Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic July 29, 2002

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:01 AM): Uhhh....Gee, Grandma! What a big GROUP you have! (Where IS everybody????)

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:01 AM): Hi Rob

John Charlesworth ( Professional Web Tracking) (7/29/2002 9:02 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:02 AM): Well, it's early and also, it's end of July, when everything slows down. I've been doing these for a few years now and there's almost always a few people who end up here

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:02 AM): Personally, I even got FrankelTips out late today, owning to the previous night's's summer.

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:03 AM): Rob - I've started marketing Allen Weber's C-splash product here in NYC ( What's a good way to reach and attract delivery route drivers?

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:04 AM): Delivery route drivers delivering what kind of product?

jeffrey schlesinger ( (7/29/2002 9:04 AM): Entered the room.

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:05 AM): Either snack foods/beverages or vitamins/health foods.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:06 AM): There are two ways you can do that Yosef: 1. underground 2. Through channels

Pat Hardy ( (7/29/2002 9:06 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:06 AM): The first thing to realize is that delivery is delivery. You want to look at to whom they deliver, not what they deliver. The more like your product they normally deliver, the less chance they'll deliver your stuff, because it competes for their dollars.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:07 AM): Going through channels (their headquarters) will also take time and red tape.

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:07 AM): unless I'm offering MORE dollars for the same space. Of course, in that case, I'm liable to get knocked out by someone offering even MORE margin.

jeffrey schlesinger ( (7/29/2002 9:08 AM): Yosef why not through the larger vitamin distributors?

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:08 AM): I'd suggest finding the delivery guys you want (water, for example) and contacting them directly to ask them their "policy" of distributing bottle hangers or just coupons on their routes.

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:09 AM): Jeffrey, how do I find them?

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:09 AM): Delivery people are notorious for walking the line -- they get paid hourly (not UPS or FEDEX, I'm talking about water guys, messengers, etc) so they're always looking for ways to make more money

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:10 AM): Rob - but do they have the authority to take on new stuff?

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:10 AM): No, they don't. But we're talking real life in NYC, where everyone is looking for an edge. If a messenger can make a few bucks on the side for not going out of his way, he'll probably do it

jeffrey schlesinger ( (7/29/2002 9:11 AM): There are large multi-line vitamin distributors I have seen their catalogs. Try health food stores and ask for a good distributor

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:11 AM): What he CAN'T and WON'T do is put your message alongside his company's. But he probably will drop your flyer on the desk as he leaves....

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:11 AM): And if it works for him, he'll tell his friends.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:12 AM): Try talking to ANY UPS or FEDEX or bike messenger and see: 9 times out of 10, they have at least one other side business going on.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:13 AM): If you try going through channels, you'll get a flat NO. On the other hand, there are other ways to skin this cat.

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:13 AM): it sounds like you think I want to just create awareness by distributing flyers. I'm actually aiming to get the product in stores...

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:14 AM): Depending on how much money you have, bill stuffers are a great way to go.

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:14 AM): once we enter THAT arena, it's kinda tough for a delivery guy to put non-company product on his truck without risking his job.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:14 AM): You're going for retail distribution? Oh, for retail, you can't go through delivery routes. You have to go through the retailers to get on their shelves.

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:15 AM): Does that mean going store-to-store?

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:15 AM): And even if you do a good business BEFORE you get to retail, it's still a very rough trail. Retail is very hard, because even after they screw down your margins, it takes forever to get paid, plus you have to deal with stock balancing, returns, etc. And they use every trick in the book.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:16 AM): No, Yosef, you go to their corporate HQ.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:16 AM): It's not that hard to get on to the shelf. It's just hard to make money doing it.

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:16 AM): And talk to whom?

jeffrey schlesinger ( (7/29/2002 9:17 AM): Rob its difficult for both

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:17 AM): Not sure of the exact title, because they vary with each company. Usually an operations or sales person at the VP level.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:19 AM): Jeff, neither is easy. But once you get past the "starry-eyed" new kid phase, the real tough part is when they refuse to pay their Purchase Order because they couldn't sell your item, through their fault, not yours.

Anita ( (7/29/2002 9:19 AM): Entered the room.

jeffrey schlesinger ( (7/29/2002 9:19 AM): He needs to talk to merchandising or purchasing at the corporate level

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:20 AM): I've seen retailers deliberately mar inventory in order to return it as "damaged goods". (7/29/2002 9:21 AM): Entered the room.

jeffrey schlesinger ( (7/29/2002 9:21 AM): The tough one is how long have you been in business, and where is the product currently selling. Do you have the capitalization to handle large orders like 60,000 units, and then give them terms.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:21 AM): Anyway, it's a long process. I think you're much better off "forcing" distribution through direct sales first.

