Thor Schrock Introduces the Ultimate Upgrade Computer Sale on the Morning Blend

  • Comments: 3
  • Written on: May 3rd, 2011

Thor Schrock was a guest on KMTV Channel 3’s morning show, the Morning Blend to talk about Schrock Innovations 2011 Ultimate Upgrade Sale.

The best part was when he spooked Mike DiGiacomo by just knowing he had a Commodore VIC-20 in his basement that he could trade in if he wanted to.

Take a look at the video. The sale is going on at Schrock Innovations through May 7, 2011.

Computer Component Prices Edging Higher

  • Comments: 10
  • Written on: April 20th, 2011

I just finished placing a component order for my Computer Repair Service Centers in Omaha and Lincoln and I noticed something curious.

Slowly over the past 8 weeks base component prices have been edging higher.  For example, each component that we install in a new computer is costing on average between $.40 and $.99 more than it did eight weeks ago.

Specifically, the cost of the motherboards we use in our Modular Computers has increased over $1.40 in the past 8 weeks.

I’m not an economist, but there are a few things that I see reported in the news that could be responsible for the upward tick in computer component costs:

  1. The price of oil and Diesel continues to rise
  2. The dollar is weakening against foreign currencies
  3. Gold, Silver, and other component hard costs are going up

So far Schrock has been able to avoid paying the cost increases by ordering in larger quantities and aggressively shopping for those vendors who purchased their inventories before the prices started to move up.

No matter who you buy from, eventually this is going to come home to roost on individual consumers.

I am still young enough that I have not experienced sudden and dramatic inflation, but from what I have seen in fuel and food prices and what i am seeing now in our component costs I am starting to wonder if this is the beginning of what may be a significant inflationary trend.

Yellow Page Strategies for 2011 and 2012
Get a Local Sales Rep & Build a Relationship

  • Comments: 7
  • Written on: April 17th, 2011

Yellow Pages Advertising StrategiesA couple years ago I wrote a post about how to get the best possible deal from your Yellow Pages sales representative.

As the Internet gains more and more influence at the expense of the Yellow Pages, I thought it would be a good idea to revise my old post with the latest and greatest strategies to maximize your Yellow Pages investment.

Go Yellow, Go Web, or Both?

Before the days of the Internet and Google people turned to the yellow pages when a service provider was not top-of-mind. Over the past 10 years use of the yellow pages has been declining as people using laptops, smart phones and computers have turned to online searches for real-time directions, reviews, and pricing – things the Yellow Pages can never offer.

As a general rule (that is becoming less and less applicable after each passing day) there is a generational gap between people who use the Yellow Pages and people who use the Internet when they are looking for a business.  Generally speaking, people 40 and younger will turn to the Internet first for information while those over the age of 40 tend to look toward the yellow pages instead.

As a general rule if your target customer is under the age of 40 your advertising dollars might be better spent on a digital medium such as Google or Facebook ads.

Likewise, if your target demographic is over 40 years of age the Yellow Pages can still bring new customers through the door, although the book’s days of dominance are in their sunset years.

Three Ways to Get the Most From the Yellow Pages

If you decide to add the yellow pages to your marketing mix, there are three iron-clad tips you need to know before you sign on the dotted line.

1. Use Your Sales Representative

In some cases your Yellow Pages sales representative is a regional traveler that you will never see again who is only interested in the immediate sale.  If your sales representative is a temporary transplant, don’t plan on a lasting relationship.

On the other hand, Yellow Page companies like Dex are beginning to realize that their sales representatives need deeper relationships with individual business owners to maximize annual sales results.

If you are lucky enough to have a local rep, they are probably one person in an office of three or four people. This is an ideal situation for the small business owner. In a small office, a sales representative can negotiate special deals, arrange bonuses and genuinely look out for the best interest of your business.

For example, I recently signed a contract with my DEX sales representative, (Joy Brummer) for my computer repair service center in Omaha, NE. We purchased a full-page advertisement that ensures we will be placed at the very beginning of the computer section of the book.

Joy and I really hit it off. We met a second time for lunch, traded stories about our industries & clients, and Joy really got to know what makes Schrock Innovations’ business engine tick.

Joy felt Dex’s online tools would really benefit our business, but I wasn’t terribly interested.  We already dominate the Google search results in Omaha, we will soon have the most prominent advertisement in the phone book.  After talking about it for a bit she made me an offer I could not refuse.

She was so convinced that the Dex online product was right for us that she offered us $900 per month of free advertising in DEX’s online yellow pages listings.  She said if we like the results, buy it next year.  Now that is faith in your product!

It pays to be nice to your sales representative. If you have a local rep, don’t start off your conversation like you are hard-ball negotiating at Kris’ Used Car Sales.

