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General Chat Thread, Advice please: Ok so I want to sell something.. in General; ... Yes that's right, I can hear the screams of " hang up, hang up now, before it's too late ...
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    contink's Avatar
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    Advice please: Ok so I want to sell something..

    ... Yes that's right, I can hear the screams of "hang up, hang up now, before it's too late"... But ha! I'm not on the phone... you could always hit back quickly I suppose.

    But no.. it's ok this isn't the pitch, it's more a request for a "best approach" as I have a product that's taken... ack, years now to produce.. I know it can save schools money, I know it works, and I know it'll be easy to install..

    ... BUT.. I also know that sales calls, flyers, etc... are all the bane of any headteacher or IT techs life with persistent sales teams trying to sell you their first born if they think you'll buy.


    The question is simple... How the heck do I get past all that and make some kind of headway?


    At the moment my ideas are pretty simple.

    Try it and See
    This means starting with local schools and providing a demo kit to prove that it works. Once the trial is over I do a cost/benefit analyses based on the actual usage over the demo period with all the figures laid out and easy to understand.

    Referrals
    This is obviously a no brainer but getting my existing schools to get put the word out is going to be a lot more effective.


    I won't say what the product is although it's inkjet printer related and I'm sure a couple of you may have a rough idea. Anyway, comments and ideas appreciated...

    *sits back to await the flood of "I hate sales people" replies *

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    tech_guy's Avatar
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    Go on Dragon's Den - why limit your market to schools?

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    contink (20th March 2008)

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    Jona's Avatar
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    Setup a decent professional looking website with lots of information

    Lots of payment methods - Schools are very diverse in how they can pay so take cards, purchase orders, etc, etc

    Go to BETT? (fairly major investment)

    Cheers
    Jona
    Last edited by Jona; 20th March 2008 at 12:12 PM. Reason: to make relevent to non-software product

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    contink (20th March 2008)

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    Quote Originally Posted by tech_guy View Post
    Go on Dragon's Den - why limit your market to schools?
    I think as much as anything because the product itself is already out there in one form or another... So it's nothing new.

    As to why school though:
    1. I'd like to start smaller and limit the market and growth a bit
    2. I don't want this to become my only job (I really like working in schools)
    3. Schools tend to be a lot more budget orientated and fit the profile for those most likely to benefit from the system.

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    You're talking about continous ink systems, right?

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    contink's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tech_guy View Post
    You're talking about continous ink systems, right?
    Yeah... (trying not to break any advertising rules though) A specific system for a specific brand and group of printers.

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    I guessed from your name!

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    contink's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tech_guy View Post
    I guessed from your name!
    You mean it had nothing to do with my propensity to jump into almost any printer related thread and talk shop?

    Perhaps I'm not as bad as I thought

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    We find that BETT is genius for us, but it is expensive

    Try talking to education resellers perhaps?

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    contink (20th March 2008)

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    Most important thing for me is "HOW MUCH"

    My real pet hate is people who call me, wanting to sell me but can't or won't tell me how much it costs for whatever it is they're trying to sell.

    I don't generally shop at the kind of place that doesn't display price tickets and I absolutely believe that if you won't tell me how much it costs then (a) it's a rip off and (b) I can't afford it!

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    contink (20th March 2008)

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    Quote Originally Posted by srochford View Post
    Most important thing for me is "HOW MUCH"

    My real pet hate is people who call me, wanting to sell me but can't or won't tell me how much it costs for whatever it is they're trying to sell.

    I don't generally shop at the kind of place that doesn't display price tickets and I absolutely believe that if you won't tell me how much it costs then (a) it's a rip off and (b) I can't afford it!
    Hmm... good point.. In that respect I'll know exactly how much for everything from the initial kits to the ink although it's going to be dependant in part on exchange rates on the ink side of things.