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:21 AM): OK.

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:22 AM): In THAT case, what's a good way to get direct sales?

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:22 AM): As I've discussed before, today, you're so much better off producing a cheap TV spot, testing it on cable and taking orders directly. That way, you build the business, and even the retail purchasers see what you're doing because they watch that stuff.

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:23 AM): That would be up to Allen Weber (who isn't here today).

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:23 AM): You can buy remnant cable TV very cheap. You can print up bill stuffers to tag along with brand compatible partners.

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:23 AM): (that was in response to Jeffrey)

Anita ( (7/29/2002 9:23 AM): I've heard a radio spot for a similar product, Yosef.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:24 AM): Jeff is right, though. Running the retail gauntlet is very trying

Hilary ( (7/29/2002 9:24 AM): Entered the room.

Weber (7/29/2002 9:24 AM): Entered the room.

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:25 AM): Anita - we're talking about a different product -, not my usual sorry for the mix-up.

Anita ( (7/29/2002 9:25 AM): Also, has a great price on direct mail postcards right now.

Weber (7/29/2002 9:25 AM): Allen Weber just arrived.... Hi Yosef, Rob, et al.

Hilary ( (7/29/2002 9:25 AM): am i inside ? my first attempt to join crashed.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:25 AM): No doubt, Anita. Radio wouldn't be my first choice, though. I think this is a visual sale because most vitamin folks are into a healthy frame of mind and appearance

jeffrey schlesinger ( (7/29/2002 9:25 AM): Yosef, I have been running that gauntlet for the past 4 months. It takes usually 2 months to get your rejection letter. And you are off trying other ideas by then to motivate sales

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:25 AM): You're here Hilary. Jump in with your question if you have one when you're ready

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:26 AM): It actually goes to branding again, Jeff, in that you want them to pursue you as the only solution to their problem.

Weber (7/29/2002 9:27 AM): Actually, we are starting to force distribution by offering free samples to consumers. And Rob I need your address again to send you some.

jeffrey schlesinger ( (7/29/2002 9:27 AM): Yup you are soooooo correct

Hilary ( (7/29/2002 9:27 AM): OK colleagues. i am writing another e-product, a survey of merchant account providers.

Weber (7/29/2002 9:27 AM): Actually, we are starting to force distribution by offering free samples to consumers. And Rob I need your address again to send you some.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:28 AM): Allan, send me an e-mail off chat and I'd be delighted to be a guinea pig.

Weber (7/29/2002 9:28 AM): Rob, you'll love it!

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:28 AM): Go Hilary...

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:29 AM): Hillary - there's a GREAT one in the FrankelBiz group - His name's Ken Resnick with CardService International ( Contact me off-list for his full contact info.

Hilary ( (7/29/2002 9:29 AM): it seems there are 2 types of these providers. One gives you "your own" merchant account [example Verisign].

jeffrey schlesinger ( (7/29/2002 9:29 AM): When you get a chance can you enlighten us about forced distribution.

Hilary ( (7/29/2002 9:30 AM): the other carries you under a "transparent" account [clickbank]

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:30 AM): Hang in there Jeff, we'll get back to that after Hilary

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:31 AM): And your question, Hilary?

Hilary ( (7/29/2002 9:31 AM): are these the only 2 types of merchant account providers you can think of ?

Pat Hardy ( (7/29/2002 9:31 AM): Hilary, local banks provide merchant accounts as well.

Hilary ( (7/29/2002 9:32 AM): Rob & group, what about readership ? would they be interested in a booklet like this ?

Weber (7/29/2002 9:32 AM): Hilary, we use Innovative Merchant Solutions and are really happy with them. Great rates.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:32 AM): Funny you should ask. It depends on how you define them. For example, there are now pay by check on the internet services that actually let you write a graphical check on your screen and debit the amount from the person's checking account. And of course, there's PayPal.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:33 AM): All I can tell you, Hilary, is that one of the most common requests we get on FrankelBiz is about finding merchant accounts. Lots of issues there.

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:33 AM): Hillary - who's your target readership?

