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    Default Line Cards and Marketing Materials

    So, there's been 50 million threads on here asking "hey I'm a job shop, how do I get work?" and of course, they all have roughly the same answers. Cold calling, knocking on doors, pounding pavement, whatever you wanna call it. Thing is, there's not a whole lot on here about making the most of that, at least that I could find, and marketing is a pretty damn important aspect of shop ownership that seems to get overlooked quite a bit. I'm in a spot where I need more work ASAP, and I'm going to start making my rounds to any company that seems like they might need something even vaguely related to job shop work. I know how to talk to people, but I want to step it up past the bare minimum, especially since it seems like we have to try twice as hard to prove ourselves as a shop owned by mid 20-somethings.

    I wanna see your guys' line cards and whatever else you bring with you to these meetings because I need to put together a kit for us and I'd appreciate any inspiration or suggestions I can get. Things to include, things I definitely shouldn't include, etc. - how much info and text should be on there? I personally don't like seeing paragraphs on flyers because it offends my design training, but I know that sometimes "the way it's done" in this industry goes against the grain of what I've been taught. Anything that really stood out to you among the others? I'm sure there aren't a ton of members with significant graphics backgrounds here, but there's a whole lot of you who are the same type of person I'm trying to sell to, so I figure it makes sense to ask the people on the receiving end.

    My current plan is to set up a pelican case with our business cards, line cards (that aren't designed yet), example parts, stickers, and maybe even some little machined widgets that we can leave with the customer. I'd love to see any examples of parts you guys use for that too if you have them. Kinda wanna do something different from the typical tradeshow bottle opener or divot tool, something that demonstrates our capabilities and looks cool but is still pretty quick to run in downtime.

    I'll post my line card draft when I finish it up (hopefully tonight) for feedback too.

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    not much help with this, but a bump and following

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    Okay, Make your pitch to us. So far I have no idea What kind of shop you are except a "Job shop". Let us know what kind of equipment you have, capabilities, any certifications (ISO, QS, TPM)? What is your quality assurance plan? You owning the shop so I'm sure you know what the customers want to here.

    When a tool salesman comes in to see you withing the first minute I'm sure you have sized him up and have a good idea on if you are going to keep on listening or brush him off.

    As far as line cards? I hate those, they always wind up as S.O.P. (Shit house Occupation Papers). At the end of the week they've been laying in the floor and pissed on a hundred times and someone has to clean them up.

    What I like to see (no matter what country I'm in) is a quick 90 second pitch. A business card with a website is the first thing I look for. Not sure if you have a website or not but they are so easy to make now a days you almost cant afford not to have one. As far as give away widgets? I cant help you there. As you said the bottle openers from trade shows is enough. If you have a WEDM and make one of those cool tight tolerance puzzle pieces, that may work out. To the average buyer they make you look like you held extreme tight tolerances when in fact you put a little way oil on it and makes it fit tight as hell. That's how Charmilles sold me on my Robofill 440 and I still haven't been able to replicate one of those bastards!

    Anyways, If you address my first paragraph you may get a few more reply's on here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g-coder05 View Post
    Okay, Make your pitch to us. So far I have no idea What kind of shop you are except a "Job shop". Let us know what kind of equipment you have, capabilities, any certifications (ISO, QS, TPM)? What is your quality assurance plan? You owning the shop so I'm sure you know what the customers want to here.

    When a tool salesman comes in to see you withing the first minute I'm sure you have sized him up and have a good idea on if you are going to keep on listening or brush him off.

    As far as line cards? I hate those, they always wind up as S.O.P. (Shit house Occupation Papers). At the end of the week they've been laying in the floor and pissed on a hundred times and someone has to clean them up.

    What I like to see (no matter what country I'm in) is a quick 90 second pitch. A business card with a website is the first thing I look for. Not sure if you have a website or not but they are so easy to make now a days you almost cant afford not to have one. As far as give away widgets? I cant help you there. As you said the bottle openers from trade shows is enough. If you have a WEDM and make one of those cool tight tolerance puzzle pieces, that may work out. To the average buyer they make you look like you held extreme tight tolerances when in fact you put a little way oil on it and makes it fit tight as hell. That's how Charmilles sold me on my Robofill 440 and I still haven't been able to replicate one of those bastards!

