Working as an independent or with an agency? I would think an agency is much like a distributor. Risk reduced margin and profit but with the upside of increasing bandwidth to penetrate other market segments to grow the number of opportunities in the sales funnel.
Even if an indy does not like the hassles of screening, we can just hire an assistant who gets a small fee, vs. paying an agency half. The advantage of agencies is that the good ones are always busy, but it is a different type of busy.
I ran an agency before I was ever a provider myself, and I can tell you the calls were always last minute, no refs, outcall to downtown hotels, drunk guys, etc. Being an indy, allows us to pre-book only and work when we want...agency expects you to work FOR them, or you become more of a liability.
It is also a different type of client...late night, drunken calls do not appeal to me, and I am incall only.
Also, I don't want my life in the hands of someone else...I screen a certain way, and won't deviate from that method.
-- Modified on 6/13/2012 1:04:55 PM
So how do you manage the sales process from lead generation to let's say closing the deal?
the most successful providers, based anecdotally on rates, number of reviews and reputation seem to be using techniques straight out of the school of inbound marketing.
If a guy contacts me through an ad site vs. my website, I send him the link and say nothing more. If he does not include refs or some indication he has information to give me, I don't reply at all. You just have to weed through the bs, and put your time into those who actually are serious. I also stopped listing a phone number on the net for that very reason...too many jokers who want to shoot the shit and have no money.
I can usually tell in one or two emails if a guy is serious, so I don't waste much time. I don't try and convince a guy to see me or give me his info. nor do I try and pull screening out of them. If they are not comfortable, I move on. If I have to sit there and explain why I need the info. and how discreet I am, he did not do his homework or he would know that already.
If I see acronyms in the very first email, deleted. I don't have the time to say, "close the deal" if it takes me hours on end to convince the guy I am safe. I don't treat providing as I would a normal marketing sales pitch. They know where to find me, what I require, and that's a rap. Wanna see me? Follow instructions that are so clearly outlined a monkey could do it.
I had a guy email me last night about midnight asking if I would do outcall to a downtown hotel...um, I am on the lake which is a 30 min. drive. My website CLEARLY states on both the home and contact page that I "Require 24-48 hours notice for all local appts." which he should have read. I was not rude, I just simply said, "Please go back and read my website, as I think you have the wrong girl." He then proceeded to tell me I could google him..funny, I can google Obama too but that does not prove Obama is the one giving me his information.
It's a pain in the ass at times, but I still think it beats working for someone else.
-- Modified on 6/13/2012 1:45:22 PM
Do you use an SAP based CRM or something more like Goldmine?
If you want to talk regular business marketing and programs, why not do it under business services? I don't need a detailed spread sheet either to let me know which city I make the most money in...it is not that hard to remember lol. As for how I manage my customers...I don't. They see me when they feel the urge, and when I am available. I don't have any genius marketing scheme to feed you, because really there is none for me. From what I have been told, I should not be posting as I do because it is counter productive...but, I am not starving lol.
I don't have a budget per se like most do, because I don't make the same amount of money each month. It does not take a genius to figure out they need x amount of money to set aside for bills, then they can invest or spend the rest.
I know some women do in fact treat this business as they would any other professional job, but I don't. It is simply not that complicated for me and I don't need to invest much time into it. You would be better off directing this to providers who spend a lot of time using accounting software and real world marketing tactics that focus on wide sales vs. one on one encounters, because quite frankly I don't.
Your version of Goldmine is our idea of a mailing list...I don't have that either.
-- Modified on 6/13/2012 2:48:34 PM
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-- Modified on 6/13/2012 5:56:45 PM
on the "good" side, you won't pass your buddy in the hall on his way to me just after you. I can also extend time if you request it, and I don't see 5-10 people in a day. But you do have to plan ahead for me.
...but you kind of sound like a dork.
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