. I just recently decided to pursue video production full time. But I have produced a local TV show for a couple of years now (much of that time as a side job), and being a small company, I've had experience in all aspects of production, except acting.


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    #13
    Senior Member Peabody's Avatar
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    Thanks to Rob for his post on whipping up business.
    I have much to learn in that department.
    Am looking forward to more dialogue and brainstorming on the topic here. Have seen little or it int he past.
    I started my video production business three years ago, having left a secure 35 year career as a broadcast journalist. I wanted to pursue my passion.
    We're still small.
    I hire only on a contract basis.
    Marketing and sales often get pushed to the back burner.
    Cold calling I've tried with no success. Same with networking, C of C etc. Direct mailing BtoB with no response. We've posted samples on our website www.shermanproductions.ca . I've produced reels on DVD and handed them out. I've done .wmv files and sent them with e-mails. We get the occassional response to our Yellow Pages ad for an 8mm transfer or a wedidng. Stuff we don't do. In the end referals are what get us new jobs. But business is slow. This immediate market is half a million and we are only an hour away from the huge Toronto market. So there is growth potential.
    Sometimes I wonder that our prices are too high. But when we do quotations we make sure there will be a profit at the end of it all. This is my income, and not a hobby.
    We do training and promotional stuff, projects for government, business and school boards.
    But we need to do more to make a go of it.
    One option I've been considering is to take on a sales person. But we could afford commission only. Not sure who that would attract. Recently got a "Google Adwords" account to help imporve our ranking on the internet.
    Sherman


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    #14
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    Sumfun and Peabody:

    The problem is in the way you seem to view or perceive the process which is not uncommon. It's not "fishing" and DEFINITELY NOT cold calling. Cold calling is the wrong approach and fishing gives the connotation that you're casting around waiting for a bite.

    It took us many years to get 2100 prospects and we recently thinned it down from 3300 or so. It represents 10's of thousands of Suspects we went through.

    You have to look at this process as information gathering, sifting, sorting, detective work. Please go back to my original posting and read about how the phone call should be structured. The answer is there.

    Regarding running out of people to call: Do you subscribe to the local Business Journals or the read the business section of the newspaper? Both filled with "Suspects". What about the local commercials on TV? How about riding around in your car on your daily activities; you probably pass signs and construction sites for new buildings and businesses every day. Someone will be shooting that work. How about the good old fashioned phone book?

    There are other resources as well available at the library or other resource that tell you the clients in your area, their ad budget and who their agency is. Go ask the local librarian, they love to help people find what they are looking for.

    Join the Chamber of Commerce, get involved on committees. One of the first things we did when we moved to Las Vegas. I'm now on the Board of Advisors and we do a pro-bono piece every year for the Customer Service Excellence Awards Banquet. We go to the top companies, film their top customer service reps doing little cheesy skits and then edit it into a 15 minute fun video that is shown at the banquet to oh, around 1000 executives of the top 100 companies in town. It opens and closes with a Starling logo...imagine that! Of course when we're at the corporate offices I'm doing face to face info gathering. "Hey, who handles the marketing and advertising here at Nevada Power?.... really, could you introduce me before we go?".

    My point is once again, your job is to run a business. Businesses are members of the community / neighborhood of businesses. You've got to get involved with your community as a business and gather information that way too.

    Offer to do free demos at the local school or University. Put together a program for the Chamber of Commerce or local leads groups on how to use video to build their businesses. There's so much free stuff you can do.

    It sounds like you've both tried some calling and advertising but has it been consistent? Did you try for a while and say "oh, I'm not a zillion times busy so it's not working".

    What if you made 1000 information gathering calls in a year and only landed one client but that client was worth $100,000 a year in business, plus the referrals? Would that be worth it? In five years you've got five clients for $500k, plus all the other low hanging fruit that you snagged along the way.

