Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic September 27, 1999

RobFrankel (9/27/99 8:59 AM): Greetings....

Terri ( (9/27/99 9:00 AM): Greetings, Rob! We missed you last week :)

Clayton T( (9/27/99 9:00 AM): Good Morning All!

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:00 AM): Thanks, Terri... but I see you all had a productive session anyway...

Jacob (9/27/99 9:00 AM): What's on the menu for today?

Terri ( (9/27/99 9:00 AM): Hi Clayton! Good to see you again :)

Terri ( (9/27/99 9:01 AM): oh yeah! it was great :)

Clayton T( (9/27/99 9:01 AM): Likewise:)

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:01 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:02 AM): Who's up first?

Marc (9/27/99 9:02 AM): hi

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:03 AM): Marc...what's the story today?

Dan (9/27/99 9:03 AM): I'll volunteer

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:03 AM): GO Dan...

ToryDuff (9/27/99 9:04 AM): Entered the room.

Dan (9/27/99 9:05 AM): When building my site, what should I focus on when creating content

Jacob (9/27/99 9:05 AM): I think you answered your own question, when building a site focus on, drum roll please, content!

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:06 AM): Depends on what your site for....what kind of site? What are you trying to do with it?

Muhammad( (9/27/99 9:06 AM): Entered the room.

Muhammad( (9/27/99 9:06 AM): Good morning

Tina (9/27/99 9:07 AM): What do you think about using public relations tactics for branding instead of advertising?

Dan (9/27/99 9:07 AM): Most likely it will be to generate leads for the sales people

Dan (9/27/99 9:08 AM): and letting people know about collections services we offer

Marc (9/27/99 9:08 AM): well rob, my story involves figuring out what kind of guerrilla branding makes sense for small business owners on a localized level

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:08 AM): Dan, depending on what you're selling, I'd say that productivity for salespeople is more important than "traditional content". Things that help them make sales...

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:09 AM): That's if it's for your sales people. If it's for the general public, or end users, that's a different story.

Dan (9/27/99 9:09 AM): its for the public

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:09 AM): Tina -- branding is separate and distinct from its tactics. First you brand, then you raise the brand's awareness. It can be raised through ads or PR, whichever is more appropriate.

Tina (9/27/99 9:10 AM): But what do *you* think about using pr to brand?

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:10 AM): Dan, for the public, it should be empowering content that adds value so that it they see you as caring more than just for the sale.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:11 AM): Tina, the point is that if the branding isn't right, everything else will be wrong. Get the brand right and all the PR and ad and web design etc will be on target.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:12 AM): Tina, I LOVE using PR to brand. It works great -- if the right people do it.

Muhammad( (9/27/99 9:12 AM): If your a collection agency the site should be sales orientated so that it generates leads for the salespeople

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:12 AM): If we want to use another word, is "image" the same as "branding", promoting our image?

Muhammad( (9/27/99 9:12 AM): so by being a sales orientated site, it increases productivity because it is a sales tool...

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:13 AM): Dan, Collection services have a negative image. You can do GREAT branding work by reversing that.

Muhammad( (9/27/99 9:13 AM): as in I find your site, see that you are a collection agency and than I call you up and sic you on my late paying clients

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:14 AM): No, Guy, image is a part of brand. Brand carries much more weight, defining how you work and why you're a better solution. Image is the beauty, brand goes deeper.

Muhammad( (9/27/99 9:14 AM): thing with collection is that it depends on your perspective....if you are down on your luck and getting behind with your bills you hate them

Dan (9/27/99 9:14 AM): We know that nearly all businesses need a collection agency at one time or another, but what would be the best way to approach cust9omers via the www?

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:14 AM): Only unprofessional collectors are "hated",

Muhammad( (9/27/99 9:14 AM): OTOH, if you are a business owner and you are trying to collect old can be a good thing.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:15 AM): Ummm, I think that the general population regards bounty hunters and collection agents as evil.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:15 AM): Even businesses hesitate to contact them, because they object to the rates they charge.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:16 AM): So in terms of branding, there's a lot you could do.

Dan (9/27/99 9:17 AM): We have a very different approach for business, no charge until moneys are collected. I know that is different than most agencies.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:17 AM): Dan, you have a bigger issue here. You have to work against the market's pre-existing image of collection agencies.

