Just the other day, a SuperPages sales guy called up for an appointment, though I know it was not much point to advertise in such kind of Yellow Pages business directory, I have time to spare. I may as well entertain the poor sales guy making cold calling since I was in a similar boat doing sales.
When the SuperPages guy showed up, I made it clear from the start that my company wasn’t at all interested in advertising in business directory or any trade journals as it wasn’t relevant to our industry and frankly didn’t work at all. Of course with my cards laid out open the meeting should quickly be over. Being the usual do not take “no” for an answer sales guy he tried to explain the usage of Super Pages and that so many companies have place their contact details in Super Pages for the company’s presence in the business community. Got to give this sales guy A+ for his tenacity, but all his sales efforts are just in vain.
When it comes to marketing and using advertisement for brand awareness or company awareness as well as to scout for business deals and transaction, this form of business directory is not so useful for us. I find most people don’t bother to look up SuperPages, Yellow Pages, or any form of local business directory. In fact the reverse becomes true; the sales people will use the local business directory as a lead generation to sell their products and services instead. That’s what I did in my early years of salesmanship. After all how do you find sales lead in your particular industry or business section? Yep, look through the business directory like Yellow Pages or Super Pages. And I still do trawl through them if I can’t find my sales lead online; then is back to old school of digging through the local business directory.
In the old days where there was no internet, most purchasers will look into the Yellow Pages and SuperPages to look for business suppliers, but not today. The best way now is to use search either via Google, Bing, Yahoo or Ask or any of the smaller aggregate search engines around. How times have changed the way business is being done!
Anyway back to the Super Pages sales guy saying that for just RM600 (US$193) a year you would get a silent sales man that never tires, never sleep and always selling. For that amount to get my company listed in SuperPages, it would be far better to invest that in building a website for my company as a sales man that never tires, never sleep because online, it is always available 24/7/365 and with far more pages and information about your company then you can with just strip of company name and contact number in Super Pages.
The sales man then countered by saying you will also be listed on Super Pages website and if you set up your own website for the company you will also need to hire for SEO services to have your website get prominence in search engines, so signing up with SuperPages is very cost effective. Uh, uh, in most of my searches for companies, never have a search I made turn up a listing in the online version of Super Pages business directory. That meant the SuperPages are not very well SEOd either despite they having a very good Alexa traffic rank. Since I do know some basic SEO, it was more than sufficient to get my company website to get listed at least on the first page for its own brand name and also various other secondary search terms.
Granted there are many companies out there who don’t have techie minded sales person to manage the company website and very likely do not know head or tail about SEO and about generating sales lead using website; all they know is that they must have a very good looking website to project a good image for the company profile. If that is so, my company website should be way far behind because it is so basic looking. But what I did have was just a very simple basic website giving the searchers what they want – relevant information, and thus I was able to get good sales lead generation from my website.
I could say flatly that as many as 99% of marketers whether online or offline do not know where their sales inquiries are coming from because they never measure where the origin of their sales inquiry. This is actually very simple and don’t require any formal statistic number crunching although having one would give you some good idea about your marketing effort; just ask the inquirer where they found you and that’s that! That is usually good for small office home office entrepreneur business set up, and gathering formal data for sales analysis would be more for the larger corporation especially multinational corporation that would like to know how well their marketing campaign ran.
So the SuperPages sales guy retorted that it can’t be that 99% of the people who advertise are so stupid! Which unfortunately it is so to put it blindly. Because most companies as long as they receive inquiries and sales generation lead won’t care where the inquiries come from as long as they have them. Though they don’t know the effectiveness of their marketing efforts, they just know whatever they have been doing is working and getting enough deals closed to bother about analyzing where their sales inquiries are coming from.
Since his income is based on sales commission it must be pretty tough to close deals, but I believe he should have enough to get by. But one thing about this meeting, a sales guy shouldn’t argue with potential client, though you may win the argument, you would lose the sales. Anyway, in the end, due to sympathy I gave some referral contacts to the Super Pages guy for his sales lead generation so hopefully he would have better luck elsewhere as I believe those contacts of mine are still doing things the old school way of using SuperPages, Yellow Pages and local business directory to get their sales inquiries.