Your gruff and domineering attitude will deeply offend your sales rep.  Sales people have a stable of incentives and bonuses they can offer – or withhold – at their discretion.

If you act like a jerk who needs an anger management class she will not give you any of the bonuses she can – even the ones she pays for like a gift card to the local Indian restaurant.

2. Ask for First Time Advertiser Status – Even if you are not one

Yellow pages representatives usually have 2 fee structures. One is designed for new advertisers and the other is designed for repeat customers. Repeat customers actually get charged more, so you want the same rate schedule the new guy gets whenever possible.

Yellow Page sales representatives typically can’t lower the pricing structure unless they are against the deadline with unsold inventory. However, in some cases that can adjust which rate schedule you are given.

For example, Schrock Innovations has been in Omaha, NE since 2003 and we did have a yellow page ad in 2004. Technically we were not a new customer.  However, because of the great relationship I have with Joy, she was able to convince her sales manager to give us first time advertiser status.

3.  Pay your bills on time.

When you do not pay your Yellow Pages invoices on time it creates a massive obstacle for your sales representative.

“Deadbeat” businesses (those who pay 90-days or more late) and businesses who consistently show they are having trouble paying for their obligations don’t get the best deals from their ales representatives.

Why would a sales manager give a sweetheart deal to a business who is already showing they can’t meet their obligations?

Asking your sales rep to go to her manager for a special deal when you are behind in your payments is asking her to do the impossible.

The bottom line is that playing hardball works when you have a regional representative who doesn’t care about you or your business.

If you are lucky enough to have a local sales representative in a small office treat her with respect.  If you don’t you not only poison the well with her, but you also poison the whole sales office.  Local people talk, and a local sales office is a breeding ground for “you won’t believe this guy” kind of stories.  If you treat one rep badly, getting anything from anyone is the office will be a challenge.

 

Surge Damage Examples in Real Life and How You Can Protect Your Equipment

  • Comments: 5
  • Written on: April 12th, 2011

While many people think about surge damage during severe weather season, the truth is that surges do not have a season – they attack your equipment all year-round and you need to have surge protectors to keep your valuable electronics safe.

Today I was a guest on KMTV’s Morning Blend show where we discussed real examples of surge damage that Schrock Innovations has repaired in their Service Centers and how you can keep your equipment safe.

Audible Alert Surge Protectors on Sale at Schrock Innovations

  • Comments: 3
  • Written on: April 8th, 2011

Until 4/17/2011 (or as long as supplies last) Schrock Innovations has our Audible Alert surge protectors on sale for 50% off the regular retail price!

Normally these units sell for $60 each, but this week only you can get the peace of mind that an Audible Alert surge protector provides for only $34.99.

We only have 100 of these units arriving on Tuesday. These are very popular and difficult to find in large quantities.

There is no quantity limitation on how many you can buy at the sale price. We recommend getting as many as you need for your home or office, and then one extra to have in reserve.

Contact either of our Service Centers NOW to reserve your units while they last.

Take a Moment to Check Your Surge Protector

In Nebraska the average surge protector needs to be replaced once each year.

The trouble is that you can’t really tell if your surge protector is working for you or if it is worn out and working like a glorified extension cord.

Over time, a surge protector sacrifices its self to block surges. Once the surge protector has taken all of the damage it can handle, surges pass right through it as if it wasn’t even there.

Even if your surge protector has a “protected” light, it may simple be an LED that stays lit regardless of your surge protectors remaining capabilities.

What is an Audible Alert Surge Protector?

Audible Alert surge protectors (only available at Schrock Innovations) take the guess work out of protecting your valuable equipment.

When an Audible Alert surge protector can no longer protect your computer, flat screen TV, or other electronic device it begins chirping like a cricket.

You will know EXACTLY when it is time to buy a new surge protector because it will tell you.

Because you know with certainty when to replace your surge protector, you can use it for a longer period of time saving your money while you keep your equipment safe.

What Features Does the Audible Alert Surge Protector Have?

Aside from the Audible Alert warning technology, this surge protector has some other great features that set it apart from most older models:

  • 10′ Shielded cord gives you the length you need
  • Right Angle plug lies flat against the wall, allowing you to push furniture all the way back to the wall
  • 1040 joules of protection ensure a long life
  • 5 regular outlets and three spaced outlets to handle all of the devices you use
  • Automatic grounding detection warns you if your outlet is not properly grounded

How Can I Tell if My Surge Protector is Worn Out?

If you don’t remember the last time you purchased a surge protector it is time replace it. Surge protectors cannot heal themselves.

Look for these tell-tale signs of a warn out surge protector when you examine yours:

  • Dim, flickering or extinguished power light in switch
  • No protected light whatsoever
  • Metal bodies or components indicate the unit is over 25 years old
  • Thick, heavy dust is a great indicator of “time in service”

How I lost 50 Pounds in Three Months

  • Comments: 29
  • Written on: March 25th, 2011

In November of 2010 I turned 34 years old and I was as heavy as I had ever been.  On a lark one morning I stepped on the scale and I weighed in at 260.2.

