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Using a Contact List Profitably Part One

By Nancy Roebke
Posted Saturday, January 22, 2005

In previous articles, we discussed the generation of a contact list. This time, we look at one idea on what to do with that list once you have it.

The Survey

Your contact list can be used as a great source of information, especially about the importance and need of specific products or services. This type of survey is most effective when asking what are called "probing" questions- questions that cannot be answered by "yes" or "no". Useful questions to ask include:

1. The "Who are you?" series of questions. This includes the name of the company, the name of the contact, address, phone number, email, fax, web page, etc. Use this part of the survey to update customer records.

2. The "How often do you buy product type A? B? C?" questions. These questions are used to determine customer needs. It can help flush out a "niche" that is currently not being serviced to capacity by yourself or your competitors.

3. The "How often do you shop at business type A? B? C?". These questions can be used to determine client buying habits. They are helpful in determining whether your product/service should be available to purchase through a large store or whether you should be providing on-site visits.

4. The "Why WOULDN'T you do business with any firm supplying this product or service?" questions. This is RARELY seen on a survey, but the information can be very valuable in determining how to capture more of a certain market. If a client would rather pay by credit card but that option is not yet available, it is important to know that.

You can also use a survey to judge customer satisfaction. Again, the use of probing questions is more helpful than only yes or no answers.

1. The "How satisfied are you with current services" questions. Included here are questions about the ease of use, about customer service, and about the usefulness of the product/service.

2. The "How frequently they use each service and their priority services" questions. These are useful in determining which products/services are the most important to clients and WHY. Although the sales figures can tell you WHAT sold the most, the reasons WHY it did can surprise you.

3. The "What other products/services should be offered" questions. These are obviously used to determine future needs and company growth ideas.

4. The "Are there any issues in which the organization should be involved to assist their clients?" questions. These will elicit general customer service responses which can streamline everything from the billing department to the quality of products/services- and everything in between.

And finally, a survey can be conducted of people who have discontinued their service/purchases. This survey is similar to the "exit interview" done years ago by companies when employees resigned. This is to ascertain if there is a consistency for dropping out. Use the:

1. "What did you like and why?" questions.

2. "What didn't you like and why" questions.

3. "What would you do differently" questions.

Surveys can be done by phone or mail successfully. They can be anonymous or contain lost of contact information. They are an invaluable tool for gathering information that leads to sales. AND they are a GREAT tool to use to target market and develop strong business relationships.

About the Author
Nancy Roebke, is the Executive Director of Profnet Inc, a professional business leads generation corporation. We bring business professionals together in a non-competitive environment to help each other make more money. (

Copyright c Nancy Roebke


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