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    29 Replies Latest reply on Aug 11, 2008 4:09 PM by Worldwide

    Where am I going wrong?

    Archangel Adventurer
      I've done quite a bit of marketing for my new business and I've spent an awful lot of money. To date the results of that investment have been pricisely zero. I'm hoping someone here can tell me where I'm going wrong. Admititly, my marketing mix isn't as well rounded as it could be, but I can't afford to just continue dumping money into something that isn't working. At this point I'm just not sure where to go from here. Here's what I have so far:


      I've done direct mail postcards offering free analysis and estimate for new computers or refurbishment.

      I'm a member of the Chamber of Commerce and go to the monthly shindig and other events and schmooz.

      I have an ad in the local business paper, the San Fernando Valley Business Journal, which I know is read by 80% of the dicision makers here locally.

      I've gone to a number of business events and did the meet and greet bit with a lot of people.

      So far I've had no results at all. I guess it's just me. So I put out an ad for a sales rep. I got three good responses, but when I replied to them with information about the company I never heard anything back. Now I'm stuck. My money is all in and I'm not going to be able to get any more without making some sales. I've spent tons of time and money trying to sell and all I've gotten for it is people trying to sell me stuff. I need help. Where can I find someone who can sell? I can do everything else, I'm very good at what I do, in fact I've been told by people who know that I'm the best at what I do, and I've been doing it for a very long time. So how do I sell it?
        • Re: Where am I going wrong?
          JVCruz Adventurer
          This may or may not help. I do know that large companies such as AAA often change out their computers, monitors, etc. Have you tried offering your services to companies such as they? The Southeast AAA offices all changed out their old computers and components to newer IBM systems. I would check with them, if you are able to handle a large account.
            • Re: Where am I going wrong?
              Archangel Adventurer
              Thank you, that was helpful, but my problem isn't finding who to sell too, it's more a problem of how do I sell it? Sales and marketing have never been my strong point. I think the problem I have right now is trying to sell the sales rep on selling what I'm offering. I don't know how much sense that makes, but that is what the problem is at this point. Sometimes I almost feel like I've been cursed or something. No matter what I do the phone doesn't ring, the email is empty and no one ever seems to visit my website. The only calls I do get are sales calls. I'm begining to feel that after working so hard for so long and spending so much money that it's all been for nothing.
                • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                  JVCruz Adventurer

                  Note: On the main page of your site, I noticed that the word "built" probably should be "build". You may just want to double check your site for minor errors. It can influence impression someone has about your company.

                  When you tried to hire a sales rep, what were you offering? Was it based solely on commission? If so, how much was the commission rate? If not, have you thought of adding to the base salary a commission incentive?


                  If there is no funds available to pay someone a salary or hourly rate, is the commission high enough? Have you thought of seeking a partner in your company or offering a share of the company to someone who is great at sales? If your company hasn't made a penny yet, how long can you go on? By offering a share/stake in the business to someone who has a proven track record in sales, there will be a stronger chance of both persons involved in making money.


                  As to your site, as well, have you thought of setting an Affiliate program? Having an Affiliate program costs nothing but can reap great sales by having others do referral sales. The Affiliate in turn gets a small percentage of each sale.

                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                  snipperred Scout
                  Hey there Archangel, I see you took off the Joombia app. I think the new layout is cleaner. We talked about your business model before and I think you were onto something that could really distinguish you from the competition in your markets. While you are direct in your approach with your new layout/ content, I don't think you are presenting yourself and your features to the best of your potential.

                  Maybe you should hire a marketing expert like Iwrite to help you.

                  Another idea might be getting involved in or creating your own online social network. You are welcome to look into mine Once I get the network going, could be a good place to promote your services. I might even offer some services to help people use the platform for their own interests. I liked talking business with you before. Message me directly from my site and I will offer you some modern management consulting- free of charge. I think I can advise you on how to .... ... and take names. If your ideas are so hot for businesses then they should be presented and delivered in a manner that reflects that. What you're doing now doesn't do that in my opinion. I like the idea though and think it would be fun to see if I am any good as a consultant with that foundation to start with.
                    • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                      Archangel Adventurer
                      JVCruz: I fixed that typo on the font page. It's amazing, I've had three other people look at that, one of them an English major, and none caught it!

