Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic December 18, 2000

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:00 AM): Entered the room.

Del Laird (12/18/2000 9:00 AM): Good morning and happy Monday to you.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:00 AM): Greetings...

Louise (louise@greencottage.com) (12/18/2000 9:01 AM): Entered the room.

Louise (louise@greencottage.com) (12/18/2000 9:01 AM): g'day

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:01 AM): I trust that the year end weirdness is not messing things up too badly for you....

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:02 AM): I always find this to be a very strange time of year.

Louise (louise@greencottage.com) (12/18/2000 9:02 AM): who me? LOL always :)

Del Laird (12/18/2000 9:02 AM): Sales have definitely slumped for me since the week before thanksgiving.

Del Laird (12/18/2000 9:03 AM): But expected.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:03 AM): People tend to write off the month of December as "well, we did what we could for this year. Let's see if Christmas will save it!"

Louise (louise@greencottage.com) (12/18/2000 9:03 AM): I am just planning next years strategy hehe

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:04 AM): Yes, this election thing really spooked people in the USA. It made everyone pull in their bets until they see what's going to happen with the new administration.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:05 AM): The fact is that most people don't like change. They wait until the other guys makes his first move and then they react.

Louise (louise@greencottage.com) (12/18/2000 9:05 AM): yes I know.,.. I saw the reaction on most of the pro crafters lists that I am on.. tempers shortened, arguments flaring unexpectedly..

Del Laird (12/18/2000 9:06 AM): Rob, mind if I pick your brain a bit more after last chat's greeting card pricing ideas?

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:06 AM): personally, I don't believe there will be a Santa Claus rally this year...but after January, when things settle in and people realize that essentially, it's going to be more of the same, it'll get back on track.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:06 AM): Sure, Del, fire away.

Del Laird (12/18/2000 9:07 AM): You had mentioned not selling singles, but perhaps packs of 12 or 50.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:07 AM): Yup.

Del Laird (12/18/2000 9:07 AM): And I agree with you that business people will tend to buy multiple cards at one time.

Del Laird (12/18/2000 9:08 AM): My question is then, if I enable customers to buy single cards but have a minimum purchase requirement, does that dilute anything from a consumer perspective?

Del Laird (12/18/2000 9:08 AM): This would enable them to pick up several different cards instead of only one product type.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:09 AM): I don't think so, Del. I suppose, to a certain extent, it depends on what the variety of cards consists of. Are they 12 different cards with 12 different themes? Are they totally blank? Are they 12 of the same per pack? That kind of thing.

Del Laird (12/18/2000 9:10 AM): Well, they are cards for a vertical market...loan officers/brokers (mortgage).

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:10 AM): Personally, I would follow General Mills cereals' lead here: Stick in enough Corn Flakes with a couple of Cocoa Puffs and make them buy more packs to get more Cocoa Puffs. (That's sort of a stretch but you get the idea).

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:11 AM): That's how you move more packages.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:11 AM): It's also a shrewd way to balance your inventory. There are always fast movers and slow movers.

Del Laird (12/18/2000 9:11 AM): 5 different cards with different messages...One for enjoy a movie on me, post-purchase, referral request, thank you, and one-year anniversary

Jack McDonough (12/18/2000 9:11 AM): Entered the room.

Jack McDonough (12/18/2000 9:12 AM): Hey Rob can I change the subject for a minute?

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:12 AM): That's it? What about "You made a great decision! Smart move!" Something that gives the customer (end user) a warm fuzzy for being part of the process?

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:12 AM): Just a sec Jack, but yes, you're next.

Del Laird (12/18/2000 9:13 AM): I polled loan officers, bankers and brokers...none gave any indication of a greeting card for a loan app just taken...

Del Laird (12/18/2000 9:13 AM): But I did make one that reads, "While your loan is in process...Sit back. Relax. And enjoy a movie on me."

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:14 AM): THAT'S the problem with those knuckleheads....they don't get it. But what a great selling point! "What are you doing with your applicants to build a relationship??" kind of thing...

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:14 AM): Remember, the brand is in the relationship.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:14 AM): Okay, jack, fire away.

Del Laird (12/18/2000 9:15 AM): Right...In this industry, referrals go a long way into making a loan officer a success. The better and stronger the relationships, the more likely you'll get business. :-)

Del Laird (12/18/2000 9:15 AM): Thanks for listening and commenting.

Jack McDonough (12/18/2000 9:15 AM): Rob Do you have any suggestions on attempting to Brand a national organization of Attorneys and CPAs who provide services to help taxpayers end IRS Problems. Many people seem to view IRS problems in a negative context and we are interested in getting the work out that we can help taxpayers remove the pains caused by the IRS.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:16 AM): Are you kidding? That's a slam dunk. The question is how can you do it credibly.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:16 AM): And let's make sure you're talking about branding, not advertising. What's the brand currently doing? What is its name?