    Anyways, If you address my first paragraph you may get a few more reply's on here.
    Prior to 15 minutes after I made the original post when I found out our landlord sold our building and we have 2 months to vacate, this would've been my pitch. Now things are up in the air so I'm gonna have to figure out how to address that too without scaring off potential customers from the uncertainty.

    We're a 3 man shop in Amsterdam, NY that offers 3-axis milling and short-run turret lathe work in addition to powder coating and other finishing services. Our 20,000 sqft facility has a Haas Super Mini Mill, Hardinge DSM-59, and an Okuma Genos M560V on the way. We can powder coat up to roughly 5'x5'x7' parts in any color and finish required, including multi-coat processes with complex masking requirements. We offer media blasting as well as vibratory tumbling both as surface prep and as final finishing processes. Our customers range from small lab equipment companies to high-end 3D printer manufacturers, and we primarily make QC and inspection jigs for their assembly lines.


    That's about where I'm at right now. We've been in business for about a year so far (shop photo thread) and a formal quality plan is one of our goals for this year. We also need a lot more inspection equipment to make that more meaningful.

    Good feedback about the line cards. Might hold off on those for now. Any suggestions on how else to advertise the specific services we offer aside from just pitching it verbally? My own boss at my second job keeps forgetting that we offer media blasting because he doesn't have a list of our services. I suppose a website would help with that, and you're right that I don't have an excuse for not having one other than just not putting the time into it.

    The tight tolerance WEDM puzzle thing is exactly along the lines of what I'm thinking, though we don't have a WEDM. I love that kind of "impossible" puzzle or trick part that looks like it shouldn't be able to be made - have you seen anything that might be more suitable to milling?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roboman01 View Post
    We're a 3 man shop in Amsterdam, NY that offers 3-axis milling and short-run turret lathe work in addition to powder coating and other finishing services. Our 20,000 sqft facility has a Haas Super Mini Mill, Hardinge DSM-59, and an Okuma Genos M560V on the way. We can powder coat up to roughly 5'x5'x7' parts in any color and finish required, including multi-coat processes with complex masking requirements. We offer media blasting as well as vibratory tumbling both as surface prep and as final finishing processes. Our customers range from small lab equipment companies to high-end 3D printer manufacturers, and we primarily make QC and inspection jigs for their assembly lines.
    We have found the "StoryBrand" approach helpful in working up marketing materials (see the book StoryBrand Marketing by Donald Miller). Miller would say that your pitch above is making the classic mistake of positioning your company as the hero of the story. Instead, Miller argues that one should position the potential customer as the hero of the story.

    Here's the key idea: the way a story works, the hero is facing a dilemma or problem of some sort, trying to figure out how to deal with it ... and along comes a wise mentor who can help him/her on the way. If you position yourself as the hero - look at who we are, what we can do - then you are essentially asking the customer to help you with your dilemma (we need more business).

    Instead, position the customer as the hero with a problem to be solved, then position yourself as the wise mentor who can help solve the problem: "You are seeking to make the best widgets in the world ... but you need a reliable supplier of high-quality machined parts, one who understands how to translate your ideas into working solutions. We have the experience and the equipment to do just that. If you would like to see how we can help you, call this number ... <or whatever is the appropriate next step>"

    Of course you would have available, on your website or on your person, more information on your shop and its capabilities, but the point that Miller makes is not to use this as the lead; the lead should always focus on the customer's needs.

    I don't know how well this will translate into the type of business and type of marketing (direct cold calls) you are doing, but I find the overall idea persuasive. Which is more motivating for that potential customer: "Hey, I've got a lot of equipment, and I need to build up my customer base," or "I see that you make XYZ, and I suspect that poses a challenge when it comes to ABC; I'd love to talk with you about how we can help solve ABC."

    Disclaimer: I have no relationship with Miller and the StoryBrand folks other than having read the book. I do know that they would be HAPPY to help you with your marketing problems ... at a cost. I have a coworker who did one of their on-line courses, and he felt it was worth the money ($1500? or something like that), but I haven't felt the need to go beyond the $20 book, particularly as it is fairly quick and straightforward to read.
    Last edited by awake; 07-13-2019 at 09:11 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by awake View Post
    We have found the "StoryBrand" approach helpful in working up marketing materials (see the book StoryBrand Marketing by Donald Miller). Miller would say that your pitch above is making the classic mistake of positioning your company as the hero of the story. Instead, Miller argues that one should position the potential customer as the hero of the story.