                      Since I posted this a couple of hours ago two things have happened. First, I found out that my company was accepted and I'm set up to offer financing/lease options to my customers. Apparently it's been that way for two weeks but no one bother to tell me about it until just today. Apparently someone went on vacation and just forgot. That's a big plus, and would have been nice if I could have included the fact in the ad that came out yesterday. The second thing is, one of those sales people finally replied to me and I'll be dicussing the situation with him this evening.

                      I know the copy on my website isn't that great, it's a reflection of my skill level at writing such things. I'm just not that good at it. My problem with that is I don't see what's wrong with it. Everyone else seems to think there is something wrong there, but I just don't see it. That being the case, I'm not the one who should be writing the copy. Hence the push for someone with sales and marketing know-how.

                      As far as who I'm trying to sell too, it's pretty simple. While I could pump out 100 computers without much trouble, no one is going to buy that, and yes, I do understand the need for the big guys to go with what they know. Right now i'm looking for the guy who wants 1 to 20 computers. I should be able to get that guy without too much trouble if I have the right sales and marketing operation out front. The truth on margins in the computer world is not what you might think it is. I can offer a comperable computer to Dell and HP for at least $100 less than them and still make PLENTY, and that even before I've met the channel requeriments for people like Intel and Microsoft. Some of the requierment are strict, like Microsoft, but some are not. I don't have far to go before I can start buying chips and motherboards straight from Intel and then I can drop my price even more and still expand the margin quite a bit.
                        • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                          Iwrite Pioneer
                          You have to give people a reason to come to you.
                          What is the real benefit to me the consumer if I use your service?
                          What makes you the business that I should choose?
                          And what are you offering that I cannot get from any of your competitors?

                          Don't answer that too quickly.

                          When you do it might need to be something like this:

                          Anyone can supply you computers to address your needs. We supply solutions to meet your computer needs.

                          Whether it is around the clock service or cost efficient equipment - we offer a human touch to your technological needs. We're fluent in both technology and human speak, no cookie cutter solutions here. We build and deliver solutions designed for your specific need at a cost that adds up to a great bargain for you.

                          What I am trying to do is put it into a benefit for the customer, while establishing your company as something special. This is off the top of my head asa I write some copy for a project so it isn't the best but it should point you in the right direction. I hope this helps. Marketing without a clear and on point message can do more harm than good.
                    • Re: Where am I going wrong?

                      Basically, you are in a highly competitive commodity business that normally is governed by price point but you are not going to be able to compete or get attention on price alone.


                      And I don't think that you are going to have success selling a major contract to a company of any size. They are going to go with a proven vendor with a track record. A corporate purchasing manager's performance is gauged just as much by vendor performance as it is by cost. Since you are an "unknown", unlike Dell, HP etc., its doubtful you would get a shot for larger, corporate wide, types of contracts since they don't want to get fried if something goes wrong with your performance. Though a commodity ... PC's and systems are too essential to most businesses daily operations to rely on an unknown.


                      You said that people tell you how great you are at what you do.


                      I might have missed it but I don't see anything to reference that on your site. No testimonials etc. You should gather all the testimonials you can from past clients/customers and get those on your site and in your sales materials.


                      You have to give people a reason to use you or buy your products. Frankly most people don't care about details about what goes into their PC's ... they just want them to work without any hassle.


                      Show consumers and customer prospects what others have had to say about how good you are at what you do or how good your products are. That begins to form the basis for a reason try your services or products. A bit of ‘social approval' goes a long way towards helping in their decision process on whether or not to give you a try. I would take the sidebar on your site where you list out the companies you work with (component suppliers I take it) and replace with testimonials. Check your site for typo's etc. make the copy (writing) on it tight and an 'active' voice instead of a 'passive' tone. A subtle thing but one that makes a big difference when they read about you, your company and its products/services.