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:17 AM): Advertising happens AFTER you create the brand.

Raleigh Pinskey (Raleigh@PromoteYourself.com) (12/18/2000 9:17 AM): Entered the room.

Jack McDonough (12/18/2000 9:18 AM): The name is the American Society of IRS Problem Solvers. Currently we write articles for all types of publications and ask readers with IRS problems to visit our site irsproblemsolvers.com

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:19 AM): Hmmm....and what's your marketing plan for the ASIRSPS?

Jack McDonough (12/18/2000 9:21 AM): Recently we entered into deals with various associations to provide these services at reduced rates to their members, we also market our site on the search engines

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:21 AM): You there jack? I'm at your site now.

Del Laird (12/18/2000 9:22 AM): Rob: For the greeting cards I spoke of, and it being a vertical market with no current competition, would it be prudent to position my company and product line as THE tools to turn prospects into loans?...And does that give me the power to price "higher"?

Jack McDonough (12/18/2000 9:22 AM): Yes I am

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:22 AM): Okay, so what's the specific question?

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:23 AM): I like the fact that you state the solution right up there on the front page. That's good.

Arik Schenkler (internetdollar.com) (12/18/2000 9:23 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:24 AM): So far, I only see one tiny flaw....

Jack McDonough (12/18/2000 9:24 AM): Rob does anything jump out at you that would be helpful for us to use in developing a brand for our organization?

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:24 AM): "Our members are CPA's, Attorneys, or Enrolled Agents who specialize in resolving IRS problems for taxpayers just like you. " actually says, "we haven't done anything for anyone yet."

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:25 AM): A tiny change in wording: "who regularly resolve IRS problems"

Jack McDonough (12/18/2000 9:26 AM): Would more testimonials help that same issue?

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:27 AM): Jack, on the tapes, I spend one whole hour discussing the Mantle of Leadership. THAT'S what missing here. Your organization needs to take the next step and lead the category.

Erik (Gloersen@hotmail.com) (12/18/2000 9:28 AM): Jack, how does your members solidify your brand when your customers take the plunge and use their services?

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:28 AM): By that, I don't mean beating your chest and bragging. But showing people (not just testimonials) how you're so into this category, that you offer things that your competition hasn't even thought of yet.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:29 AM): Also, too many testimonials actually start hurting you. They become selling props that are there to sell, instead of reassure. You have to strike a balance.

Jack McDonough (12/18/2000 9:29 AM): Great ideas. I take it we need to separate ourselves from competitors and talk to that

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:30 AM): Yes, also, the phrase "Free consultation" is another example of word inflation. EVERYONE offers a free consultation. How can you make that phrase your own and meaningful?

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:31 AM): Don't get me wrong , Jack, you have the start of a great thing here. your execution is definitely on the right track, IMHO.

Jack McDonough (12/18/2000 9:32 AM): Would you suggest something in addition to the Free Consultation...like a tape or a free report?

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:32 AM): "No cost 'one-on-one" or "Confidential Contact" (<-- first pass ideas) are good. And the idea of confidentiality is nice, too.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:34 AM): No! Jack, unless I'm totally off, this is a very personal, confidential issue. The LAST thing people want is a preprinted report that doesn't address THEIR own issue. Of course, if you preface the delivery by saying, if you'd like to see some case studies, we'll send it" that's a different story, because now it's their choice.

Jack McDonough (12/18/2000 9:34 AM): Ok Rob Thanks for help!

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:34 AM): I like the URL. Can I mention one more thing?

Jack McDonough (12/18/2000 9:36 AM): Rob One of the big problems we have with the Web Site is that many people look at the site but only 5% will fill out the page to obtain help. I think it has to do with providing personal info on the web.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:37 AM): Yup. That's definitely a brand issue. You want to show that you care about their confidentiality. One way -- it might help -- is by emphasizing that a secure server is taking their information. But I doubt that will do much.

Jack McDonough (12/18/2000 9:37 AM): Sure you can mention anything you like about the URL.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:38 AM): Your business model may be one that requires a human call back. One of my favorites for something like this is :"Fill in your name and phone number -- and one of our associate in your area will call you back in ten minutes."

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:38 AM): The sheer impact of a ten minute response will vault your close rate. It says, "Wow, they really ARE efficient. They really DO care."

Arik Schenkler (internetdollar.com) (12/18/2000 9:39 AM): Maybe use HumanClick. what's the URL?

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:39 AM): Mechanically, you can have one person returning the call and scheduling the appointment for whomever is in the contact's area code.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:39 AM): But you will have fulfilled your promise. Then the pro can talk to them later.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:40 AM): This is so easy and almost NOBODY does it.

Jack McDonough (12/18/2000 9:40 AM): Great idea. Now I have to motivate members to respond in 10 minutes. We also get a lot of calls in the early am from taxpayer who can't sleep thinking about their IRS Problems.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:41 AM): It's a great way to skirt around the personal data issue and maintains the confidentiality.

