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I'm considering new strategies to recruit clients for my Network services and IT consulting business. I've made a list of target businesses in my, relatively small, market and I had planned to send post cards out. But after receiving a cold cal from a local marketing firm the other day it got me thinking about that as a viable strategy, there are roughly 100 businesses on my list so calls would be viable if spread out over a week or two.

Does anybody have feedback on these two marketing strategies, or an alternative method that might work as well?

  • Would potential clients consider Cold-Calling too pushy?
  • Are post cards even noticed in a professional environment, or will they just be thrown away.
  • Should I give the information directly to the receptionist who handles the call, or ask to speak to somebody with decision making authority?
  • Do businesses consider one/both of these methods to be tacky or obtrusive?
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Last Post by sknake
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I would do both. Send out the postcards and then a few days after they have been mailed give the companies you mailed the cards to a call. They may have taken the time to read your postcard in the last few days and will recognize the name and are significantly more likely to talk to you.

Postcards are noticed in a professional environment. My company just finished a campaign that resulted in leads/traffic (i'm not sure on the stats, not my department). Postcards are far better than mailing out a 15 page packet with all the services you offer. Typically people want to send out a nice informational brochure which are expensive to print and usually thrown away unopened.

I would not talk to the receptionist per se but try to get the name of who you want to speak to. You call the first time and want "The person in charge of _____" and they know its a sales call. They will tell you that person is not available and then ask for their name. Next time you call (you should follow up and keep notes) you will be asking for them by name and will be more likely to get in touch with them.

>>Do businesses consider one/both of these methods to be tacky or obtrusive?
Its sales. Everything about sales is ... well ... think about a used car salesman :)

Post back with your results from your campaign and maybe we can share more information. I will have to talk to the guys here to see what the results of each campaign were.

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Another tactic you may consider for "warm leads" is reviewing your web logs if you have a site. If someone lands on your page from a search engine you know a few things:
1) The terms they searched for
2) That they are interested in those terms
3) The IP of the visitor which can usually be traced back if it is a company. The IP Range is sometimes registered with ARIN.

For example when I am at work (Apex Software) my public IP address is "72.16.178.114". A quick reverse DNS lookup on the IP:

sk@sk:~$ host 72.16.178.114
114.178.16.72.in-addr.arpa domain name pointer apexsoftware.com.

Another method for IP addresses that do not reverse but are part of a corporate network. Lets take another example

sk@sk:~$ host www.google.com
www.google.com is an alias for www.l.google.com.
www.l.google.com has address 74.125.65.104
www.l.google.com has address 74.125.65.99
www.l.google.com has address 74.125.65.103
www.l.google.com has address 74.125.65.147
www.l.google.com has address 74.125.65.105
www.l.google.com has address 74.125.65.106

Google is big so I know they probably own the whole block so i'll make up a random IP close to the highlighted red one:

sk@sk:~$ host 74.125.65.199
Host 199.65.125.74.in-addr.arpa not found: 3(NXDOMAIN)

So lets say you get traffic from "74.125.65.199" and it doesn't reverse and you want to know who it was. We could then check the reverse DNS delegations:

sk@sk:~$ dig -x 74.125.65.199 +trace

; <<>> DiG 9.4.0 <<>> -x 74.125.65.199 +trace
;; global options:  printcmd
.                       398147  IN      NS      L.ROOT-SERVERS.NET.
.                       398147  IN      NS      G.ROOT-SERVERS.NET.
.                       398147  IN      NS      C.ROOT-SERVERS.NET.
.                       398147  IN      NS      K.ROOT-SERVERS.NET.
.                       398147  IN      NS      A.ROOT-SERVERS.NET.
.                       398147  IN      NS      J.ROOT-SERVERS.NET.
.                       398147  IN      NS      H.ROOT-SERVERS.NET.
.                       398147  IN      NS      E.ROOT-SERVERS.NET.
.                       398147  IN      NS      F.ROOT-SERVERS.NET.
.                       398147  IN      NS      D.ROOT-SERVERS.NET.
.                       398147  IN      NS      B.ROOT-SERVERS.NET.
.                       398147  IN      NS      M.ROOT-SERVERS.NET.
.                       398147  IN      NS      I.ROOT-SERVERS.NET.
;; Received 404 bytes from 72.16.178.119#53(72.16.178.119) in 4 ms