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:18 AM): Dan will need deep pockets to get started, his employees will have base salaries, office space etc

ToryDuff (9/27/99 9:18 AM): The general public hates lawyers, too - but I hire them to do nasty things I don't want to do - same with collection agencies

Andy TeBockhorst ( (9/27/99 9:19 AM): Entered the room.

Andy TeBockhorst ( (9/27/99 9:19 AM): Sorry I'm late!

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:19 AM): Not necessarily, Guy. If this goes virtual, it can be done on a bounty basis -- no collection, no fee.

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:19 AM): Tory is right, its a service offered.

Muhammad( (9/27/99 9:19 AM): the general population doesn't own a business.....could be my experience....I don't necessarily love them but I don't dislike them

Dan (9/27/99 9:19 AM): Why deep pockets Guy?

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:19 AM): Yes, Tory, but the lawyers have TV series with Harry Hamlin types that make it look glamorous. They also do heavy PR with pro Bonn work.

Muhammad( (9/27/99 9:19 AM): There is that perspective thing again, my lawyer is a good friend of mine..

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:20 AM): If Dan brands properly, he can use the public's general negative image of the business to his advantage.

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:20 AM): The collector would be working based on the client paying the agency? I think overhead is much higher than that.

Muhammad( (9/27/99 9:20 AM): See when I started out, I would have been eating ramen noodles if I didn't hire a collection agency...

Clayton T( (9/27/99 9:20 AM): Welcome Andy, How goes the house sale?

ToryDuff (9/27/99 9:20 AM): If a collection agency appealed to me as a sort of Lone Ranger saying "Don't worry, Milady, I will get those varlets for you!" I would hire them.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:21 AM): When was the last time ANYONE here saw a positive image of a collection agency?

Andy TeBockhorst ( (9/27/99 9:21 AM): I'm firing my realtor after we wrap up here today!

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:21 AM): The last time ANYONE had a bill paid via that service.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:21 AM): I agree, Tory. If someone said to me, "you mean you did the work and those creeps refused to pay?" I'd like them, too. But few agencies brand that way.

Dan (9/27/99 9:22 AM): That's the biggest problem, Rob. EVERYONE needs us but no one wants to call us...

Andy TeBockhorst ( (9/27/99 9:22 AM): Actually, a local collections guy has spun himself off into another business... credit consulting. He's got a great list of prospects to draw from!

Muhammad( (9/27/99 9:22 AM): Very good point, the agency I hired seemed well nice...very clean web site and they didn't seem like glorified bookie thugs

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:22 AM): Well, there you go Dan, proved my point. Why don't they call?

ToryDuff (9/27/99 9:23 AM): As a nice person, I don't want to deal with creeps - and PAY them too! What I want is Superman and Perry Mason and Errol Flynn wrapped up in one professional company.

Muhammad( (9/27/99 9:23 AM): I hired them because well they seemed polite and like they wouldn't treat the client like dirt...

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:23 AM): The same reason why people don't go to the dentist....even though they know they should.

Dan (9/27/99 9:24 AM): They probably owe money and are afraid that we know about it!

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:24 AM): Are you letting them know that you don't work that way? Seems important.

Terri ( (9/27/99 9:25 AM): And most companies don't want their own image tarnished by having a thug represent them to collect for them *g*

Dan (9/27/99 9:25 AM): OK so we are Superman and Perry Mason and Errol Flynn wrapped up in one, How do we let you guys know about us?

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:25 AM): Once you get all of THEIR concerns taken care of, you will see that you r brand will emerge and then programs and messages spring from that.

Muhammad( (9/27/99 9:26 AM): Nope....I saw a company that had a list of excuses they had gotten and their rather cruel responses....

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:26 AM): For example, what if you create an anonymous submission policy that allows them to contact you anonymously?

Dan (9/27/99 9:26 AM): no "thick necks" here... everything is very professional.

Muhammad( (9/27/99 9:26 AM): It should be like you earned the money, and we can get it for you without resorting to threatening tactics.....polite collection

Andy TeBockhorst ( (9/27/99 9:27 AM): If there's a problem with image (i.e. thugs) then use that to set yourself apart. Make your corporate tagline "The NICE Thugs!" or something funny like that. Embrace your negative image and make fun of it. Business owners will find that endearing

Dan (9/27/99 9:27 AM): let WHO contact anonymously?

