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This is the 73rd issue of The Better Mousetrap.
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INTENSIVE: THE KEY ACCOUNT PROGRAM
most effective selling is one on one. Human being to human
being. Direct selling is also the most expensive way to sell,
so folks generally combine it with other methods such as space
advertising, direct mail and PR. Nevertheless, there are times
when direct selling is called for and it is often worthwhile
to consider a specialized subcategory of direct selling—the
key account program.
Here's how a key account program
1. Target the business you'd most like to have.
Ask yourself what potential business is most attractive to
you. Attractive, by the way, means profitable. Be specific.
Identify the companies you want by name. Ask yourself if attaining
these companies or organizations is within your realm of possibility.
2, Develop af key account list and assign responsibility
for each name on the list. Keep each list very short. One
key account target is fine. Three accounts would be the most
any single individual should reasonably be expected to handle
in addition to the other elements of his or her job description.
3. Research the key accounts. The individual responsible
for the Acme Mousetrap Co. must learn everything there is
to know about the company and the key people there. Who makes
the buy decisions? How can that person or committee be reached?
What is the chain of communications to that individual? What
does that person like? Dislike? Where does he/she live? What
is his/her lifestyle? What are the company's present buying
habits? How is he or she presently handling the work you hope
to secure? Is he/she satisfied with the status quo? If not,
why not? If so, what can you offer that would be attractive
enough to woo the subject away from the current situation?
Researchers must be diligent
and their work must be thorough. This isn't the area to cut
corners. When the sales pro contacts the key account, it will
be with every tool in his arsenal.
4. Set time frames for performance. Be sure your
schedule is realistic. Some buy cycles are several years;
this is especially true for large scale capital equipment
or for some service businesses and these times should certainly
be considered. But don't make the mistake of giving up too
soon. Your advances may be rebuffed a number of times before
5. Prepare your mind for the task. Once you take
on a key account, decide, as David Ogilvy advocated, that
the client is already yours. Visualize the account as yours.
Secure. A done dea. And as you work with the client, proceed
as if the deal were already won.
PAINS TO SELECT
OUR CLIENTS. IT IS
TRUE THAT WE
SELECTED A FEW
HAVE NOT YET
SELECTED US, BUT
WE PERSERVERE IN
ON THE LABELLABELLABEL.
late. The guy on TV hawking magic-fingered beds has invited
you to call and is now hysterically reciting the phone number
for the tenth time inside the allocated seconds."All
right already!" you groan in exasperation, eager for
the movie to reappear.
An hour later, if you are suddenly
seized with the desire to buy a bed that folds in the middle
and massages your calves and your shoulders, you'll still
remember the phone number and will be able to place your order
with your eyes closed.
Repetition. It's a powerful
The developers of Sesame Street
thought so too. They frankly credited Madison Avenue for the
learning techniques they applied to the television program
that had preschool children reading by age 3.
"The letter A... A... A."
They slammed it onto the screen like the old Dubonnet commercial.
Repetition—it's how we
learn. And repetition is often what sells product.
The wise business person uses
repetition in every public appearance his or her company makes.
Let's say the company has developed a slogan or tag line.
It is used, naturally, on advertisements, but its reach should
extend to corporate stationary, envelopes, emails, reports
and even voice mail.
Is there a corporate mission
statement? Repeat it. Repeat it so often that every employee
can recite it.
Any established theme or a graphic
should use it consistently. Remember, those who prepared the
advertisement— conceived of it, experienced its prenatal
development and finally midwifed its birth—grow wearily
of seeing the thing even before it gets into print. Give your
market a chance to get sick of our message.
The hawkers of message beds
and used cars don't care whether you are sick of their message
or not. They just want you to to remember their name and phone
number or email address when you are ready to buy.
And by the way, do you remember
the campaign for canned food that The Libby Company launched
several decades ago? It made the company the Sesame Street
of canned peas. And the repetitious labels are still on the
shelves. And Libby is banking the bucks.
If it says LibbyLibbyLibby on
the Labellabellabel, it means go0odness-goodnessgoodness on
And Other Linguistic Mysteries.
What's a bellum? Well the dictionary won't help you
but maybe these contextual hints will: "an antebellum
mansion," "the postbellum era."
Ah. Then a bellum must
be the thing that comes between ante and post; and one
can deduce that bellum must mean war—specifically
the American Civil War (or as they say down south, the
War Between the States). But on its own, bellum doesn't
seem to be a word.
How can there be an ante
or a post something when there is no something?
Then there's antipasto.
Technically, it is a dish of olives, meats and cheeses
that precedes the food (pasto) course. Note that this
prefix (unlike the prefix in antebellum) is spelled
with an "i" not an "e." To our way
of thinking this would make it "against" the
pasto course, not before it, but no, The American
Heritage Dictionary swears it means before, even
though three pages earlier the experts defined antecedent
(note the "e") as one that goes before or
Antemeridian is another
conundrum. To learn about this word see the next section
"What Time is 12am?"
TIME IS 12am?.
Another Linguistic Mystery.
continue to receive
invitations for events starting at 12.00 AM. Funny.. since
there is no such time.
That's playing fast and loose
with the antemeridiem (am) and postmeridiem (pm) terms.
By definition "am"
stands for "ante meridiem," meaning
"before noon." and "pm" stands for "post
meridiem," or "after noon. (not "afternoon,"
which is from 12.01pm to 5 or 6pm.). "pm" lasts
to and includes midnight, which is 12.00pm. As noon is neither
before noon nor after noon, it is designated "m"
So where do you
stand on the subject of anti and post? Are you for it or agin
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goal is a dream with a deadline."
is not outside, it is within."
the tide goes out, you can see who has been swimming
and wrong beats weak and right every time."
a better mouse-trap and the world will beat a path to your
Ralph Waldo Emerson
can build it but they don't have to come. Let your
market know the product is there.
BETTER MOUSE- TRAP helps you do it. To do it even better
call The Cheshire Group at
978 475-1478 or visit us at: