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"May I speak to the person in charge of..."

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by jim_p, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. jim_p

    jim_p SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Okay, desperation time again. Too many zero-dollar days in a row, and now the blizzard has closed the shop for the weekend...

    I frequently get sales calls that start "May I speak to the person in charge of..." Should I try doing that to line up corporate work? Pick up the Yellow Pages, ring up every number, and ask for the "person in charge of employee recognition" or the "person in charge of facilities" or the "person in charge of office decor" or somesuch? Does this approach actually work?
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  2. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I don't know, doesn't work when people call me but judging from the mass quantity of calls it must be working on somebody.

    Why don't you ring every number and say "Hello! Is this the person to which I am speaking?"

    And when they say "Yes" then record that, paste it into a call where they agree to receive 100 shinny(sic) frames and send the order COD.
  3. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    In a book I read for a guy who does speaking as his main job... granted it was 20 years ago when he did this.. find the fax numbers and fax people a sheet about your business.

    He said he paid kids to sit in front of 2 fax machines and had them do it all day long for weeks at a time.

    I thought about it, but I don't really have a working fax machine.

    Doesn't hurt to try... but if you get terrible results or death threats, it might be time to try something else... :)
  4. i-FRAMER

    i-FRAMER MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    when i started out 10 years ago, i went around to all the galleries and photographers and introduced myself personally.
    Many just said thanks and took a business card, but when they tired of the current framer for one reason or another i was first on their list.
    I now and have done for many years service all those galleries.

    Build up a relationship with your potential customer. My wife is very good at remembering more personal things with customers.
    It blows me away that after a year of not seeing someone, she will ask how the the mother came through the operation, or wether such and such turned out alright.
    You can see the see the appreciation and connection that these customers have with her, and know that they would never go anywhere else to leave something personal to be framed.

    While cold calling, faxes, letter drops etc can work, they will not work as well as having an actual person to person contact.

    If your quiet, change your opening time to an hour later. then start by walking your street and introducing yourself to your neighboring businesses. Although they might not require your services, they might know someone who does. It is simply networking, and reminding people who you are and making yourself memorable to them.
  5. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I agree. I was just giving him some indoor work to do for the storm :) But that was the first thing to come to mind, is go around and introduce yourself.
  6. Rhonda in MT

    Rhonda in MT MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Instead of asking for the person in charge, get a name. One way is to just ask the person answering the phone. Something like "Could you give me the name of----" Then call back. Another way is to look online. If you do know someone that knows someone use them as a reference. For example, one of your customers works for xyz. You ask them who in xyz would be in charge of corporate art purchases. Then when you call you have a name and you can refer to your customer so right off the bat you have something in common. A sneakier way is to say something to the effect to the receptionist that you just can't remember the name of the person and often they will tell you.. Another good thing is to set up an appointment for coffee. Get them out of the office and pay so they know you are a nice guy. How about your banker? He probably knows lots of business people, set up a coffee with him or her. Same with your insurance agent. Think of people you already know who deal with selling on a regular basis and pick their brains. If you might have a lead for them such as your cousin that needs car insurance, even better.
    School booster clubs are good too. Surely you know someone with a kid in sports.

    This will probably be way out of your comfort zone, but keep at it and you will reap rewards.
  7. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    I strongly encourage you to join LinkedIn if you are not already a member, and start searching by area/profession/industry. You will have names galore. Also, subscribe to the Boston Business Journal/Boston Busienss Times and make an effort to skim through and act on something from each weekly paper. You are in a huge metropolitan area and there is corporate framing out there. A blizzard is a good time to take advantage of down time and work out a corporate strategy. You don't have to be a top notch experienced art consultant to go after corporate framing that you can handle. The client I visited today had 16 framed pieces they needed reframed for a history wall. We get these types of jobs all the time, and they don't just come to us; I have to go out and get them. First I research, then I write, then I send physical literature, than I call. Corporate framing will really help the bottom line if you devote serious time to it.

    I feel for you with this weather! The Bay Area is glorious right now, and this only makes me think of all of you in New England and beyond even more.
  8. Rob Markoff

    Rob Markoff PFG, Picture Framing God


    One of my top outside sales people had great results asking for "the person in charge of your interior environment"- though today with all this Greenwash, it might not be as effective in getting through to the right person.

