1272, RE: Some geneal marketing questions...|
Posted by MidAtlantic, Wed Nov-19-08 06:28 PM
It sounds like you have established your target market as being that of the local police departments within your area. Great work!
What I suggest doing first is research. Just because you think you can out price someone doesnt mean these departments are going to purchase something from you. Price is not everything.
You must first understand the urgent needs of your target market. This is simply done by finding out who does the ordering within these departments (generally its the training officer or chief of police).
Ask them if they would be willing to complete a survey form for you (you would develop this). This is a good resource tool because in your survey you can ask what products they use, what products they need, why they use the vendors they do, any problems they have had with their vendors etc. These answers will help you establish a marketing niche to gain these departments and offer things that your competitors do not. It will also help you to develop brochures, website, business cards etc.
Remember, in order for you to gain new clients you must offer extraordinary value with your products and service so they feel that the return they receive on their investment (in you and your products)is greater than the investment they made. In addition to this, they must see you as a category authority (expert in the field). You being a police officer assists with this as you have experience in the field and with using the equipment you are selling. Also there is the "likeability" factor. They have to like working with you and see that you offer them value.
In your three years of work, you have been to numerous trainings and seminars etc where you have had to network with other professionals in your field.
Use these contacts as a marketing start to get names, departments etc (again reseach). You will be surprised by how well you can promote yourself and get "warm" leads by doing this. Talk with family, neighbors, local business owners. See if they know of someone who needs your service or products. Referrals are an awesome way to increase our prospect list.
Cold Calling is another option and can be done over the phone or in person. In person is much more difficult because you are dropping in "unannounced". Think back...did your chief of police or training officer ever talk about sales with someone on the spot, let alone a person making a complaint about a ticket, arrest or court date etc? Probably not.
After you have made contact with your target departments, make an appointment to sit and discuss what benefits you can offer them and how you can partner. Bring business cards, and a brochure. You can develop a partial brochure and make your website more defined to include all your products. Make sure your business card has your website and refer your potential clients to that site often.
For inventory tracking purposes, I recommend if you are dealing with departments and not individuals, I would invoice net 30 days. Usually they have to put in a purchase order and can provide you with that. Think about what kind of return policy you might have, or trial offer you can extend. If you are dealing with individuals, a partial deposit should be taken and balance due upon receipt of delivery.
Regarding pricing. Again research. Get as many of your competitors prices on the products you are going to offer. Find the median price (make sure you include any expense you will incur)and this should help you establish a baseline guide.
I also recommend getting a Dunn & Bradstreet number, cage code,and business registration license. This way you can estabilsh yourself as a reputable vendor and increase your business to other areas like the DOD, Local government etc. Having the ability to respond to RFP's, RFQ's etc will also increase your customer base.
Sorry for the length of the response. Hope this helps. Good Luck. If I can be of further assistance just let me know.