                      In my opinion the only way that you could entice a sales person (whose compensation will probably solely rest on commission since you are low on capital) is if you have the ability to deliver on a big contract should they sell one. At individual system prices you may not have a lot of margin to work with so their commission might not be enough to make it worth their while on single customer/single system sales. That is probably their perception and why you did not hear back from the 3 sales reps you mention.


                      If necessary you may want to scale back, clamp down on operating expenses and focus on word-of-mouth and direct sales (through your efforts not a sales person) even if only one sale, one customer, one system at a time. Build up your base of satisfied customers - get testimonials and referrals. Target smaller businesses that you can establish a dialog and comfort level with; 3 or 4 PC jobs may lead to 10 PC jobs that may lead to even larger opportunities. Stair-step your way to position your company to bid for and take on larger customers/contracts.


                      I hope the above feedback helps you in some way. Good luck with your business.


                      Dennis Lowery


                      Adducent, Inc.
                      • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                        Lighthouse24 Ranger

                        You're in a region that has plenty of IT professionals, and a customer base that is probably more tech-savvy than average. Therefore, for a brand new business in that market to claim that they build the "best computers . . . and back them up with the best service" is just so much fluff unless there's something to prove it. Either your people or your processes (and probably both) have to be superior to anyone else's out there for you to justify that "best" claim -- yet your site doesn't really talk about either one. Who is building your systems and providing service, and what are their backgrounds and expertise? What makes your build, refurbish, and service processes so much higher quality than all of your competitors? What objectives measures or evidence validate that (since, with no sales, you might not have any references or testimonials as yet)? I think those are important questions to answer.

                        I also think you might need a more "focused" marketing approach. It's like the hunter who points his rifle at the sky and empties it, hoping that something good will fly in front of one of the bullets -- you use up a lot of ammo very fast. It sounds like from your own assessment that you'd like to shoot less and hit more, which means aiming at a more specific (and promising) target. Your competitors are currently focused on students going off to college. If you can build a better system at a better price than the ones that the big box stores are promoting for that purpose, then you can market that one solution to that one audience instead of trying to sell everything to everyone. (I'm not suggesting that a narrow focus be your permanent marketing strategy, just the one you'd use for the next month to get some traction.)

                        As others have noted, if you are relying on your website as the primary sales/support tool, the assistance of an advertising copywriter might be a good investment (the copy isn't bad, but has a lot of "glitches" that certainly don't help you any). Maybe you can barter an upgrade in exchange for a copywriter's services.

                        Hope that helps. Best wishes.
                        • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                          limoman Newbie
                          Direct mailing is a wonderful tool I have found it to be the best for me, but you have to find a company that reach a large nuber fo people or businesses at a fair rate, they have something in the limo business they call shared rides. it is cheaper than private cars and you need to share your mailer with others people save coupons they don't go for the free stuff unless its buy one and get one they like to get something off. They usually won't tell you till the last minute oh by the way I have coupone. Money Mailer, Clippers, Mr. Coupone are the best and cheapest you can buy the entire zip code for under $300.00.
                          • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                            webmasters Adventurer

                            You have good info on your website and the deal sounds great. I've paid as much as 9k for a custom turnkey machine with software.
                            It was a Ecommerce deal and the company provided excellent customer service.
                            Your business is within a industry of 900 pound gorillas like Dell, Compaq, HP, IBM etc.
                            You need to have a website that make your company look good. The visible appearance of your website need to say " move over Dell, Compaq, HP, IBM we are here to stay.
                            A few things you need to consider.

                            1, a website makeover such as design layout, color scheme, fresh professional photos, good keywords, website content, and something to make the website sticky" have visitors return to the website for things like freebies, discounts, users forums etc".

                            I have a few more ideas for you.
                            Feel free to contact us anytime and ask for Maurice.

