Opportunity knocks everywhere

People often ask me what the sales strategy I adopt within my businesses.

Usually I am quite secretive as I try and think differently to most and find untapped veins and niches that many agencies may overlook yet the industry has high transactional values online.

One thing for sure is that we do not rely on just one strategy and we have different strategies for different sized businesses based on what we are pitching to these brands.

Recently a series of events occurred and I thought it would make a good example of how we think on our feet to generate leads and ultimately, profitable revenue for the agency.


Setting the scene

I am in the process of refurbishing a bathroom at home and around 6 weeks ago I was searching for a specific model of toilet brush and holder (bear with me – it gets better!)

The item in question is discontinued from the range that my wife wants so no longer available from the manufacturer. I am hoping maybe an online retailer has one on their shelf (or display if they are clicks and mortar) and I get lucky so I started the hunt.

I looked where pretty much everyone looks – I Googled it! Make, model and product code in my search for a stockist. And I was quite surprised with what I saw and the opportunity that presented itself to me.

5 online retailers had the product I was looking for in their PLA ads. 5 different companies are prepared to pay for the click to a page that is selling a discontinued item so they must have it in stock, surely?

I bought from one of them. Jackpot! search over! No such luck I am afraid.

2 hours later I get a PayPal refund and an email stating it is discontinued. No attempt to cross-sell me – Or even ask if I need anything else – just a straight refund. They had my money and they gave it back without a fight!

Given that I now do not believe stock levels on the other websites I emailed the 4 other companies to check their stock manually.

1 did not reply (thanks and well done!) and 3 stated that it was out of stock and confirmed the product was discontinued.

Lets get investigating and cast the rod

So 5 companies who know the item is not in stock and discontinued are willing to pay for my click to a page that is selling an item that is out of stock and no chance of coming back. They then made no attempt to convert my money into an additional product – Makes me wonder what else they are paying Google for that is out of stock!

I decided to take 5 minutes to look into the campaign and a snoop around the company – as I am nosey like that!

I checked them out on DueDil, I Peeked the site on LinkRisk to check the email addresses and site stats and looked the directors up on LinkedIn – I don’t want to be wasting my time on companies with no balance sheet or negative growth – We thrive on helping companies on the up soar higher.

So I sent the owner an email commenting on the current site.

  • I recommended a full rebuild of the current website – the existing site was a little bit 10 years ago osCommerce!
  • I mentioned the current social media setup – Directors personal profile on the Facebook brand URL and the Brand facebook page was /brandname1.
  • I also gave a few opinions on the set up of their eBay and Amazon sales pages.

I specifically and repeatedly emphasised the fact that I came to his business via a paid PLA,
I caused internal admin – a cost to his business – and in the end he had to refund me!

I also sent a similar email to the marketing department at the other 4 companies with active PLA’s for the product.

The total time invested in the research and emails – 30 minutes

And then I waited (boomeranged the emails for 7 days to chase if unresponsive)

We have a bitetake-bait

4 days later the owner of the company I purchased from contacted me via social media (obviously checking me out).

The owner and I had an initial consultation over the phone to establish exactly what was happening and where the business was heading and we were agreed on a lot of the points I made so we decided to take the relationship to the next step.

Marketing Signals now manage the paid search and social, organic visibility and in early 2015 will be embarking on a full rebuild with product feeds direct from the manufacturers and up to date stock levels.

Juggling too many plates creates inefficiency

The business owner was overworked and trying to save money by managing the marketing himself. He was costing himself more than he saved by not excelling at what he does. He has extensive plumbing knowledge and a dangerous amount of marketing knowledge! He did not have the time to manage the campaigns and stay on top of the changing search marketing industry.

With the right guidance and his faith in our team, we will transform his business in 2015 (from 6 figures to 7 figures in annual turnover is projected and easily achievable) earning a nice income stream for my own business and far more for the client.

People often forget we are here to make our clients money when they debate over fee levels.

You never know where the next sale will come from

I managed to turn a bad situation good here and generate what should be a reliable and long term income stream for my business by using my initiative and reaching out to a business owner with solid foundations for a successful online business who was either being mismanaged by another agency or running the campaigns with an overstretched inhouse team.

  • Did I get lucky with a 20% strike rate and 100% close rate? – Yes
  • Does this technique work all the time? – Yes and No –
    • You need to know what products are discontinued
    • Not everyone replies – only 1 on 5 responded in this example.
  • Is it a technique I am going to continue to use? – Yes indeedy!

I still haven’t got my toilet brush though!

Gareth Hoyle

Gareth Hoyle

The formula to success comes down to one word. Leadership. The difference between book smarts and leadership is that even the strongest university degree in the world will only teach you the way, but a leader is able to take that knowledge and combine it with instinct and honesty to show the way. I may not always lead my staff and clients in the direction they want, but I always take them where they need to be.

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