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Barrel Fishing: Homework, Persistence, Feedback Solicitation Will Pay Off With Sales Results

Doing your homework, finding the right ad campaign and getting feedback from customers all adds up to so much success that landing qualified clients will be like shooting fish in a barrel.

Or, rather, it will constitute barrel fishing, a phrase coined by Dan Baldwin to mean filling the sales pipeline only with eligible prospects and catching customers from that population. Baldwin, senior agent sales director with TMC Communications, will lead todays session, Barrel Fishing How to Catch Sales on Any Budget, alongside Robert Patlan, whom Baldwin says is using the barrel fishing theory to snag clients all along the Southern California coast. Patlan serves as western manager of sales and agent management for National ComNet Services Inc. (NCS), a Verizon Platinum Solutions Agent.

While Baldwin himself points out the theory of barrel fishing is nothing new, it is relevant because everything old needs to be re-learned. The reason people keep going to trade shows is to keep hearing old axioms with a new spin, to be re-reminded that the old axioms are still correct, he says. To that end, Baldwin will illustrate how barrel fishing will net followers more clients than perhaps they bargained for.

For starters, Baldwin will show channel partners how to buy inexpensive lists of businesses that could become customers. Partners then define their desired criteria (Do you want clients to have more than 10 lines and 20 employees in multiple locations? Done, the list is narrowed.). The next step is to develop the appropriate marketing campaign, which might take some trial and error, Baldwin notes. He will show partners how to conduct inexpensive direct mail and telemarketing campaigns. Finally, partners will use the information theyve gathered to pitch potential customers until they take the bait. Youre going to wear them down, Baldwin says. Contracts come up for renewal and providers go out of business, so there will always be new clients, he says.

Patlan is finding sizeable success using Baldwins approach. He plans to tell attendees about one shining example of barrel fishing. After implementing Baldwins ideas, Patlan found a company called Village Properties in Montecito, Calif., that was paying for 50 individual phone lines. Patlan put all those lines onto a single T1, which saved the client a lot of money. Even better, the local phone provider considered the transaction a new sale, and Patlan made a chunk of dough on the deal. It netted about $4,000 or $5,000, he says.

Barrel fishing is going for the easiest type of lead or customer opportunity, Patlan says, and it works.

Indeed, the overall idea, Baldwin says, is to put catchable fish in the barrel and then try to catch something.


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