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:27 AM): Then you can reply to them in a confidential manner, assuring them of your trust and responsibility. Then you give that story to your PR people....

Dan (9/27/99 9:27 AM): I like that Andy!

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:28 AM): Your end users, new customers, contact you through an anonymous e-mail inquiry.

Glenda (9/27/99 9:28 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:28 AM): Get serious, guys, real business won't buy it. What you want, Dan, is the Xerox repairman.

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:28 AM): Dan: are you targeting a specific business? Health care, or such?

Andy TeBockhorst ( (9/27/99 9:29 AM): What I said earlier has some validity as well. Why not align yourself with a local credit consulting company and in addition with trying to collect their bills, you can offer them a reference to get their financial affairs straightened up. Suddenly you're out there helping these poor victims of the evil credit world (sounds like Superman to me!)

Dan (9/27/99 9:29 AM): no specific targets. We collect for just about anything.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:29 AM): Unlike most copier repairmen that show up dirty and smelly, Xerox guys show up in a suit and tie. They look and act professional.

ToryDuff (9/27/99 9:30 AM): BINGO! on the Xerox Repairman

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:30 AM): That's what the collection industry needs.

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:30 AM): Dan will really only need to reach the AR offices of businesses with his offer

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:30 AM): Accounts Receivable

Muhammad( (9/27/99 9:31 AM): I think you should try to appeal to small business owners who may have the biggest aversion to hiring you.....because some industries like credit cards, utilities, etc, have NO problems with collection...

Muhammad( (9/27/99 9:32 AM): I missed ONE payment with my electric bill due to my busy schedule and there was a polite new...please pay on time....or you may get sent to an agency

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:32 AM): The BIG companies most likely do their own collecting in house

Dan (9/27/99 9:32 AM): most of our customers are small to mid-sized businesses

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:32 AM): Muhammad is on track with small business, since the "big guys" have their own most often.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:33 AM): Overall, I believe that the public is intimidated by the category, until the first time they use you. After that, I think you can get them for life.

Andy TeBockhorst ( (9/27/99 9:33 AM): Primarily consumer collections, right (not Corp?)

Dan (9/27/99 9:33 AM): Should I show the letters we send on our site?

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:34 AM): I can see Dan's site having a HUGE privacy statement on board, what he does to protect the data he has, etc.

Andy TeBockhorst ( (9/27/99 9:34 AM): If Rob is right about first-time experiences , then you have an excellent opportunity for a freebie plan. Tell them the first one's free. Let them see how professionally you work, and boom - new customer.

Linda Caroll (9/27/99 9:34 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:34 AM): No, Dan, don't give away the service, but do present yourself and your programs in a way that reflects the antithesis of the public's popular "thug" notion.

ToryDuff (9/27/99 9:35 AM): I am intimidated by the cost and by my own confusion over my legal rights to collect. I only have one non-pay who is such a weasle and insinuates things that are not true, that I hate to have anyone else talk to him.

Linda Caroll (9/27/99 9:35 AM): Hi... sorry to pop in late.. is late still better than never?

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:35 AM): Andy, that's bold, but excellent.

Dan (9/27/99 9:35 AM): covers both Andy

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:36 AM): Tory, I throw those guys to the wolves and let them get torn up. I'm happy to get whatever I can from those. Fortunately, I don't get many.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:36 AM): Linda, you're always welcome.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:36 AM): Did you at least bring doughnuts?

Linda Caroll (9/27/99 9:36 AM): Thanks Rob...

Dan (9/27/99 9:37 AM): Freebie might be too cost prohibitive, but I like the idea. Would a discount on the fee for the first account be as effective on the web?

Linda Caroll (9/27/99 9:37 AM): Of course... help yourself. Jam filled *s* (9/27/99 9:38 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:38 AM): Yes, Dan, I think it would. In fact, you could also sell them a 5-pack. Get their information, and give them 15% off each of their first five. A great way to trap five collections in stead of one. They'll want to use all five. (9/27/99 9:38 AM): Ooh, Donuts! I'm logging on for this one!