Arik Schenkler (internetdollar.com) (12/18/2000 9:41 AM): Maybe use HumanClick. what's the URL?

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:41 AM): No Jack, the members don't have to return the call. A call center person does that. Then the call center person contacts the member to have him/her call the applicant.

Arik Schenkler (Internetdollar.com) (12/18/2000 9:42 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:42 AM): Ideally, the Call Center person make the appointment in a window for the member. Then everyone knows to be available for that call.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:43 AM): This also introduces the idea of responsiveness to your brand, which is critical., So many of these types of organizations take the money and then leave you wondering.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:44 AM): Yes, Arik, HumanClick can work. But if they don't want to invest in that, a toll-free number to a service can work, too.

Jack McDonough (12/18/2000 9:44 AM): Sounds great as it gives the taxpayer an instant response to a HUGE problem which is bothering them.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:45 AM): NOW you're gittin' jiggy with it...<--- Rob being cool

Arik Schenkler (Internetdollar.com) (12/18/2000 9:45 AM): HumanClick is free at the moment.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:46 AM): You may want to consider NOT discounting your rates to other organizations

Arik Schenkler (Internetdollar.com) (12/18/2000 9:46 AM): Jack, What's the URL?

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:47 AM): I never advise discounting. I often advise adding in extra value, however.

Jack McDonough (12/18/2000 9:47 AM): Is Human Click only text or does it also allow voice communications?

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:47 AM): Hey, if HumanClick is still free, why not?

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:47 AM): Discounting invites bargaining. Bad for business.

Arik Schenkler (Internetdollar.com) (12/18/2000 9:47 AM): It's text chat

Jack McDonough (12/18/2000 9:47 AM): The URL is irsproblemsolvers.com

Arik Schenkler (Internetdollar.com) (12/18/2000 9:48 AM): I have it on my site, you can chat with me later to see it in work. It's cute.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:48 AM): Ah, text chat won't cut it, Arik. These people need to hear their phone ring and a warm voice on the other end telling them that HELP IS ON THE WAY!

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:50 AM): I'm working with a client right now who actually is offering voiceover IP to handle stuff like this. But there's no reason why a toll free number and a response call can't work. You don't need to over-tech this.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:50 AM): (TEN MINUTE WARNING)

Arik Schenkler (Internetdollar.com) (12/18/2000 9:51 AM): Rob, they are on the net, usually their phone is 'out' they want to start the discussion, but, I am not selling 'HumanClick' I didn't invest with it -:)

Jack McDonough (12/18/2000 9:51 AM): Are you suggesting that the taxpayer call for help or just request on the web site and we respond?

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:52 AM): I'm thinking you put a button on the site that says, "click her to have us respond to you within ten minutes"

William Weekley (12/18/2000 9:53 AM): Entered the room.

Jack McDonough (12/18/2000 9:53 AM): Rob Thanks again for the help...I'll order your tapes today!

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:54 AM): That takes the caller to form with maybe three fields: FIRST name, phone number to call and time when to call them (with time zone).

Arik Schenkler (Internetdollar.com) (12/18/2000 9:54 AM): Jack, I suggest that you check Eva site - http://taxmama.com and talk with her.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:55 AM): After that, your call center person has to get the e-mail and contact them IF they want to be called right now. If they put in a different time, call them then. The point is to give yourself a chance to prove to the applicant how responsible you are and how you listen to them.

Louise (louise@greencottage.com) (12/18/2000 9:56 AM): that's quite an intensive shift rob.. I have researched this field

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:56 AM): THAT'S what you want your people to evangelize: "Wow, you should have seen these guys. I clicked on the button and they called me back in ten minutes. They had someone in my area and we had a meeting the next day."

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:57 AM): What are you saying, Louise?

Louise (louise@greencottage.com) (12/18/2000 9:58 AM): are you talking about setting up a call center type of scenario?

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:59 AM): Not really, Louise. This can be handled -- at first -- with a simple answering service that is equipped with e-mail. I'll plug ifulfill.com here. I think they do this and they're all tricked out to handle it. They do all my stuff.

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 9:59 AM): (TWO MINUTES)

Louise (louise@greencottage.com) (12/18/2000 9:59 AM): yes ifulfill are great :)

Louise (louise@greencottage.com) (12/18/2000 10:00 AM): LOL I use them too :)

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 10:00 AM): Paul Purdue <ppurdue@ifulfill.com> is my hero

RobFrankel (rob@robfrankel.com) (12/18/2000 10:00 AM): Okay, you guys, time to go out there and make this Bush economy flower! I'll see you all online!

Raleigh Pinskey (Raleigh@PromoteYourself.com) (12/18/2000 10:03 AM): Thanks Rob, incredible info as always.

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