                            Warm Regards,
                            • Webmaster

                            24/7 Phone Sales and Support Call: 1-858-605-0942
                            You can also use the Request A Call tool available at our web site.
                            • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                              snipperred Scout
                              Just a note on this thread: one of the more concentrated collections of outstanding advice I have seen. You are all welcome to join my community . The point I find interesting is the bottom line deal comparable to Dell and HP.

                              I've had some bad experiences with Dell service in particular. I don't mind the international outsourcing for customer service- especially for the price we got for our company's 45 pc's and servers. What I do mind is the automation and not being able to get through to a decision maker who can "do the right thing" when presented with a common sense issue. I have also had the top tier service package for support warranty and parts pertaining to a current version server my last company depended on. They outsource to Dell authorized service rep in the area- really just a local pc guy with his own business. I guess what they pay him must not be great because the service and turnaround was really poor. At best just removal and replacement. For example, I ended up paying thousands to troubleshoot and replace a defective RAID that I could easily attribute to Dell with my own IT consultant walking everything through. The highest level I got to in reconciling was a small business account group who...needless to say was primarily focussed on upselling me.

                              I glean from Archangel's business model he can serve a market need with better service. Following pretty much all the advice above could be a very profitable business. I still completely disagree with the commission based sales program. A makeover on the presentation and I think all he needs to do then is be able to deliver to expectations. It's the personal touch and underlying logic of dealing with someone who can provide at cost plus the light overhead. I don't see why you'd want to pass this off to a commission based salesperson who cannot possibly represent the value at the point of service and represents an additional overhead.

                              I think I'll audit my own business model off most of the advice above. Again, thank you very much.
                                • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                                  JVCruz Adventurer
                                  I mentioned the commission due to ArchangelPCS not having any sales at this time. If he has enough funds to continue operating and to pay for a sales rep salary, it a commission rate may not be necessary -- or can be added as an incentive for the rep to be a good producer.

                                  A note Archangel: As far as the site, I don't see any credentials. It may behoove you to place your company's profile, past projects, skills, experience, and any, if any, awards.

                                  Also, just a personal note, if I were looking at your site for computer services, there would be a trust issue. Although you may be a valid company, there is no indication that you are. Are you registered with the BBB? I would want to investigate you and would want to check the BBB. Most people will. Just a personal note.

                                  The other ideas too about offering something to help keep potential customers on your site or coming back is a great idea. Forming a knowledge base or Forum on computer issues could be advantageous.

                                  Sorry, I can't be of any further assistance.

                                  Best of Luck to you.

                                  JV Cruz
                                    • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                                      Archangel Adventurer
                                      There is a lot of good information here and I do appreciate it very much. There are a couple of things to consider though. First, this is a brand new company. There is no track record to speak of. There are no examples to point to. Time is what it is, I have to start at the begining. Personally I've been doing this kind of thing for over 20 years, but I spent that time making other people rich, making them look good. That's one reason I offer a money back guarantee. The second thing is the marketing/sales aspect of it. I thought I could muddle through initially and pull in enough business to get things going just by doing it better and cheaper than the competition. That's not working, so now I have to find someone who knows how to sell to help me. It's just one of those things I don't do well, and I'm not going to get better at it any time soon. I have to offer someone a good commission because I can't afford to pay a salary right now.

                                      Also, a lot of the focus here has been on the website. Yes, I did ask about that, and you all did come back with some good information, but that's not really my focus right now. True, people will go to the site to check out my company, but what I need them to do is pick up the phone and call me. Besides, right now no one is looking at my site besides you guys, and they sure aren't calling. Until I can start making that happen everything else is moot.

                                      Snippered: Your experience is exactly what I'm talking about. If you bought your computers from Dell then you payed way too much and got terrible service, just like everyone else. This is exactly my point. I work locally. If a customer calls me they're going to be talking to me. I don't have a fancy call screening system. Just think, if you had bought your 45 computers from me you would have had none of those service problems, spent at least $100 less per computer, and I would be sitting pretty right now with enough money in the bank and a happy customer to quote.