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:33 AM): I think it would have to be a well-rounded account of the whole experience, though. For example, there are all kinds of fraud and non-USA issues

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:34 AM): I wouldn't stop at just a who's who offering services

Hilary ( (7/29/2002 9:34 AM): Entered the room.

Weber (7/29/2002 9:34 AM): Also you should put in what to watch out for, how to get the best deal on set up, hidden fees, etc.

Hilary ( (7/29/2002 9:35 AM): [sorry - net hiccup] good ideas, all ! i am all ears. however, a deep line on fraud is out of my realm.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:35 AM): Also, I would avoid putting in any affiliate links. They really detract from your credibility, in my opinion

Hilary ( (7/29/2002 9:36 AM): i just want to offer a quick guide to a startup who needs online merchant account

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:36 AM): Hilary, it doesn't take much. You should just prepare them for issues like "referring URL's", what ADC and AVS mean, that kind of stuff

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:37 AM): Hilary, I don't think that would be enough. A few years ago, maybe. But not now. The industry is more complex than that these days,

Hilary ( (7/29/2002 9:37 AM): no aff links, you're right. they do not belong. this survey is impartial.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:38 AM): Also, this really doesn't sound like a survey. Sounds like more of an industry overview

Hilary ( (7/29/2002 9:38 AM): example of limitations: GloBill would not service me because at the time i had only a "free hosted" website.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:38 AM): Jeff, did you want to ask something?

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:38 AM): Hillary - If you're target is e-commerce novices, then you also need to include shopping carts.

Hilary ( (7/29/2002 9:39 AM): OK , industry overview. i'm content with that. thanks, Rob et al.

jeffrey schlesinger ( (7/29/2002 9:39 AM): Yup. Can you give me a little overview regarding Forced Distribution through a giveaway. I am still at the giveaway idea

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:40 AM): Good point, Yosef. These issues are not stand alone.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:40 AM): Jeff, in my experience, forced distribution only works when the distribution cultivates a real dependency from the user. Without that user investment, it's useless

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:41 AM): It's the old, "give them the razors but charge for the blades" thing

Weber (7/29/2002 9:41 AM): Jeff, what we are doing is the following, we are giving away samples to potential consumers who are qualifying themselves. They then are told to go to their store and ask for the product. If the store does not carry it, they then come back and buy from us.

Pat Hardy ( (7/29/2002 9:42 AM): Hillary, I really think you should also mention something about fraud detection. Merchant accounts, shopping cart functionality, and fraud detection are all part of the e-commerce shopping and management experience.

jeffrey schlesinger ( (7/29/2002 9:42 AM): like drug makers?

Weber (7/29/2002 9:42 AM): Further, they keep hounding the store to carry our product and eventually the store calls us and places orders. That IS happening right now.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:42 AM): Pat is right, Hilary. You can see this is a bigger issue than just suppliers and vendors

Hilary ( (7/29/2002 9:43 AM): OK, i will have to summarize fraud detection

jeffrey schlesinger ( (7/29/2002 9:43 AM): Got it.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:43 AM): Allan, this is a prime example of what I cal the Time/Money Continuum: the less money you have, the more time it takes. The converse is also true

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:43 AM): The MORE money you have, the less time it takes

Weber (7/29/2002 9:44 AM): Jeff, we have a product called JAJA Stevioside(tm). We NEVER sampled it, but stores are now calling us to buy it because THEIR customers have bought from us and demanded the store carry it or they will buy direct from us again.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:44 AM): That's great for Allan, because it gives him more leverage when it comes to negotiating terms. This is what I was referring to earlier.

Weber (7/29/2002 9:44 AM): Rob, I will never forget what aquafresh toothpaste did when it first started. Getting small sample tubes of toothpaste and sending it to households.

jeffrey schlesinger ( (7/29/2002 9:45 AM): Are you creating a market through sales and giveaways

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:45 AM): But it does take more time if you're underbudgeted. Allan is building from his brand base.

Weber (7/29/2002 9:45 AM): Jeff---- Exactly

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:46 AM): Allan, take a look at how AOL got where it did, too: Free disks while everyone else was charging for theirs. There was a time where you couldn't open your mail without a floppy disk from AOL falling out

Weber (7/29/2002 9:46 AM): The point with our products is that they really do taste great. So it is a matter of getting the consumer to try them and then they want them all the time, over the other labels.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:46 AM): But let's not forget that different tactics work for different products. What works for one product may not work for the other

jeffrey schlesinger ( (7/29/2002 9:47 AM): So the giveaways can create a market ??