74.in-addr.arpa.        86400   IN      NS      x.arin.net.
74.in-addr.arpa.        86400   IN      NS      y.arin.net.
74.in-addr.arpa.        86400   IN      NS      z.arin.net.
74.in-addr.arpa.        86400   IN      NS      chia.arin.net.
74.in-addr.arpa.        86400   IN      NS      dill.arin.net.
74.in-addr.arpa.        86400   IN      NS      basil.arin.net.
74.in-addr.arpa.        86400   IN      NS      henna.arin.net.
74.in-addr.arpa.        86400   IN      NS      indigo.arin.net.
;; Received 199 bytes from 2001:7fd::1#53(K.ROOT-SERVERS.NET) in 95 ms

125.74.in-addr.arpa.    86400   IN      NS      NS4.GOOGLE.COM.
125.74.in-addr.arpa.    86400   IN      NS      NS2.GOOGLE.COM.
125.74.in-addr.arpa.    86400   IN      NS      NS3.GOOGLE.COM.
125.74.in-addr.arpa.    86400   IN      NS      NS1.GOOGLE.COM.
;; Received 126 bytes from 192.5.6.32#53(chia.arin.net) in 40 ms

125.74.in-addr.arpa.    60      IN      SOA     ns1.google.com. dns-admin.google.com. 1389721 21600 3600 1209600 10800
;; Received 104 bytes from 216.239.32.10#53(NS1.GOOGLE.COM) in 7 ms

(SOA is section of authority. They are the responsible entity)

So you can still tell who visited your site. Once you have the domain of the visitor or the ARIN ip block you can find information. For the domain you can visit their site or do a whois on the domain and get the contact information.

BE WARNED this can sometimes be considered creepy however companies do it. I do a lot of the internet marketing for my company and I receive calls sometimes from sites I visited but never actually put in a contact request for. This sounds like a lot of work but there are software packages that automate this task for you. It is up to you to decide whether or not you should do this.

A funny story...
Once I received a hit from a car dealership that was searching for "custom camera control software" and I work on software for an overhead thermal imaging camera. I was like "hey, this is a great fit! i'll give them a call".

I usually never call off web leads unless they submit a contact or it is a great potential lead... and I thought this was. So I called and wanted the person in charge of IT who was "on lunch" so I asked for their name and it was provided to me. I called back an hour or so later and got in charge with the person I was looking for. I told them I received a contact request for software to control a camera. They responded something along the lines "ah, I know who you are looking for. Let me get them .. it will be a minute" so I hung out on hold. A few minutes later somebody picked up the phone and was very polite at first.

I told him the subject of the call and he said "thats funny because I never provided my information and it is very odd that you are calling me at work. Its almost creepy." I just told him that the lead was in my CRM system so I was calling it .. which was true. He went on to tell me that he was getting in "very big trouble" for taking a personal call at work and he was not very happy with me. He wanted the number for my office so when he got home he could give me a call back and "really talk to me". From his tone and whispered use of profanity I could tell that he wanted to cuss me out.

Bottom line is the guy was a mechanic or in the service department and using a company computer to look up something about a camera for his house. I ended up contacting him which got him in trouble with his management and he was pissed. I'm not sure if it was for receiving the call .. or that he was "caught" looking up stuff on the computer.

As far as the cold calls you are protected by law provided you do not call them back after being asked not to. You can call the company once and if they say they are not interested then you should not call them back. Guys like the one I mentioned above was threatening me with the BBB and other business organizations however nothing became of it. I wouldn't worry.

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