                                      The bottom line is simple, at least for me. If you want the best, call me. Throughout my IT career that's always been the case. I am aware that now I'm going to have to prove that all over again. No problem, all I need is the opportunity. Just one should be enough.
                                  • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                                    bizsaver Wayfarer
                                    Sometimes, you have to step back, take a long look at what you are offering, what unique or advanced benefits your service or product represents that would get someone excited about leaving their current resource, spend money or take the time to even follow-up regarding more information. You seem to be doing a lot of the right things in your marketing, but if your message isn't getting through, you're not throwing out the right words. Business is based soley on the benefits you offer your potential customer. If you have the newest, best and most unique service or product available, believe me...your customers will find you. I would suggest you go to my site and check out the 14 Step Guide To Maximum Success! I believe the guide will help you reexamine your business and allow you to build the right foundation for recharging your company.

                                    Good luck to you,

                                    Gary Scaife, The Answer Guy
                                    • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                                      britinusa Wayfarer

                                      Some basics:(Apologies for being blunt!)

                                      • Your systems seem well priced, but for most folks it's tooo much hassle. They can visit a thousand online pc retailers and order their item in minutes.
                                      • The home page should show a few standard packages, if you're not breaking copyrights, then comparision to brands could be there too.
                                      • You have to hit the interest of the buyer on page 1. Check out tiger direct dot com and you'll get the point.
                                      • How much time is the consultation? Consider the markup on your product and the time it takes to 'consult' to figure out some base profit numbers.
                                      • What's your target market? Geeks? probably not, they'll build their own. Businesses? Probably, your sample machines have high end capacity for them. Residential? Most are not power users (see Geeks)

                                      One thing you might consider it selecting a vertical market for which your systems would be ideal, then target that market: much more cost effective than broadcast ads. Consider one of your clients (I presume you have made at least one sale by now) as a potential vertical.. Always tough to make decisions based on very small qty of data.

                                      Hope it's helpful and wish you good fortune.

                                        • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                                          Archangel Adventurer
                                          Ok, well I have to totally revamp the site. I've had a lot of good suggestions, but unfortunatly most of them contradict the others. I'm begining to see that everyone has their own criteria for eveluating a computer vendor. The problem I have is I can't necessarily cover all these bases. Still, since I can offer the best price for quality products and outstanding customer service I shouldn't have a problem. So now I'm back to where I started. What am I doing wrong? By target market is small to medium sized business. I had thought I'd made that clear on the site, I guess not. Most of what was posted here is fine, some of it is even useful, but I still haven't gotten a real usable answer to the basic question: How do I get the customer to pick up the phone and call? Yes, I know what you're saying, but if that were true, it would have already happened. I've already tried most of this stuff at considerable expense. Every time I follow someone's advice on how to lay out the website, someone else comes along and tells me it's all wrong and that I should do it "this way." I don't want to be tiger direct, I'm selling to a different customer base than they are. I'm competing with Dell and HP. I can beat them on all aspects of product, product delivery and after sale service and support. Why isn't that good enough?
                                            • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                                              Lighthouse24 Ranger

                                              I can beat Dell and HP on all aspects of product, product delivery and after sale service and support.

                                              Just in my local Yellow Book, there are 913 small companies that advertise pretty much that exact same thing. On-line, there are hundreds more. Your competition isn't Dell and HP -- and it's all the little companies out there just like yours.


                                              How do I get the customer to pick up the phone and call?


                                              Give the customer a reason to pick you over the thousands of other choices that are readily available. As I read through all the responses you've received, eight different members have suggested that in one way or another (so I'm not seeing much contridiction on that point). What makes your people or processes better? (Same questions I asked in the first paragraph of my initial post in this thread.) As business buyer, that's what I'd need to see up front to even consider you.

                                              Hope that helps. Good luck.
                                              • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                                                puzzleman Tracker
                                                I found the builder of my computers not on the web. In fact he doesn't have a website. He has an article in the local paper every week about computer issues. It plain, clear and well written. It has his name and contact info at the end of the article. From just reading his section of the paper, I had good thoughts about him before I even picked up the phone to call. I had been reading his stuff for over a year before I needed his services.

