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Monday, September 17, 2007

Thud (3): More on the Canwest go! Local directory
Tonight I talked with a prospective salesperson seeking employment with our organization. He had worked on the pay-per-call phone book experiment for CanWest Global, but didn't make the cut there and left the company earlier in the summer.

He explained a little more how they set the prices for this rather innovative product which, if successful on a wider scale, will revolutionize the printed directory segment.

Apparently, the publishers garnered 'average cost per lead' information on the 300 top Yellow Pages categories, and set the prices according to this table.

Furthermore, salespeople working on this project were paid on commission, but could collect a draw and received an expense allowance. The salesperson who discussed the business with me explained that the sales team was supposed to collect a 10 per cent 'deposit' (based on estimated total sales) on closing the sale; and receive another 10 per cent on the back-end based on pay-per-call.

Many advertisers, he said, balked at the 10 per cent deposit, saying they would only pay if they achieved results. The salesperson said the top producers accepted the clients requests not to pay the deposit, and so wrote up the orders without collecting a cent of cash. (This piece of news may surprise, and perhaps annoy, the clients who paid the deposit!) Because of course the risk to the client went to zero, these salespeople naturally closed more orders. They in turn must hope that people actually call the numbers and revenue flows through to CanWest, or they won't be paid. (However, these sales reps didn't starve; again because of the modest allowance for expenses.)

Again, the jury is still out on the viability and effectiveness of this new medium. Within a few weeks, I will call some advertisers first hand for their assessments.
See my previous posting on this topic here.

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