|Your customer information database is GOLD
|Combine in-store program with media for maximum effect
|The telephone is your best tool
|References are as valuable as customers
The 'good ole days'
Gone are the days when we could wait around for customers to come into our
store. Today, we need more creative ways to “find the business”. More
than ever, we find ourselves competing against traditional retailers.
“Mega-Super Stores” sell appliances, electronics, and furniture at close to
wholesale prices. They are extending credit to consumers they may not have
considered in the past. We find ourselves working harder than ever to earn the
business of today’s consumer.
We do, however, have a clear advantage over traditional
Customer’s address and telephone number
Names, addresses and telephone numbers of friends and relatives
from the rental order.
Major retailers have nowhere near this level of detail about
The Total Marketing Plan
The total marketing plan is a two-step process that includes both
traditional media advertising and a store-level solicitation program. While
media advertising is effective when properly planned, it cannot be solely relied
upon to grow your business. Media advertising will, in effect, provide leads,
but a store-level solicitation plan will ensure that the leads receive the
follow-up they deserve.
Developing A Solicitation Program
The key to a good solicitation program is to be consistent with customer
contact and follow-up.
In order to document mailings and telephone contacts, you will
need to create an organized system to track activities. Whether you use a system
of index cards, a legal pad or utilize a computer spreadsheet or database
program, be sure to create a system that makes follow-up easy and consistent.
Sources for Solicitation
Now that we have a plan, the focus shifts to finding customers to solicit.
As discussed earlier, we have several resources at our disposal in the form of a
rental order. The following are a few examples.
Defined as those who have either returned product or have paid-out an
agreement. This is a resource that is easy to approach since they have used our
services in the past.
The references listed on the rental order by a customer are also an
excellent source for solicitation. The references are also easy to approach
because we have something in common with the reference...we both know the
customer who listed them.
An additional source for solicitation would be in-store /
telephone inquiries that do not result in a rental. This is, perhaps, the most
overlooked source for solicitation. Simply ask for the names, address and
telephone number of all in-store / telephone inquiries. Tell them that you send
“special offers” by mail from time to time and you would like to include them in
future mailings. After you have secured this information, add them to your
In closing, I hope that I have generated some interest in the
creation and execution of a total marketing plan that will help you “find the
business”. It has always been my belief that, in the rental purchase
marketplace, it is our responsibility to “find the business” and a store-level
solicitation program is a great place to start. Remember, your total marketing
plan should be a two-step process that includes both traditional media
advertising and a store-level solicitation program. As always, I welcome your
questions and comments. I hope to hear from you soon.
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