ONE CAN ALWAYS LEARN...A long-time account (mfrs. of electrical control equipment) said "let's check the magazine list you're using...many of the inquiries we're getting are not right for us." As we always work for broadest coverage, we thought he meant some of the lesser electrical or trade publications.
IMAGINE OUR SURPRISE...when he added, "that story in BLANK is bringing letters from retailers all over the country for more info on our store-lighting controls." He continued, "we don't sell direct; we're interested only in inquiries from engineers and electrical contractors, who specify or install the units. These user inquiries are too much for us to handle."
EVERYTHING ISN'T OBVIOUS...We explained that by building consumer demand, sales were developed for contractors and wholesalers. Getting the story to the trade was fine, but getting it to the eventual user too was the way to move equipment out of the warehouse, off the shelves.
CHANGE YOUR SYSTEM...was our advice. Don't look to cut down inquiries. Prepare a simple "consumer reply" form, with product information and the name of the nearest distributor. Then too, forward inquiry lists to area dealers. Show them how you back them with result-producing promotion.
DOUBLE MORAL...This little tale bears out the fact that what may be standard procedure for A can be a new concept to B. We think it shows too that good publicity is truly plus-profit publicity.
Eric's note: Today, Dad would be making the same suggestion, but with the response mechanism using the web and perhaps a bit more self service -- lead the prospect to your site and let him find a/more product info and b/the dealer or distributor in his area.