Andy TeBockhorst ( (9/27/99 9:39 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:39 AM): I truly believe that this category is VERY brand loyal.

Andy TeBockhorst ( (9/27/99 9:39 AM): Oops - fell off the boat for a second.

Linda Caroll (9/27/99 9:39 AM): If you don't mind me adding my two cents, I think that added incentive helps especially on the web. A discount backed by references is an unbeatable combination, Dan.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:40 AM): That kind of stuff is very web-friendly and spreads like wildfire.

Andy TeBockhorst ( (9/27/99 9:40 AM): Yup - References can be EXTREMELY powerful.

Clayton T( (9/27/99 9:40 AM): I wonder if that would work in my business?

Glenda (9/27/99 9:41 AM): I came in late on this conversation, but would a discount even be necessary or rather making sure to focus on pointing out the benefits of using your service to the prospective clients. If they are internet related businesses I'd think you could find some great examples of how your service could save them time and a lot of headaches.

Linda Caroll (9/27/99 9:42 AM): Sorry I came in late... what do you do, Clayton?

Glenda (9/27/99 9:42 AM): I agree references are very powerful

Clayton T( (9/27/99 9:42 AM): I rent desktop projectors for computer/video presentations.

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:43 AM): Testimonial ads are the most powerful form of ad.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:43 AM): Clayton, your industry has its own, those in-flight magazines have whole sections devoted to desktop projectors

Andy TeBockhorst ( (9/27/99 9:43 AM): Terri, you're quiet today.

Dan (9/27/99 9:43 AM): DO we need to offer a discount on the normal rates in addition to the "no upfront fee" that we already offer?

Clayton T( (9/27/99 9:43 AM): Actually that has proved to be the worst ROI that I have tried

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:43 AM): Clayton, the problem in your industry is that even at $5K, you only have to rent 10 or 12 times before you could have paid to own...

ToryDuff (9/27/99 9:44 AM): I would like to see some information I could use. Something like "What must you do before referring to a collection agency?" "What actions does the IRS require to write-off a bad debt?" Things like that.

Andy TeBockhorst ( (9/27/99 9:44 AM): Dan, you feel there is a price objection in your business?

Terri ( (9/27/99 9:44 AM): just listening and learning Andy *g*

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:44 AM): Dan, sell a pack of discounted collections. That's the killer idea.

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:44 AM): Rob, my chat on today is about new rules for domain registration - (end shameless plug here)

Clayton T( (9/27/99 9:45 AM): When I started it this was not the case- prices have really fallen

Terri ( (9/27/99 9:45 AM): what time is your chat, Guy?

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:45 AM): Yes, InterNIC is apparently charging for registering domains...

Glenda (9/27/99 9:45 AM): Guy what's your category at sixdegrees?

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:45 AM): Clayton, you may be fighting a losing battle. Prices will continue to fall.

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:46 AM): It will start at top of the hour, 2pm EST

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:46 AM): After all, how many people rent PC's or fax machines?

Terri ( (9/27/99 9:46 AM): Clayton, there are always going to be companies that don't do presentations frequently who will want to use your service :)

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:46 AM): The chat is in member's hosted, user's room under Web Developers Chat.

Clayton T( (9/27/99 9:47 AM): more than ever-but from the manufacturer - just like cars

Dan (9/27/99 9:47 AM): I have to sign off now. Thanks for all the help. You have given me some great ideas.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:47 AM): Terri, I don't agree. Most places where you need a desktop projector (like hotels) buy them and furnish them for their business clients.

Andy TeBockhorst ( (9/27/99 9:48 AM): See ya, Dan!

Clayton T( (9/27/99 9:48 AM): Yes Terri until the manufacturer rents for Cheap - which is what is starting to happen

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:48 AM): Rob, if you count what I sell Virtual Server space (renting a computer space) LOTS

Crawford Pariseau (9/27/99 9:48 AM): Entered the room.

Linda Caroll (9/27/99 9:49 AM): Hi Crawford... good to see you!

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:49 AM): Clayton, you had a good thing, but the landscape has changed. Move on, hopefully to a place where you can merchandise your existing connections to make the transition easier.