    Here's the key idea: the way a story works, the hero is facing a dilemma or problem of some sort, trying to figure out how to deal with it ... and along comes a wise mentor who can help him/her on the way. If you position yourself as the hero - look at who we are, what we can do - then you are essentially asking the customer to help you with your dilemma (we need more business).

    Instead, position the customer as the hero with a problem to be solved, then position yourself as the wise mentor who can help solve the problem: "You are seeking to make the best widgets in the world ... but you need a reliable supplier of high-quality machined parts, one who understands how to translate your ideas into working solutions. We have the experience and the equipment to do just that. If you would like to see how we can help you, call this number ... <or whatever is the appropriate next step>"

    Of course you would have available, on your website or on your person, more information on your shop and its capabilities, but the point that Miller makes is not to use this the lead; the lead should always focus on the customer's needs.

    I don't know how well this will translate into the type of business and type of marketing (direct cold calls) you are doing, but I find the overall idea persuasive. Which is more motivating for that potential customer: "Hey, I've got a lot of equipment, and I need to build up my customer base," or "I see that you make XYZ, and I suspect that poses a challenge when it comes to ABC; I'd love to talk with you about how we can help solve ABC."

    Disclaimer: I have no relationship with Miller and the StoryBrand folks other than having read the book. I do know that they would be HAPPY to help you with your marketing problems ... at a cost. I have a coworker who did one of their on-line courses, and he felt it was worth the money ($1500? or something like that), but I haven't felt the need to go beyond the $20 book, particularly as it is fairly quick and straightforward to read.
    I like that a LOT. Just bought the book on Amazon, thanks for the recommendation.

    That actually fits along the lines of some of what I was taught in my design program and conveniently forgot right when I needed it. We're going to get a website up in some capacity by this weekend and I'll try to work in some of what you said, and then refine it after I finish the book.

    Conveniently, my day job just cut my hours to one day a week today because THEY don't have any work either and aren't getting enough new jobs to keep me on at my previous 21 hrs/wk as a contract programmer, so I guess I have a LOT more time now to go find work and make money.

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    As far as a giveaway it has to be something useful the customer will keep, the longer the shelf life the better.
    As a customer a 12" ruler made a sale with me, this was on circuit board repair. Someone I had already used sent promotional items with a repair that cost a couple hundred. The item worked great, then all my circuit boards behaved themselves for a half dozen years till I had a dual axis drive failure on one and a spindle drive failure following days later. I honestly could not remember name nor year of who repaired my last circuit board and was not going to dig through years of filed tax receipts to find them. If it wasn't for that ruler they had given me 6 years prior T.I.E would have lost out on a $2k repair bill. I probably would have came on here and asked for recommendations or went straight to Fanuc.

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    Millers book is a great read. However, if you want to follow that philosophy you need to understand where it comes from. He uses the Meta phase of NLP so IMO anyone who strives to follow this principle needs to have some NLP classes to make it efficient.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roboman01 View Post
    I like that a LOT. Just bought the book on Amazon, thanks for the recommendation.

    That actually fits along the lines of some of what I was taught in my design program and conveniently forgot right when I needed it. We're going to get a website up in some capacity by this weekend and I'll try to work in some of what you said, and then refine it after I finish the book.

    Conveniently, my day job just cut my hours to one day a week today because THEY don't have any work either and aren't getting enough new jobs to keep me on at my previous 21 hrs/wk as a contract programmer, so I guess I have a LOT more time now to go find work and make money.
    Glad it was helpful! We are still absorbing and implementing these concepts, and translating them into what we think will work for us, but so far the approach has been helpful.

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    Not to beat it to death but make sure your promotional item is something your prospective customer will keep and find useful, don't base it on what you would like. A good example Thinbit cutting tools sent me a T-shirt and a 3" machinist scale. To me that 3" scale rocked. Nobody sells anything shorter than a 6" and sometimes they are too long. Anytime I needed a shorter one I cut up a 6", I thought it was a great idea. A machinist is going to love a 3" scale but your customers aren't machinists. I only did marketing back a decade ago when selling my own products, dual alternator kits to limousine manufacturers. I just sent out calendars and pens with a product and price list. I personally have never throw out a calendar or a nice pen if I received one. Or maybe a year long day planner. It all depends on what the budget is. Maybe give out the more pricey items to the bigger fish. Whatever you do don't pass out defective no spill coffee mugs. Got one from Ryerson and the hot coffee went down my shirt instead of my throat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g-coder05 View Post
    Millers book is a great read. However, if you want to follow that philosophy you need to understand where it comes from. He uses the Meta phase of NLP so IMO anyone who strives to follow this principle needs to have some NLP classes to make it efficient.
    g-coder, I was not familiar with NLP or any connection of NLP with Miller, so I googled - are we talking about "neuro-linguistic programming"? If so, my brief skim of that concept raised some red flags for me ... but at the same time, I'm not seeing a reason to get into NLP in order to make use of Miller's approach.

