New beginnings….

Normally anyone would expect to see a plethera of yao yao which would basically say nothing. I will do my best to be sure that when something is posted that it has some kind of substance that anyone can use.

This beginning is a start of a new company venture. The partners involved asked me to come aboard to help with strategies and ideas to help with a new version of Appointment setting for Financial planners and Insurance agents with series 6 licenses. This in itself is a great opportunity, so why did they need me?

Well, apparently when the idea came about there was a pre-test done to see what the response would be to marketing this kind of service seeing that there was already a few out there doing it. Unfortunately as a lot of online deals go, there are a few companies not doing business honestly. So, credibility had become an issue. Of course those things can be easily remedied, but what about fulfillment? What do the customers actually get? Where is there value perceived or realized? what will be the companies Return on Customer? short term and long term?

Coming from a mixed background of Marketing and Operations(what a conflict of interest wouldn’t you say?) I now had the opportunity to address true marketing strategies after setting down an actual footprint for the operations and cost analysis, and what funds would need to be appropriated to ensure a sufficient budget would be in place to cover unforeseen costs of marketing and acquisition. (which there were many)

When all was said and done, actual profit of the “test” run came out just under even. (actually they lost a bit of profit on the first deal)

After sitting with the partners and explaining what the challenges were, one partner decided it was not a profitable idea to continue pursuing this venture and returned to a former client contract to continue producing revenue for the company. I had suggested against this but was not really allowed to explain what remedies they had that would turn this seemingly unprofitable venture into one that could become a self running branch of their company.

Speaking further with the second partner revealed, that it was always an intention to research further before running the test. They wanted to see if there was any feasibility in pursuing this venture as it was already making a different similar size company quite a healthy profit. They were doing so well with fulfillment there was no reason to think it was not a good venture to pursue.

I looked a bit further into what the company was doing with the second partner and found out that the fee structure was a bit different and that if costs were to be controlled more, that this company would have to restructure its fee schedule to cover initial costs. Then a fee for residual income and actual long term profit would be needed.

Return on Customer was being reviewed now and seeing that a long term commitment to a per schedule appointment for continual revenue generation allowed for greater returns on existing clientèle.

Once the partners began to see the actual response rates of the first test run, it became clear that this was still a viable venture to continue with, which allowed for new suggestions on how to attract new business through both conventional and Innovative methods in marketing. This now includes online optimization of their website and future PPC advertising, along with networking referrals which started to come in even before appointments were being set for the first test run client. This was a large indicator that because pricing had been set higher than normal and even though process and unforseen procedures and licensing issues arose, that honesty and integrity held the test client in place and kept them confident that we could produce what was guaranteed.

Closing ratio is up to the agent or planner of course, but as far as client acquisition and appointment setting goes, the process now has an actual path, and the marketing methods that are now in place are already producing a flow that is both manageable and profitable.

Statistically, increases should be noted within the next month or two, to a point that outward conventional marketing methods may not be needed, and only online optimization may need to be employed. Even with a conventional 33% fallout rate, with a base of 300-400 clients per salesman and two appointment setters per agent, profit margins for the company should still hit anywhere between 25%-45% depending on operational costs.

SO, what does this have to do with anything? I value professional opinions. It’s how I learned a lot about marketing and operations outside of school…I like hearing real world experience talking rather than theory. I’d like anyone’s opinion on how they think this pans out for the partnership. I’ve left a lot of details out so that everyone else can throw down and give their professional opinion. I value perspective, and honesty. Have at it!

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6 comments so far

  1. John on

    There’s nothing like real world experience…can’t learn that in any book.

  2. John Cavanaugh on

    I am interested in any program that takes the process of prospecting and streamlines it into someone doing the work, so I can focus on what I do well. I have used several appointment setting services and found a great gulf between what is promised on the front side and what actually comes to fruition.

    Lets talk about this…I am interested to hear.
    John C.

  3. Julie Eck on

    mmm. another very interesting blog. You do find in life some things that just can’t be learned from a book, like the first commentor said. This is SOOO true…Thanks Julie

  4. Miles Austin on

    Michael, Great job on the progress and approach you used. It is always more interesting when you have multiple decision makers in the loop for a project like this. Couple of questions:
    1) Are you able to figure out which one of the partners will make the ultimate decision, or at least which one is the most dominant/persuasive?
    2) Do you know what the history/relationship of the competitor is that is doing the first trial?

    I would recommend that you document every step of your process, and capture results during your trial. Your background in Operations will serve you well in this area. One of the toughest challenges is to take a successful trial and scale it to a full blown, company-wide process. With thorough documentation and roadmap, you should be able to win the day.

    As far as other innovative tools and techniques, Feel free to use the any ideas that might help from my blog at http://www.fillthefunnel.com

    By the way, one of your activities in creative marketing already paid off…you and I are connected on LinkedIn and I received a notification that your profile had been updated. This stuff really does work. Please let us all know how it all turns out.

  5. Jacob Paulsen on

    Thanks for the insights

  6. Hi there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with? I’m looking
    to start my own blog soon but I’m having a tough time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking
    for something unique. P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!


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