Teeco Solutions, out of St. Louis, Missouri, sells one major product: tent washing machines, which are sold to party and tent rental companies across the U.S.
Not built for the purpose of washing the average camping tent, Teeco’s smallest tent washing machine can wash up to 900 square feet of tent at a time, while the largest model can fit up to 5,000 square feet in a single load. The machine is so big, it can comfortably seat at least six adults.
Teeco Solutions’ tent washing machines are no small investment. If owner Steve Arendt and his team can sell 25 machines in a year, it’s been a good year. That’s because the average investment a Teeco Solutions client will put into a machine is about $80,000 (some sales can reach up to $150,000).
The high price does come with its perks. Machines require little maintenance, and they can do the work of several full-time employees in 20 minutes to an hour per load, depending on the size of the machine. But the sticker price is hard to get past for Teeco Solutions’ prospective clients, many of whom run family-owned businesses.
So Teeco Solutions’ sales process is an involved one. Not only are prospects contacted regularly through multiple channels (including a monthly direct mail newsletter — keep reading!), but many are also flown to Missouri to see Teeco Solutions’ team and products in action.
But for one old-school client, it wasn’t the pre-paid trip to Tecco Solutions’ headquarters or the persistence in typical marketing channels that helped close the deal.
Why a Prospect Became a Client
The way Steve tells it, this was the one customer the company couldn’t crack using popular, go-to channels (phone, email, Facebook, etc). “Forget everything you know about reaching out to people,” he said in a recent interview with The Newsletter Pro.
Not a modern-day businessman, the prospect had a text-message-disabled flip phone that always went to voicemail and an email account that collected dust. This was the type of client who was too busy working in the field to sit down in an office — in other words, “an awesome, country guy,” Steve said.
So when the prospect finally returned Steve’s call, it was kind of a big deal. The prospect agreed to travel to Missouri to tour the Teeco Solutions facility. And when the client arrived, Steve’s team showed him everything from the sales team in the office to the tech team in the warehouse.
“We had a really good time with him,” Steve said. “But at the end of the day, the client opened his attache, and all of our direct mail newsletters were there! He referenced our articles and inserts right there in the parking lot. He looked at us and said, ‘I don’t know how you got my name, but as I read these newsletters, I knew you were the people I wanted to buy from.’”
Direct Mail Newsletters Established Trust With Prospects
More meaningful than the phone calls and emails, Tecco Solution’s direct mail newsletter was the only way Steve and his team could close the deal. Stories like that aren’t unusual for Teeco Solutions, as Steve recounts in the video below, but it goes to show that the impossible prospect can be reached.
In the case of Teeco Solutions’ prospect-turned-client, this man formed feelings of trust in the company by way of their monthly newsletter. While only 2 percent of people will close a sale upon the first meeting (or other marketing touch), the other 98 percent will buy after trust with a company is established.
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a magic trust level every prospect must reach — it’s subjective. Only after a year’s worth of newsletters did Teeco Solutions’ prospect-turned-client choose to buy the product.
At The Newsletter Pro, the way we see it, newsletters and direct mail can pass through a prospect’s advertising shield in ways other channels alone cannot. Newsletters like Teeco Solutions’ allowed the “impossible” prospect to get to know the company and its products on his own time and terms — something postcards and sales letters could not achieve.
Every company has prospects who are impossible to reach. You know the ones I’m talking about — the ones who prefer not to email, don’t go online, or refuse to answer their cell phones. They choose to do business off the grid (the “old-fashioned” way, if you will).
But just because these old-school prospects operate differently, doesn’t mean they should be left in your marketing dust and miss out on all that your business has to offer.