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If you have a DVR (digital video recorder) like ReplayTV or TIVO, you’ll understand that I’m not exaggerating when I say that I have no idea how I had time to watch any TV before my ReplayTV came into my life. I would almost dispense with a minor extremity than give up my ReplayTV. (NOT a major one, just a minor one!)

So, how can something that can so change someone’s life only be in about 2% of all households?

Ignorance essentially.

People are just not aware of how using a DVR can impact their lives. I liken it to email. I remember my mother-in-law nearly refusing to get a computer… going on about how she has no use for a thing called “email” if she could still pick up a pen and a piece of paper. That was in 1998 or so. Now, she calls me if her computer or email goes down for more than a few minutes, wondering if there’s something I can do to get things back to normal.

The same is true for the DVR. If you haven’t sat down in front of the TV at, let’s say, 11pm, after a long day, scrolled through a list of all your programs you like watching and hit play and skip all the commercials on top of that… well, you just haven’t experienced home entertainment at its finest. Not to mention AMAZINGLY efficient time management.

The ignorance is a perfect opportunity for the right person. This idea has its flaws (WHAT? you say, no way!) but the overall concept is workable I think.

Start out by purchasing a TIVO or ReplayTV unit and activating it. Then go door-to-door in a middle class neighborhood, explaining to people what you do. You’re a DVR rep or specialist and you’re out providing free DVR introductions to people who haven’t yet discovered this wonderous item… etc. You may want to carry a clipboard and take down “census” data. (Do you record show, daily, weekly or never at all… etc?)

The goal is to get them interested in seeing a DVR demonstation in their home. Tell them you will set it up and leave the unit in their home for 3 days (or whatever) to test it out. If they like it, they simply pay you for the unit and you switch the service to their name, if they don’t, you’ll come pick it up and no hard feelings.

In the sales world, this is called the “puppy dog” approach. You leave the cute puppy dog with them for a few days, they fall in love, then they can’t imagine giving it back to you. This doesn’t work for a LOT of things, but I would venture to guess that if you leave their home with their favorite programs for the next 3 days set to record and leave them explicit instructions on how to watch those programs (and your phone number in case they have any questions), you’re going to make a sale 9 out of 10 times.

For the most part, if someone lets you leave it, they are already 75% on their way to purchasing because they have probably heard someone else talk about it or have been curious anyway. They just never got the nerve to actually go out, get one, bring it home, install it, figure it out… etc. If you remove all those barriers, you’re going to be leaving lots of units because many people are already sold on the concept anyway, from their friends and family, they are just happy to have someone do all the dirty work for them. I would venture to guess it would take you MAYBE 30 minutes to set it up in the house and go over just the basics with the owner. The manual you’ll leave will do most of the work. The installation is the big thing.

Now, for getting paid. You could definitely charge at least $50 over what the retail price of the unit is. I think the people who would appreciate your services would feel that’s quite worth it because they didn’t have to go through the hassle of going to get one themselves.

Once you’ve sold a few units and have the process down-pat, I would bet you lots of money that if you called TIVO or ReplayTV and talked to their business development department and shared with them what you’ve done so far and give them some preliminary numbers of what you can do if you hire some people and do this on a mass scale, you will find a VERY attentive company rep and will most definitely consider setting you up as a wholesaler and maybe even give you a better price than wholesale since you are not only selling the units but marketing them as well.

You have to remember that door-to-door sales has been a VERY profitable and viable way of selling things for over 100 years in the USA. It’s not done much anymore because, frankly, we’re not as open to it as we’ve been in the past, as a consumer. That’s not to say you can’t still make a good pile of money doing it still. Actually, simply because no one else is doing it very effectively. Plus, you’re selling something very unique and not in an “in your face” pressured way, either.

You’ll want to get a door-to-door license for your community and wear a badge issued by the city or town. Even if they don’t issue one, make one that says you are licensed to go door-to-door…etc. It helps tremendously in credibility.

You may have to make an appointment for the install, too. Depending on the community, you may not be initially welcome in the household on the first visit. Have a website where people can check you out and feel more comfortable before your actual visit. This would allow you to maximize your time, as well, by lumping installs on the same day in the same neighborhood… etc. So you could book the appointment on the first visit and then just leave some literature. BUT NEVER pass up an opportunity to do the install RIGHT THEN. The one call close is what you optimally want.

Once you have one household in a particular neighborhood, it’s easier when going to other houses because you can say, “We just installed one of your neighbors and they can’t believe how it’s changed their TV viewing habits… etc.”

Once you’ve got someone’s TIVO business, you can then market to them for other things. Long distance, 800 service, dish tv, VOIP, calling cards… the list goes on and on. After the TIVO install, you are a trusted “techie” in their eyes. They will trust your opinion on other tech related things going into the future. Partner with computer techs so if you get a call about their computer, you can know immediately who to recommend… of course, getting a finders fee from the computer tech you recommended.

Oh, when you talk with TIVO or ReplayTV, play them against one another until you get the best deal then stick with one or the other. Try to get a residual deal out of it, as well. Monthly residuals is definitely what you want in the long run.

You could have a fleet of TIVO door-to-door salespeople at some point, spreading the gospel of on-demand tv viewing. What a worthy endeavor!

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1 Comment

  1. will it work for me in the uk . tony

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