    <TL;DR warning on>

    FWIW, some full disclosure: I am not a professional machinist, but rather a university professor/administrator, and not in a technical field, but rather in theological education. Yes, I realize with that admission I have probably dropped my stock here immensely - there are so many bad examples of professors, administrators, and ministers, that everything I say is now triply-suspect. I don't know if it makes it better or worse that I don't just teach, but I also am "in the trenches," actively serving churches, so my teaching integrates both my academic study and my real-life experience."

    Machining is what I do for fun in my (limited) spare time. But I find the discussions here in the Machine Shop Owners forum to be very helpful and often surprisingly parallel to my work, especially when it concerns how to work with people - both those I supervise and those to whom I answer, and in this case, those whom I am seeking to attract as customers (except we call them students ).

    All that to say, both as an administrator and in terms of my academic discipline AND pragmatic experience (specifically including linguistic issues related to translation from one language to another, and broadly including a variety of issues related to training and serving as a minister), I do a lot of work in areas related to language, leadership, inter-personal relationship, self-understanding and development, counseling, and so on. I am not a psychologist and obviously can claim no expertise in NLP whatsoever ... but I would claim some expertise and experience with the sort of thing that NLP seems to be.

    Very often in disciplines that have to do with human behavior - psychology and leadership specifically come to mind - someone works out a theoretical framework to make sense of lived experience, both one's own and that of others discovered through research. That theoretic framework is so exciting, because it helps to organize the chaos of human behavior into a few basic principles. It seems inevitable that people soon begin to promote this framework as reality, that this framework is the way people really are, that all answers to all questions can now be explained by this theory.

    Phhht. In my opinion and experience, these theories are most helpful when you realize that they are really only organizing constructs. Unlike the physical sciences, where you can test and refine theories by carrying out experiments with exactly the same conditions each time (at least, in theory!), there is no way to go back in time to try out a different set of stimuli to see if it produced different human behavior.

    One of the greatest flaws of the social sciences is the tendency to forget that they can never actually be scientific in this way. That is not to diminish the importance of the social sciences, not at all; at their best, they produce really useful theoretical frameworks, so long as you remember that these are only frameworks that organize ways of thinking about most but not all human behavior.

    <TL;DR warning off>

    So that brings me, at last, to the bottom line with regard to Miller or any other latest-and-greatest approach to leadership/marketing/self help/whatever. I approach these pragmatically, with a grain of salt for the underlying theory and a tendency automatically to dismiss the universalizing claims that often accompany them, but at the same time with a readiness to see if they offer something useful for organizing the chaos of human bevior. In the case of Miller's StoryBrand, I ignore the claims that ALL marketing should follow this approach, or that ALL stories follow exactly the same arc, or so on, but I have found, in my experience, that the approach is generally a good bit more useful than are some others. As always, YMMV. (Which is, in a nutshell, what all of the above TL;DR section boils down to!)

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    It sounds like a business plan would be on top of your list. You need a physical presence, New location. Never lie to prospective customers. If you can't do it say so. Poor work travels faster than good work. I take cookies to my sales calls. Good luck you have challenges ahead. My two bits. John

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    g-coder, I was not familiar with NLP or any connection of NLP with Miller, so I googled - are we talking about "neuro-linguistic programming"? If so, my brief skim of that concept raised some red flags for me ... but at the same time, I'm not seeing a reason to get into NLP in order to make use of Miller's approach.
    Yes I was referring to Neuro Linguistic Programming.
    When I commented about "Needing to understand" NLP it was more in a sense of Miller set up the basis for a good structure to use NLP techniques and a week or two long class on the sales and marketing side of it would make it more effective.

