There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills!

The origin of the saying: (disregard the gender please and put the origin of this phrase into context) was coined during the California gold rush in the mid 1800’s and borrowed by Mark Twain in a book about the California gold fever. We unapologetically borrow it once more to make a HUGE marketing claim… “claims” being a huge part in the origin of the phrase.   

The setting for this article: when we first brought advanced digital lead generation to the piano industry it was all about serving our “event” clients. When the events were over, they, our clients, desired more leads so supply and demand challenged us to serve that need. As time went on, we realized that day to day lead gen was the greatest value we could provide the piano industry, so we searched for a valid “on-going” lead generation tool. We ended up relying on the “used” keyword as it was hands down the most searched and powerful word in the industry. Not only in ours, but the auto industry, jewelry and much of the luxury marketing realm, the world is powerful because folks logically believe they can get something of terrific value at a lower price by using the “used” word. We were correct and safe in that assessment and the original LeadFlow list method, the “used list method,” was born. Since used pianos were always on sale it was the perfect ongoing theme, with a list that was always being revised.

As we rolled it out, it served us and our clients well. The volume of piano interest in the Internet marketplace previous to this excavation was by and large an unknown in our business. Soon a gold rush of leads requiring a whole bunch of qualifying and dis-qualifying activities were being presented to Prospects International clients. The labor-intensive work forced upon our “then new” client base was a blessing to many and a burden to those who hated the idea of how much work it took to find the folks not casual or not yet in the market to buy. Identifying those who were currently in the market was much like panning for gold, a full-time job! Many clients wanted us to be magicians and only present qualified, currently in the market leads, which was a totally unrealistic demand to make of marketing folks. The quality of leads are not controlled solely by targeting. That quality is also dependent upon the quirks and misrepresentations of the online consumer base, most of whom are just starting the discovery process about the instrument when they manifest themselves as a lead. The arduous work of sifting through the leads to find the gold is inescapable but as the old-time prospectors would tell you a great pay off in the end!

Let’s talk pragmatically here: as marketing people there are many realities, we have no control over. One is the level of interest a person has in a piano. It may be passing, casual, mediocre or serious and there is no way for us to know that on the front end before any true dialogue or qualifying takes place. Another is the perceived value the prospect has in the instrument. As you well know, MUCH has been done by manufacturers, Craiglist, constant discount messages and weak salesmanship to de-value the instrument. Price instead of value has unfortunately taken the front seat in the conversation, agreed? As a result of these previously mentioned realities this one exists – many, many prequalified as wealthy and very capable high-end buyers very often ACT CHEAP. They simply have not been educated to the benefits of a fine instrument vs. an inexpensive PSO (piano shaped object).  

The burden of educating the public after they contract “piano interest” and getting them to understand the virtues of value over price is an everyday ongoing task which DOES NOT land on the shoulders of the marketing folks… it is a sales associate task – pure and simple. TRUST ME, we have our own challenges dealing with a piano dealer customer base, you can’t possibly place that on us too! Being in charge of the overall makeup of who decides, at all social strata’s, to take an interest in what you all sell is not our responsibility, it is quite frankly a marketplace condition we had nothing to do with creating and can help influence only to a small degree. The value of pianos as perceived by buyers of every “where-with-all” level of the economy is varied and not our fault or within our control. Fair statement?   

This does not mean we can’t target well, using the appropriate levels of expressed online interest, level of education, income, geo, and psychographics, etc. These targeting capabilities do not change the naked fact that we can’t determine how far down the sales process a prospect is. We can help create dialogue in some instances with automation, but ultimately, even if we can show you the school of fish and possibly even help you get one on the line, getting it in the boat and figuring out if it is a keeper or not is and will remain a sales person’s responsibility.

All of the above is provided to properly set the stage for a reality that is as exciting as the work of qualifying and disqualifying is daunting. We are marketing people and we can’t sell the pianos for you; our job is to provide you opportunities to pursue or not, but the fact remains that if we don’t provide the best possible leads our survival is in peril. I am happy to state that our existence is not in peril because even using the “used most searched word in cyberspace” we are happy to make this important announcement: “There’s gold in them thar hills”.

A Fact to Consider: from border to border and coast to coast, Boston to LA, St. Louis to New Orleans, in the great state of Texas, in every market we have surveyed large ticket sales have been experienced from the used list lead generation harvesting method. Spirios, Bosendorfers, Steinways of every letter model, Disklaviers, Fazioli’s, Seilers, Schimmels and other high end pianos have been sold as a result of prospects who began as LeadFlow “used inventory list” method leads. Many prospects enter the sales funnel needing a concierge and a trusted advisor and end up making the best decision of their musical life because they come to trust the tour guide they found after responding to a Prospects International online ad. It is truly amazing how excited our clients get when they discover that there is gold is them thar hills!    

So, get up and get your prospecting face on as needed. The work is hard, but the reward is great! We can’t take all the hard work out of selling but we can place you in front of the stream coming out of the vein where great wealth can be extracted by those who believe and prospect their hearts out. What a great opportunity is at hand – placing music in the lives of people who benefit themselves and our families as we do so. Maybe that is the best definition of gold. 

Jack Klinefelter
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