                                                What I am trying to say is that it isn't so much about your website but your marketing. I personally do not have a website with all the bells and whistles. I meet my customers at art shows, through referral and through my customer's gift giving. (I include a product flyer with my info on it in each order we send out and my name is on the back of every product that leaves my shop) I am always looking at ways to get to the people who can use my products. My customers go to my site to make orders and see what new things I am making. They are not going to be whiz-banged by the latest thing that it does. What I am saying is that I drive the traffic to the website through all of these different ways.

                                                Back to the original problem. I think that the answer is NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK.
                                                Press the flesh. Beat the pavement. The more people you talk to the more chances you have of finding the right person. How about local business trade shows?

                                                Another thought. You said that you are competing against Dell & HP. That's like a retailer trying to fight WalMart. You need to go sideways and not compete with them. You need to compete a different way. Push the customer service and the response of your company. The other stuff can come in later.

                                            • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                                              MotorDoc Wayfarer

                                              There is some excellent marketing advice in this string. Great stuff to help you focus and get a little more out of your marketing dollars. The representative is an OK idea, if the contract is set up right. Trust me, if you have a generic representative contract with a territory, then you will end up paying regardless of the amount of work put in.

                                              Based upon some of the responses, etc. here, I get the feeling that you are missing one vital step as you build your brand, especially as you are in 'dire straights.' That is simply this: all the marketing in the world is great, but your potential clients are not going to see your stuff amongst all of the others and beat a path to your door. You have to create that path by simply knocking on the doors of those who you wish to work with.

                                              A few simple concepts, some time and patience, and off you go - if you have a competitive offering. And that DOES NOT mean surrendering price.

                                              First, it is important to remember a rule about marketing. This is very important as most people surrender well before they achieve the goal: People will see your ad or information 1 in 3 times that it is put in front of them; it takes 9 times before someone feels comfortable enough to contact you directly. This means that your marketing material must be put in front of your prospect a total of 27 times before they contact you.

                                              Second, cold calls, sales calls, appointments. It is one thing to see people and do a little networking. It is something completely different to give the person a call after the networking event and to set up an appointment or follow up on the leads they provide. Getting your face in front of the prospect is extremely important as it is always better to put a face in front of the company. It is one thing to use the impersonal methods of advertising and the internet, it is something completely different if the person feels a connection to your, or a face representing your company.

                                              If you feel uncomfortable about making these sales calls and you wish to use the contacts that a representative has worked on (that is the value of a representative, they already have the relationships), and the rep has experience or contacts in your prospective market, then you need the representative. The contract should be set up with a good commission - to keep the rep interested - but you should try to set it up so that you are only paying commission for those prospects that he has contacted. This can be done with a simple spreadsheet, contact sheet, database, or sales database such as Goldmine or Act (which allow the rep to synch with you and you can run reports to see his notes on each contact). There should also be definitive goals outlined.

                                              The biggest challenge you are going to face as you head into this is the feeling of desperation, if you are starting into, or are in, a financial bind. You must be very careful to prevent this from causing you to play with your numbers or to give away the store in order to make a basic sale. Buyers can smell desperation, and take advantage of it, but respect someone who holds their position. So, when you are sitting in front of your prospect, you have gotten them to say maybe or yes (or sometimes even better - no), be careful of a common tactic - the buyer will sit there and not say a word and just look at you. He is expecting that during this part of the exchange that you will break down and start offering additional services or discounts. Don't. Either break the ice or wait until he starts talking again.

                                              It is also important during the sales call that you listen! I have watched more than enough sales people and representatives give their presentation, etc. while the prospect is desperately trying to sign the contract or buy the product. They end up talking themselves out of the sale. Instead, listen. Here is what usually happens once you build a little rapport - the buyer starts telling you their 'pain' related to their present provider or situation. If you listen carefully, you can match up your product or service to address those issues. Remember, it is WIIFM (What's in it for me) for your prospect. Once you do get business from a prospect, maintain communication with them especially keep your face in front of the client (an occassional call or drop by after a significant sale to show you care and say 'thank you.')

