We had a great Thanksgiving in 1986

Vlog 16 v.5

We had a great Thanksgiving in 1986  pixie dust

Keyword: telemarketing

We had our first big telemarketing client all lined up for Thanksgiving weekend in 1986; I was super excited! 

At that time in my life, I handled most EVERYTHING.  My partner, Dave, still worked for someone else during the day.  He would come in at night and he would help set up the phone numbers for the system to call (need better wording )  once someone entered Start Calling.  automated

Promoting The Taures With Telemarketing

The first big telemarketing client was a local Ford dealership who wanted to push one of their new models: the Taures.  

DA Remember that? DA  

My idea was to call people up and invite them to take a test drive.  If they did, we would give them a free dinner-for-two at local Italian restaurant.  I spoke the owner of the restaurant into giving the meals to the Ford dealership in return for FREE promotion of his restaurant.  After all, we would be mentioning his restaurant to about 15,000 local residences over this long weekend. He believed my projection of giving me (50) $35 gift certificates.

DA  Remember, the year was 1986, so $35 dollars went a long way! DA 

This was a win-win for both small businesses.

The telemarketing machine was booted up on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the same day the phone bill from Pacific Bell arrived.  Prominently displayed on the first page of the enclosed newsletter was a notice to all Californians.  “If you receive a pre-recorded message on your telephone, call the Public Utilities Commission at xxx-xxxx.”  These machines, called ADRMPs (automatic dialing something, something, something)  

DA I used to know, but I forgot DA 

were illegal in California! ….Only a handful of those telemarketing phoned called the PUC, …but a larger handful called our client!  It was fine for him …because he always liked to try new things.

Our Win-Win

Our win-win ….turned into angry-angry.  Even with that, they sold 11 cars…due to the promotion… over the long weekend.  A successful program that we could never do again. Good ROI, horrible PR.

And about that “running for FREE” thing.  Not in California.  At the time in California, businesses were charged for EVERY telemarketing call they made….to anywhere.  Not a big deal, but  when you are charging $8 per hour and your phone bill is $7 per hour, there is not much room for profit.  We didn’t know about these charges until I received our first real phone bill. 

DA Again, that due diligence thing DA  

I fell out of my uncomfortable ….chair. Dave, my partner, ran the numbers.  At that  rate, if we ran the unit 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, we would only lose about $2000 per month, if we didn’t pay ourselves…. anything!!! 

That was the problem.  We couldn’t do these programs anymore at that price.   With the PacBell memo ….and charging $8 per hour for our calling, the handwriting was on the wall. 

So what did we do? We did the next best thing: we hired real people to make the calls.  Yes, our costs would increase  

DA paying people, additional rent, and all the expenses we never imagined DA

but we could charge A LOT more.  After all, telemarketing worked!

This was the start of TBS Marketing Services.

DA Want to hear more?  Stay Tuned for my next Video blog.

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