    Have you polished/considered what you will say when you do reach someone? Do you have the "support" materials at the ready so you can either fax or e-mail them? Is your website "consumer" based or does it also look like you are capable of handling commercial work? Do your business cards say you do corporate work?

    What kind of work are you looking to do? "Picture Framing" might be too generic in your elevator speech. Framing of certificates and diplomas and postings might be a better door opener.

    The "go to" person for most of our accounts today is the "facilities manager". Have you read Barbara's book?

    Like Kirstie, Barbara is a big proponent of networking. It isn't about who you know, it's who knows you. A significant number of leads come to us through a networking group that we belong to. The membership is comprised of other businesses that cater to other businesses- like plantscaping, telecom and copier vendors, office movers, etc.

    A great partner to have for leads is a plantscaping company. Like art, they're are usually the last people on the job and we often refer clients who need plants as they do to people they are working with who need art.
  9. jim_p

    jim_p SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Is it possible and/or advisable to have more than one LinkedIn profile? Right now my current profile is a combination of the framing and my software development career... would this confuse people? Should I separate the two?
  10. jim_p

    jim_p SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hmmm... is it worth hiring an outside sales person then?
  11. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Right. It shows you have made some effort to understand their business. When I get a call asking the generic question, I tell them "He's not in."
    :icon9: Rick

    (Years ago, I once got a sales letter that was addressed to (I kid you not): The Executive In Charge Of Purchasing Dirt and Water Trapping Entryway Floor Mats.)
  12. Goodtwin

    Goodtwin CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Being active in your community works!

    We get the majority of our corporate jobs by being active in the community. I sit on the board of our chamber of commerce, a great source of introductions, as is the rotary club. Barbara is active in Altrusa which has been as strong as any group in town. We participate because we care about our community. But the result is people want to do business with someone who cares!

    We also mention to every single customer at the counter about our large format printing / framing and how versatile this can be for corporate. You would be surprised how often these conversations turn into jobs!

    Rob, I love the idea of networking with a plantscaping company..... I'll reach out to some this week!
  13. Not your average framer

    Not your average framer CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    When you get a call which says "May I speak to the person in charge of...." Can you remember who they were, or what they were selling one week later? I expect that the answer is usually No!

    So what is it that gets you remembered? If you are gonna do something like this, do it with STYLE!

    O.K., how does this sound? You approach the one hundred nearest businesses that are nearest to you and invite them to a local business networking meeting in the front of your shop, one evening just after normal business hours. You provide coffee, tea, a glass of wine, cheese and biscuits and tell them to bring their business cards so they can leave some on a table which you will provide for people to put a pile of their business cards on.

    Make sure that you have a few interesting demonstration pieces on hand to be able to show various people which you get the chance to talk to, while you are making sure that everyone has something to eat and drink.

    If you really want to make an impact, get a printer to produce some yearly wall plan charts with your business name on them and a list of what you can do. In the present business climate, you can probably find a printer who will be pleased to give you a great deal too! Make sure that everyone gets a wall chart!

    What ever else may happen, you will be remembered!
  14. stcstc

    stcstc SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    thats not a business networking meeting!!! thats a sales pitch!!!
  15. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    If you do try cold calling, I think that before you ask anything, it would be wise to identify yourself
    as specifically as possible. "Hi, this is Jim at Baldwin Hill Art & Framing in Natuck...." Then go on to say
    why you're calling and ask your question. This will help you get past the automatic 'no go' response
    that comes from people hounded to death by telemarketers.
  16. John Golden

    John Golden CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Are you involved in the local chamber of commerce? If so, do you participate in one of the referral groups they offer? For me, this has made a tremendous positive impact on my business. My investment is $100 per year for the membership and 9 - 10 hours per month to attend referral meetings and the monthly chamber meeting.
  17. Not your average framer

    Not your average framer CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    That was the general idea!

    Those who want to network can still network with others who also attended and they get some free food and drink, so everyone's happy. The only difference is that they are networking in your shop.

    All you want to do is to get to know some new faces, who might remember you when they need to get some framing done.
  18. freakquency

    freakquency SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    outside sailing

    We have 2 outside Corporate Sales Staff. They bring in quite a bit of business. Commission paid only. So no business no pay. They spend a lot of time making cold calls, in person calls and re-calling on past clients. We have a large corporate business base and it grows every month. So it does work. With the right people.
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