    Just as a note of thanks to all for the tips folks.. They are much appreciated.. According to my fiancée it's now my job to make us a million by next month.. I think we'll need to work on the budget a liddle

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    Quote Originally Posted by contink View Post
    How the heck do I get past all that and make some kind of headway?
    Would an advert in the TES be appropriate? The "Dragons Den" / venture capital idea might be worth considering - if you can convince a VC that you have a saleable product they might come up with the cash for initial advertising.

    If you're selling something that helps with printing... maybe mail-shot a free printing sample to schools in a given area? Maybe make a poster or similar that schools will find useful, preferably one that will find its way to the people who would be buying printers (the IT department, or maybe the art department - poster on Internet safety? Fine art print?) and include a cover-note saying how they too could print as many similar items as they wished for the low, low price of <insert sum here>.

    I'm not sure how much mail-shot data costs these days - you'll have to pay for a list of all the schools in the country, by region. Or write a script that nicked the data from yell.com, of course...

    --
    David Hicks

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    contink (20th March 2008)

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    Hmm... venture capital is something I'm a little wary of mainly because I know someone in VC and they were quite open and honest about the numbers. I think he used the words "They do all the work, I reap the rewards" and he knew what he was talking about.

    I'd guess a visit to my business banking advisor and possibly my folks re: seed money might not be a bad idea... but I'm getting ahead of myself here..


    The key thing is to get peoples attention and not lose their interest in the first 5 seconds when they hear the "same old" patter.


    Perhaps if I explain the concept a little better that might help hone down the suggestions a little better.


    Product:
    - A way to increase the capacity of an HP Officejet printer (K550 - K8600 and the L7000 series of MFD) by upwards of 800-4000%.

    Benefits:
    Main: you pay for ink, not plastic cartridges so it's a LOT cheaper.
    Fringe: less maintenance, environmentally friendlier, printers get exercised so less clogging, etc..


    Now, as far as I know the issue of printer ink, remanufactured cartridges, toner, etc... is already replete with people trying to sell, sell, sell, SELL.. "DAMN YOU! BUY MY STUFF!" type sales people so sticking my head up in amongst all of that is a teensy bit fraught and I'm unlikely to get beyond the "Oh *****ation, another one!" and it's in the bin..




    All in all, I think I'm getting the picture that really I have a couple of options:
    - Plan bigger and find some investment capital to advertise big (TES, BETT, etc..) and then play the numbers game
    - Plan smaller, approach carefully using the tried and tested techniques with a decent website, word of mouth, flyers


    @dhicks.. Just revisited this and you've got me thinking now..
    The idea of producing examples of school printing and including the "normal RRP" type cost (if you were using normal cartridges, etc.) and the "you could be printing for... 0.00Xp with us" is a good way to start.. Hmm, actually that could be a real winner... Hmm.. brain starting to tick over some more.

    I think now that I've an idea of the actual costs for advertising on here I may opt to start small, advertise on here and then allow the market of born cynics (that would be the EG membership ) rip it apart or give a nod of approval..

    Plenty of food for thought..
    Last edited by contink; 20th March 2008 at 06:58 PM.

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    A good idea/product always sells itself. The hardest part is always getting started. The oxygen of any idea/product is publicity and if you can get that for free then you're off with a head start.

    A couple of friends of mine are trying to get on Dragon's Den. Not because they want the stupid schmucks on the show to invest in their idea, but for the free publicity it will bring them and their product. They've no intention of taking the investors money.

    Sell yourself. Tell your local tv stations how marvelous you are - 'genius whizkid inventor' etc. They love that sort of story. Talk your product up. Push it at every possible opportunity.

    Best of luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by contink View Post
    The idea of producing examples of school printing and including the "normal RRP" type cost (if you were using normal cartridges, etc.) and the "you could be printing for... 0.00Xp with us" is a good way to start..
    I'd go for the type of poster that can be put up in a teacher's classroom - teachers are always looking for display material that brightens the place up a bit. Check the national curriculum and produce something that fits in with a scheme of work - if you have enough cheek, even produce a lesson plan and materials. GCSE ICT still has a bit in which says "know the difference between different types of printer, laser and inket, and the advantages and disadvantages of each".

    --
    David Hicks

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