How long have you been working with Bespeak’s technology?
I started Perk Pros in January of 2015, so I’m about to finish my 5th year as a small business owner. My husband and I wanted to start a business that would make us financially independent and have the opportunity to control our schedules. We were looking to invest in a franchise opportunity, and we found this licensing opportunity that became an even better option for us. We control our brand, our level of service, and our commitment to our clientele.
We see Perk Pros’ mission to help our clients get enterprise-level technology that was only available to the big brands. We level the playing field for smaller businesses to compete against the big guys!
I was new to Michigan and didn’t know anyone, so I followed the suggestions, like becoming part of a BNI group, joining the Chamber of Commerce, etc. In Michigan, I’m part of a facilitated networking team with other business owners called Caerusnet, which has helped obtain warm leads.
It’s difficult to talk about our product in a minute. So you have to get to know the community and be a part of a referral group that trusts you and understands your product. When you’re able to sit down with someone and explain how the system works, and they understand how it not only sends out text broadcasts but also engages with automatic texts to their loyal customers at strategic dates & times – that’s a huge advantage! Think about it; they are currently having to sit down and think of something to post on social media after a long day of work, hoping it gets viewed.
You’ve had success selling higher-end monthly subscriptions to merchants and we’d like to hear more about your approach. Do you typically go in selling at the lower end, selling at the higher end, or showing merchants a wide range of services at different price points?
That’s a great question and something I have learned over the last four years. When I’m doing the first assessment on a business, and I go in and ask what they’re currently doing to reach out to clients, they have the typical answers. We do this with social media and also collect their emails; sometimes, we send out a mail-in offer. I then explain that by using our tablet and our product, you can reach out to those clients that haven’t checked in recently, to invite them to come back with an enticing offer. They may also send them a reward for their birthday (by using our Birthday Club feature) – that’s when they understand this is a more robust solution than what they’re doing today.
I present the most basic start-up plan, which is between $99-$149. But I also let them know that we can provide a review generation feature, which would also help them hear back from their customers and have a pulse on their service. Those plans are well received, and that’s how I entice them to sign up for a $199 plan. Then, once they get to have a larger subscriber list, and we’re sending messages every week, they go up to $249/month. Not all of the clients are going to jump onto that bandwagon, but when they see a personalized demo and see it for themselves, that’s powerful.
What services do you include in your subscriptions?
The most basic monthly service fee is $99-$149 which includes 1000 texts and an optional Birthday Club. Then $199 if the client wants to add a Review feature with their own customer reviews landing page. My most expensive plan goes up to $249/month, once they’ve built out their list and more messages are needed.
How do you approach ROI? Do you show ROI metrics to your merchants, and if so, how often?
The ROI usually comes up during the first presentation. I let them know that if they have a weekly broadcast that might reach out to an average of 500 subscribers, and if that gives them a 5% response to their call to action, then they have 25 people coming in, times the average ticket of $15. That gives them an additional $375/week if they are consistent with a strong offer. That is my pitch so that they can understand the value of the system. After a few months, we can get there relatively quickly.
I like to sit down with them after three months – schedule a visit for 15 minutes – to review how we’re doing. It’s essential to know where we’re doing well, which weekly offers have been the most effective, and maybe we should run more often, and after that, they understand they are still building their subscriber list. I visit again at nine months, just learning from the business and responses from their clients and revisiting what’s working best.
Do you have any tips for other Bespeak partners upselling MMS and Thrive services?
MMS is something I always bring up in conversations, but it has been cost-prohibitive to jump on it at the first consultation. They understand if they are paying so much less for SMS and that we can include links to images (I build a page for them with Thrive), so it’s probably a better approach to wait on that. I know that seeing a picture of an offer would be best, but the clients that I work with, they just want to get the word out and be top of mind. I tell them that I want them to be present every week or two. I want their customers to know and think about them. There is a benefit for their brand to be out there consistently, even if it hasn’t brought that customer back in right away.
I took advantage of just being able to learn every year a little more on how we can implement the text service not only to typical restaurants and retail shops but to other types of merchants. It’s been a journey for sure. I think the enhancements we’ve had over the years have helped me to reach out to a broader group of businesses.
With the networking groups, most of them are professionals offering services, so I wanted to have something that might be useful for them too. An example of this is a campaign I’m creating for a loan officer that is part of a big company that might benefit from collecting client reviews for his website page. These professional service merchants usually have a personalized website. We would share the web widget code that Thrive creates for their webmaster to include it in their page. That’s how their potential clients may see a collection of positive 4 & 5-star reviews from his latest clients. It will take an hour and a half to set them up in Thrive, and it increases our bottom line in something that runs automatically. Trying to be creative about what we can do with reviews is where I plan to focus my time in the next few months.
Do you have any other advice for Bespeak partners?
It took me a couple of years to understand who our best client is. I know when I first signed up – I was thinking big. I was going to go to the big movie theatre company with multiple locations and the larger chain businesses. Over the years, I’ve learned that small business owners that hand make the pizza dough for their gluten-free crust options and have no time to focus on anything but their core business – those make the best clients. There are local family-owned businesses that have multiple locations, too, and those are great prospects also. Our White-Glove Service makes those small or medium-sized business owners more appreciative and gives us a better chance of staying with us in the long run. So understanding the exact type of business we’re going for is a great strategy.