Clayton T( (9/27/99 9:50 AM): Currently looking for a new gig

Crawford Pariseau (9/27/99 9:50 AM): Hi Linda. Likewise.. thanks for the tip..

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:50 AM): I don't count that, Guy. I'm talking machines.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:50 AM): (TEN MINUTE WARNING)

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:50 AM): I am too, a collocated server is a machine, just not in your lap is all.

Glenda (9/27/99 9:51 AM): What kinda gig are you looking for Clayton?

Andy TeBockhorst ( (9/27/99 9:51 AM): Quickly, any recommendations on e-commerce packages? I'm looking to be set up and running on the idea we discussed last week by Oct. 31.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:51 AM): More importantly, Clayton, do you have a list of good relationships that you can apply to another, related category?

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:51 AM): I use computers on both coasts now to serve my pages or clients pages. I am renting that computer's space.

Clayton T( (9/27/99 9:51 AM): Not really decided, Probably Sales.

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:52 AM): Andy, if you can do HTML, you should look at

Clayton T( (9/27/99 9:52 AM): Yes, Rob I do

Terri ( (9/27/99 9:52 AM): Andy, I hear Virtualis is good (I am NOT an affiliate *grin*) And also

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:52 AM): Yes, Guy, but that's not Clayton's current gig. He actually ships the projectors to the clients.

Andy TeBockhorst ( (9/27/99 9:52 AM): I'm a Dreamweaver kind of guy... not much on coding.

Clayton T( (9/27/99 9:53 AM): Why do you ask Glenda?

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:53 AM): Andy: You would need to know basic online forms is about it, the rest is cosmetic

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:54 AM): Clayton, one ting you might consider I switching from renting to selling the same item. That's where the market seems to be headed.

Andy TeBockhorst ( (9/27/99 9:54 AM): I'll look into it.

Glenda (9/27/99 9:54 AM): Just curious Clayton, I realize we're both in the Dallas area...I might come across something

Clayton T( (9/27/99 9:54 AM): Yes it is, but the margins are also lower

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:54 AM): I am an affiliate, part of the "toolbox" Virtualis offers a shopping cart too. Might work for you if you need the support.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:54 AM): Anyone have any other topics?

Glenda (9/27/99 9:55 AM): Rob do you know any good websites for learning more about sponsorships? And writing proposals?

Terri ( (9/27/99 9:55 AM): Rob, I have a quandary that I would like your advice on .. Whether I should go for branding my Recruit2Hire or my company name Robinson & Associates

Andy TeBockhorst ( (9/27/99 9:55 AM): Not short enough for today, Rob. See ya next week!

Clayton T( (9/27/99 9:56 AM): Great if you come across any thing Email me at

Linda Caroll (9/27/99 9:56 AM): Sure... quick one. Anyone have any referrals for eCommerce options in Canada? I'm using US based now, but would like to know what's available up here.

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:56 AM): I invite everyone to view to see it's new look.

Linda Caroll (9/27/99 9:56 AM): It seems that the Canadian banks are sorely lacking in eCommerce and merchant options...

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:56 AM): Terri, if you're doing the hands-on, I always recommend using your real name. I'd also recommend dropping "associates". It's a dead giveaway of a small time thing.

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:58 AM): In my case, I use My agency is Frankel & Anderson, because there were two guys who started it.

Terri ( (9/27/99 9:58 AM): so just go with Terri Robinson ?

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:58 AM): Yes, Terri. I mean, would you use a law firm called ""?

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:58 AM): (TWO MINUTES)

GuyRCook - (9/27/99 9:59 AM): Bye all, have to scoot, hope to see you at

Terri ( (9/27/99 9:59 AM): *grin* I might if they did win cases and I wanted to win

Linda Caroll (9/27/99 9:59 AM): Personal one for you, Rob... is your phone number on the site?

RobFrankel (9/27/99 9:59 AM): Okay, Monday beckons. Thanks everyone, feel free to hang out. I'll see you online!

RobFrankel (9/27/99 10:00 AM): Yes Terri, go to and you'll see it everywhere.

Terri ( (9/27/99 10:00 AM): see ya next week, Rob! Thanks for the help!

Clayton T( (9/27/99 10:01 AM): Thanks Rob!

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