    Regarding taking on a sales person; what you need is to make the calls yourself, make them information gathering and not cold calls, do it until YOU are good at it and then don't hire a sales person; hire a Marketing Coordinator that is a researcher personality with a good phone voice. NOT A SALES PITCH PERSON. YOU should be selling your work, not someone else...at least for a long time. But until you have a Prospect with an immediate need you can't sell yet can you? A Prospect might not bloom for 8 years, some sooner, some later but you've got to do the research and work now to have that pay off. It's work, but it's your job. Put the Marketing Coordinator on salary, plus bonuses for meetings they set up for you and profit on jobs booked as a result.

    Sales people on commission just want to sell for the most part but you need research to start building the list of prospects from which you'll feed off of for the REST OF THE LIFE OF YOUR BUSINESS. Right?

    There's so much more to share.....but my time is up for the moment.

    Robert
    Last edited by robstar1; 01-13-2007 at 03:48 PM.


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    #15
    Senior Member Peabody's Avatar
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    This is the sort of stuff we can pay for at some three day seminar.
    And this advice is specific to the businesses those of us who frequent this forum dream to build and grow into successful operations.
    This entrepreneur is sharing the secrets to his success.
    To document the information contained in these posts shows the poster's unselfishness.
    I'm takin' notes,---and I know I'm not the only one.
    From all of us, thanks Rob.
    Sherman


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    #16
    Senior Member maverickstunts's Avatar
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    An incredible amount of information. I'm a one man band as well, but draw from professionals in the film industry. We have produced a lot of stuff, but I still have to work as a stuntman and coordinator, but want to branch out. The amount of time consumed is incredible. thanks to everyone for the information, especially you robstar1.
    I will be in Vegas on Friday doing a car chase.


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    #17
    Senior Member Sumfun's Avatar
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    Robert,

    Thank you for your posts. This is really invaluable information, and I'm grateful that you're willing to share it with us. I can already see quite a few things that I can do to improve my business.

    Since you mentioned that there's more to share, then I'll ask for more. How about some advice on cold calling your Suspects. How do you reach the "right" people within the company? And what if their business is obvious (i.e. car dealerships). What do you say on your information gathering calls (other than talk about how you can help them)? And finally, any advice on approaching ad agencies?


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    #18
    Senior Member Peabody's Avatar
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    Twenty-nine calls today.
    My advice. Think of it as warm calling?
    Think the term cold calling is scarey.
    Didn't get the cold shoulder from anyone, really.
    Matter of fact I got a surprisingly warm reception im most cases.
    Had a hard time getting away from a couple of business owners.
    They were only too eager to share the passion they have for their baby,---their business.
    Remember, these people have nothing to gain by being rude to a fellow business owner.
    If you're friendly, they're friendly.
    My experience today.
    Used the local Chamber of Commerce directory for contact info.
    Re-joining Chamber, this time as a participant,---not a sideliner who complains that it's not working for me and that I don't get enough thanks for volunteering.
    It's about exposure more than time wasted volunteering.
    Doing some backtracking here.
    Sherman


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    #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peabody
    Twenty-nine calls today.
    Congratulations to you! My goal is to hold out on every call until they ask me "So, what do YOU do?" 29 calls is impressive!!! If they won't let you off the phone, just sit tight and LISTEN for all the clues you'll need to sell them when the time comes.

    Learn to recognize of course when someone sounds busy and hurried and just say "you know....you sound really busy now and I was just calling to find out a little more about what you guys do there, so why don't I call back tomorrow or next week?" You don't even have to identify yourself at this point.

    Robert


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    #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumfun
    Robert,
    How about some advice on cold calling your Suspects. How do you reach the "right" people within the company? And what if their business is obvious (i.e. car dealerships). What do you say on your information gathering calls (other than talk about how you can help them)? And finally, any advice on approaching ad agencies?
    Hi Sumfun:
    I don't know anything about "cold calling"; that sounds like something a door-to-door salesperson might do. I'm a professional business owner so I don't do cold calling; I do research, information gathering, qualifying, communications, follow up, consultations, site visits, sales, contracts/agreements, closing sales, preproduction, production, post production, customer service, follow up and business management. Lather, Rinse, Repeat...

    I'm not being difficult about this but as long as you view this process as cold calling I can't help you.

    Robert Starling


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