    I did a two week class in 2013 and was amazed at how simple it is to control and manipulate someone in a business situation. Granted I took the class for the Pendulum health benefits side of subconscious mind control. It just so happened my class happen to include the subliminal mind control sales tactics. Many people still view this as wizardry and dismiss it but I have used it a lot and it has been very effective. The fact that Forbes admits this works and huge companies such as Caterpillar send their sales and purchasing staff to NLP classes to learn how to avoid having it used on them is a good indication its not just regular psychology.

    Miller uses the Meta portion to subliminally make the customer think they need you by verbal interaction using drawn out words such as "Tell me what you neeeeed" or How can I help youuu....."? These sensory words just stick to the receiver and now they will usually open up to you basically giving you free rein in their head as they feel in charge. The whole idea is to make them feel in control so you are no longer viewed as the salesman bothering them. Immediately they will go into story mode and become more relaxed with the salesman as they want to tell you how they got to where they are, what problems they are facing or their vision of where they want to be (Everyone likes to tell a story when someone is truly listening). Here is where you work your way into the "Mentor position" as you said. Once you have made it that far is when a few NLP classes would be a massive benefit. Body language copying, Sensory engagement.




    SellingPower.com

    Also read this good article on how to protect yourself against NLP.
    10 Ways to Protect Yourself From NLP Mind Control

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    Quote Originally Posted by g-coder05 View Post
    ...Also read this good article on how to protect yourself against NLP.
    10 Ways to Protect Yourself From NLP Mind Control
    Lol. I guess Google doesn't like that guy. I read the piece, and at the end I clicked on the video he had to show examples of the technique in the media.

    "This YouTube video is no longer available because the user's account has been terminated"

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    Quote Originally Posted by g-coder05 View Post
    Yes I was referring to Neuro Linguistic Programming.
    When I commented about "Needing to understand" NLP it was more in a sense of Miller set up the basis for a good structure to use NLP techniques and a week or two long class on the sales and marketing side of it would make it more effective.

    I did a two week class in 2013 and was amazed at how simple it is to control and manipulate someone in a business situation. Granted I took the class for the Pendulum health benefits side of subconscious mind control. It just so happened my class happen to include the subliminal mind control sales tactics. Many people still view this as wizardry and dismiss it but I have used it a lot and it has been very effective. The fact that Forbes admits this works and huge companies such as Caterpillar send their sales and purchasing staff to NLP classes to learn how to avoid having it used on them is a good indication its not just regular psychology.

    Miller uses the Meta portion to subliminally make the customer think they need you by verbal interaction using drawn out words such as "Tell me what you neeeeed" or How can I help youuu....."? These sensory words just stick to the receiver and now they will usually open up to you basically giving you free rein in their head as they feel in charge. The whole idea is to make them feel in control so you are no longer viewed as the salesman bothering them. Immediately they will go into story mode and become more relaxed with the salesman as they want to tell you how they got to where they are, what problems they are facing or their vision of where they want to be (Everyone likes to tell a story when someone is truly listening). Here is where you work your way into the "Mentor position" as you said. Once you have made it that far is when a few NLP classes would be a massive benefit. Body language copying, Sensory engagement.




    SellingPower.com

    Also read this good article on how to protect yourself against NLP.
    10 Ways to Protect Yourself From NLP Mind Control
    Very interesting - thanks!

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    I don't think people like to hear or want to hear that they can be programmed by words, body language, tone of voice, and engaging sensory inputs.

    But alas.....nlp is real and I use it every day in every meeting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by as9100d View Post
    I don't think people like to hear or want to hear that they can be programmed by words, body language, tone of voice, and engaging sensory inputs.

    But alas.....nlp is real and I use it every day in every meeting.
    I guess you could if you are extremely gullible and can be easily manipulated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    I guess you could if you are extremely gullible and can be easily manipulated.

    Not entirely true.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    I guess you could if you are extremely gullible and can be easily manipulated.
    Quote Originally Posted by as9100d View Post
    Not entirely true.
    I have never bought anything I didn't seek out to buy. I do not trust anyone who is trying to sell me something. In fact the only time I was influenced by advertising was a pizza commercial. I thought "We haven't had pizza in a while, let's go out for one." In a work place or personal situation I was always the first to sniff out the rat, even when everyone else was conned and telling me I was wrong about Joe Schmo. In the end I was proven right. Your mind tricks might work on 95% of people, but they won't work on the likes of me.

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    My guess is you haven't ever experienced this technique or you have and didn't realize it.


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