                                              Hope this is helpful.

                                                • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                                                  puzzleman Tracker
                                                  Motor Doc, That is EXCELLENT advice. If you don't mind, I am going to copy your answer down and keep it for my personal reading. I find that reading information like yours on a repetitive basis makes into sink into my brain, eventually.

                                                    • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                                                      MotorDoc Wayfarer

                                                      Thank you and yes, of course. So far I have been very impressed by the information on this forum and hope to be able to contribute in a useful manner.

                                                      By the way, one of the most useful books I have found on direct sales is the Sandler Institute's "You Can't Teach A Kid To Ride A Bicycle In A Seminar." Very practical and ethical. And, no, I have not involvement in the Sandler Institute.

                                                        • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                                                          Archangel Adventurer
                                                          Wow, 913 is an increadible number, the local SFV yellow pages only has about 110, and most of those are local offices of big companies. Some of the others can match my pricing, but no one, seriously, NO ONE can beat my service. Heck, I trained half of the guys out there. Look, I appreciate everything everyone here had said/done. There really is a great deal of valuable marketing and sales information here. The problem I have is that I, personally, am not the person to do any of this stuff. Write in a paper or blog? Write what? I'm a doer, not a writer. I wouldn't even know where to begin. I don't need help figuring out what to do. Your help here is appreciated, but the truth is I already know and have done most of what is here. What I need is help DOING this stuff. I need a salesrep that can acutally go out and SELL. Either that, or I need to get my hands on about $100,000 so I can afford to stand in for the long haul. Right now I can't do it. I need customers now, not in three months. By the way, most of the "little guys" that are in the yellow pages are ONLY in the yellow pages. I know a lot of them, some have offered me jobs, but the truth is they should probably be working for me, at least the ones I would be willing to hire. Others are very happy ploding along making what amounts to a decent living. None of them are as visible in the small business comunitiy as I am. My marketing has been strategic. All the right people ARE seeing it, they're just not doing anything about it and I don't have time to wait "unitl next time." As far as networking goes, I'm a member of the chamber of commerce, one of the biggest in the state. I'm networking all the time. So far all I've gotten for my efforts is sales calls from other members. I think at this point I have to stop focusing on sales and start trying to raise money if I'm going to stay in business. An no, please don't contact me with loan offers unless you've already determined your going to follow through.
                                                    • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                                                      onlinebillb Newbie
                                                      The advertising that you're doing could be sufficient, however you need to have a more interactive website. If you're advertising and adding your website link to your advertisements, and people decide to go to your website, only to see 3 products that they can't order online or view additional information, they might packup and leave and totally forget about your company. If a user is able to come to your site, customize a PC and then add the PC to their virtual shopping cart and order it right then and there, you might have more luck. Having an interactive website will definitely increase your sales and better your advertising efforts.
                                                        • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                                                          Archangel Adventurer
                                                          I've noticed that there is a lot of foucs on my website. People keep giving me advice about it, but the truth is I think it was better when this started. It was better the way I had it before. Also, keep in mind that it is NOT my intention to sell computers on the internet. The website is meant to be nothing more than an online brochure intended to get them to pick up the phone and call me. My target market is small to medium businesses. I'm trying to appeal to the guy that wants a good computer, but also wants to know he got a great deal and can look forward to excellent and timely service and support when he needs it. I know a lot of people out there think they're already getting that, and it may be true, but most likely it isn't, and even if it is you're most likely paying way too much for it. If the product is that good, they should be willing to back it up all the way without charging an extra arm or leg for it.