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:47 AM): Allan, I did an interview the other day about in store sales technology. The reporter freaked when I told him that the best in store interactive technology isn't an LCD screen, but the old lady in the apron handing out free samples at Costco

Weber (7/29/2002 9:48 AM): Jeff, take C-Splash... who would not want a great tasting drink mix made of 100% natural flavors with 0 artificial anything, 0 carbohydrates, 0 fat, 0 calories SUGAR FREE, and 150% of the daily requirement of Vitamin C in every glass???

Weber (7/29/2002 9:48 AM): Rob, I have to agree with you.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:48 AM): If your product lends itself to repeat purchase, free can work. But it won't with a one time or infrequent purchase.

Weber (7/29/2002 9:49 AM): Jeff, if it is to a qualified lead, undoubtedly yes.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:49 AM): Allan's product is a continual process. It's buy and consume, on a daily basis. Tracer Tags are a different type of products, for example. You buy them once for the year,

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:50 AM): (TEN MINUTE WARNING)

Weber (7/29/2002 9:50 AM): Rob, I think that even on a product like Jeff's it may work if he emulates a shareware model.

Hilary ( (7/29/2002 9:51 AM): its been interesting.... bye for now

jeffrey schlesinger ( (7/29/2002 9:51 AM): If the product is new and the public needs to understand the idea isn't this a good way to generate awareness of a product

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:51 AM): Jeff's issue revolves around several things: 1. new kind of product 2. Value questions regarding price 3. business model 4. Partners

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:52 AM): Jeff, as I always reply, awareness is no solution. Everyone knows about cancer, but nobody wants it.

Weber (7/29/2002 9:52 AM): Jeff, if I were you I would find out who the industry "Leaders" are. Make an extra special deal with them to get them using it, then the rest will follow.

Weber (7/29/2002 9:52 AM): Good one Rob!

jeffrey schlesinger ( (7/29/2002 9:53 AM): We have been following that path

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:53 AM): Jeffrey - how 'bout talking to Dell or any other laptop/notebook maker and inviting them to put one on each and every laptop/notebook?

Weber (7/29/2002 9:54 AM): Are there any trade magazines you can write an article or articles for?

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:54 AM): Jeff has a tougher task, in that he has to introduce something new, not just different, and people don't know how to value his product yet.

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:54 AM): It would be a great (and cheap) marketing point for them.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:54 AM): That's a good suggestion. Allan. In our PR effort for i-legions, I'm writing a lot of articles that are getting published in high quality trade mags.

jeffrey schlesinger ( (7/29/2002 9:54 AM): Plus the fact that the product crosses over into many industries

Weber (7/29/2002 9:55 AM): Get a case study article about how your product helped, or added value, or saved the day.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:55 AM): If presented properly, these editors will gobble up your article. But you have to make sure you speak their language. I've learned a lot from this campaign

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 9:56 AM): Jeffrey - how's this for a tagline: "Because good Samaritans ARE out there"

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:56 AM): You can play a lot of angles. Look at how many stories in the mass media play around the idea of travel

Weber (7/29/2002 9:56 AM): I'm going to do an article about some of the harmful food additives in soft drinks.

Well, I've got another meeting. (7/29/2002 9:57 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:58 AM): TWO MINUTES

jeffrey schlesinger ( (7/29/2002 9:58 AM): The tag line is good, getting the PR has been tough to get to the editors

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:58 AM): Anyone else before we adjourn for the day, er, week?

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 9:59 AM): Jeff, that's a DIY problem: trying to do it yourself.

Pat Hardy ( (7/29/2002 9:59 AM): Slow day today.

Weber (7/29/2002 9:59 AM): On industrial products, or products like I Legions I think case studies are the best

Pat Hardy ( (7/29/2002 9:59 AM): Slow day today. I may have a few questions next week, Rob.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 10:00 AM): It's summer Pat. Vacation time. It's taking me weeks to get calls returned

jeffrey schlesinger ( (7/29/2002 10:00 AM): Thanks everyone!

Yosef ( (7/29/2002 10:00 AM): Bye!

Pat Hardy ( (7/29/2002 10:00 AM): Really? Wow. I thought I was the only one.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 10:01 AM): No, Pat, it's very slow for everyone out there.

RobFrankel (7/29/2002 10:01 AM): Okay, folks, go get 'em! I'll see you online!

Pat Hardy ( (7/29/2002 10:01 AM): Have a good week everyone.

Weber (7/29/2002 10:01 AM): Take care all

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