                                                          Think about your computer supplier. Did they come to your office and sit down with you to make sure you get the best computers possible for YOUR company and YOUR budget? If something does go wrong with one of your computers, how long does it take to get it fixed, and how much of that time is spent just waiting for someone to show up? Even at that, how much extra did it cost you, per computer, to get that level of service and for the length of coverage you got? For most of you the answers are no they didn't, too long and too much, $200-$300. Even if you're not aware of it, those are the answers for most small businesses. The truth is, for most of you, when you bought your computers you got what they needed to sell you, not necessarily what you needed to buy. The bottom line is you probably spent more than you needed to and got less than you should have. What about your old computers? Was your supplier willing to leverage them to offset the cost of the new computers? Maybe, but probably not.

                                                          Let's face it, when your computer goes down you probably come to an instant dead stop. We depend on these things for almost everything these days. They have to work, and when the don't they need to be fixed as soon as possible, if not sooner. This requires a level of responsiveness you will never get from a big beourocratic and out sourced service entity a thousand miles away and has six levels of voice mail to go through before you can talk to someone. No, what is needed is someone who is all over your problem the instant they hear about it. Someone who actually answers the phone themselves, ready to deal with your problem. Wouldn't it be great if the guy that answered the phone when you called also might very well be the guy who built your computer in the first place, and was ready to drop what he was doing and come to your location RIGHT NOW to make sure your problem is taken care of?
                                                            • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                                                              Iwrite Pioneer
                                                              My answer is more about how you are positioning your business and less about your website. The message you convey on your website should be the same message conveyed to clients and potential clients whenever you are communicating with them in any form. You need a brand message that sets you apart in a crowded market. By your own account, they are seeing or getting you message but there is a disconnect between them getting the message and them acting upon it. You have to bridge this gap.

                                                              I think that is what a lot of us are telling you in various ways, your message is not compelling enough to invoke action. I agree with what you are saying but not how you are saying it. I think you have to establish your business as a trusted source for information which translates into quality and professionalism and then sales when the need arises. Telling me you provide great service and products at a great price is no different from what everyone else says, even if it is true, why should I believe you over others? That is the reason I will come to you. Find a way to express that reason better and I think you will be on to something.

                                                              I hope this helps.
                                                              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                              • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                                                                onlinebillb Newbie
                                                                I understand that what you're wanting to do is offer a higher level of satisfaction than other big name brands, but I think your focusing on the wrong details. The main point of any B2C company is to be able to get the product to the consumer the fastest and best possible way, the website is what should be doing the sales (in addition to accepting sales over the phone). Making it easier for the consumer to customize the computer and being able to buy it securely right on the website that made it, that's what most people look for. In the eyes of the young generation talking on the phone is a thing of the past, it's all about emails, instant messages and instant gratification. You want to get your product to the consumer as fast and as easily as possible. Then you can have the best customer support over the phone because that's all you have left to focus on. You pretty much put your company on auto-pilot by offering the ability for a user to purchase a computer right from your website. Then when you receive phone calls for customer service, you can easily look up their order number, etc, making the overall experience for the consumer a great one. I personally would never want to call up a company to purchase a computer, I would much rather go to the store or buy it online.

                                                                PS-a 2yr extended warranty on a new computer is only about $80, which offers full replacement should anything happen (although you aren't supposed to buy the insurance, because nothing ever does happen or very rarely).
                                                            • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                                                              paperworxny Wayfarer
                                                              Hi Archangel,

                                                              I skimmed through a few of these posts and noticed that there are some very good suggestions in here. However, I think that your main focus right now is to market yourself and not so much your business. Since you are not really focused on marketing your website, you need to hit the pavement, sort of speak, with a fresh idea that will make the consumer come to you. There are several small businesses that are always looking for a good deal. You happen to be in a very competitive market. Even so, you can easily get a hold of your local area market. I have a few ideas for you if you are interested in exploring them. It sounds to me like you need a preliminary marketing plan that suits your business needs. You can contact me if you are interested in a free consultation. I strongly believe that you have the right idea but your target is a little off and that is where the monetary damage lies.

                                                              • Re: Where am I going wrong?
                                                                Worldwide Newbie
                                                                Hello sir,

                                                                I understand what you are going through. There is somethings that you can do that might help you in what you are trying to do. First vist our web site, second fill out the form to contact us and our company will help in putting your business on the right track.