For the first time ever I weighed more than 260 pounds and something inside me snapped.  I decided that morning I was going to lose weight, I was going to lose it as quickly as possible and I was going to do whatever I needed to do to get there.

A Simple Equation

A few years ago I was a member of a local gym where I had a personal trainer.  It obviously didn’t last, but there was one simple equation he gave me that has stuck in my head.

He told me that weight loss is a simple equation.  Take your calories in, subtract the calories you burn and to lose weight the balance remaining needs to be less than what your body naturally burns to maintain its self.

When I was at the gym, and analysis said it took 2,100 calories a day to maintain my current weight at that time.

For me, my simple equation was that to lose weight I needed to cut my calories to at least 1,900 a day.  So I did.

In the first week I had the usual 10 pound instant drop as my body adjusted to fewer carbohydrates and less food volume.  Encouraging, but we all know that is not real weight loss.  One big meal and you get it all back.  I decided to keep going.

Increasingly Harder to Lose Weight

One of the nasty little things about losing weight is that as your body gets smaller you require fewer calories to maintain your body weight.  After losing about 25 pounds I plateaued and had to cut my calories again to about 1,600 a day.

It wasn’t too tough to cut from 2,100 to 1,900.  I wasn’t really hungry all the time.  It was more of a willpower cut.  I just had to decide not to eat the fast food, not eat in my car, and cut portions down.

Cutting from 1,900 to 1,600 is a different story altogether.  My body was wise to the plan now and it responded with lower energy levels and hunger at times.

The craziest thing is that before then I couldn’t remember the last time I had been physically HUNGRY.  That is a testament to the world around us, but that is another topic all together.

As the days turned into weeks I started losing weight again and soon crossed the 30-pounds lost threshold.

Enter Supplementation

I could handle the hunger at times, but the energy loss was crushing to me.  I am a workaholic and I move as fast as I can all the time.  I stand for about half of my day working in Schrock Innovations‘ Service Centers.

One afternoon I was in a gas station getting a fountain drink and on a lark I decided to try a Five Hour Energy shooter.  I was amazed at the results.

Understand that 5 Hour Energy is not a weight loss product.  It is marketed as a substitute for your morning coffee.  If you look at the ingredients it is loaded with tons of amino acid and b vitamins and a small amount of caffeine.  Maybe it was the placebo effect, but for $3.00 a shot, it kept me moving and helped me cross the 40-pound threshold.

What Was I Eating?

Cutting calories did require me to make some dietary changes, but not as many ass you would think.  In the beginning I was militant about what I ate, but as I lost the weight I experimented with the foods I previously denied myself and found that if I moderated or borrowed calories from one day to use in the next day my long-term goal was still achieved.

The biggest dietary changes included:

  • No French Fries
  • Ate Panera’s BBQ Chop Chicken Salad almost daily (550 calories and very filling)
  • Qdoba naked burritos with salsa were good for variety (great online calorie calculator)
  • 2 Packets of Quaker Oatmeal every morning for breakfast (about 300 calories)
  • Daily Centrum multi-vitamin
  • (2) 5-Hour Energy shooters daily (careful, not too close to bed time)

The last 10 Pounds

It took me longer than expected to drop pounds 40-50.  Because I was not working out while I was cutting calories I did see some muscle loss.

In an effort to push the loss further I cut calories again to about 1,200.  That was a mistake.  I was tired all the time, moody, and the cravings for prohibited food were brutal.

On top of that, if I went over 1,200 one day – say a nice dinner out with my wife – making those calories up the next day means cutting below 1,000 calories.

On top of everything the increased effort and challenge was not resulting in additional weight loss.  I returned to 1,500 – 1,600 calories a day and slowly – almost imperceptibly – dropped to around 210 pounds.

What is Next?  Do You Want to Lose More?

The funny thing about losing weight is that while you are losing it you are obsessed with the scale.  Once it is gone you almost feel that “ok, now what” feeling.

I am 5′ 8″ and at 210 pounds I am still technically obese.  I would like to get down to 175 – 185 pounds eventually, but additional losses are proving increasingly difficult.

One month after hitting 210 pounds I have ventured as low as 204 and weighed in today at 206.  I think I may have to dust off the treadmill to get my body losing again.

What’s Your Weight Loss Story?

Do you have any hints or tips for me?  Share your story below.  I appreciate the tips!

Rusty Eck Ford’s Shady Business Practices

  • Comments: 4
  • Written on: March 24th, 2011

RustyEckOmahaFordMy wife needed to replace her Buick Rendezvous so we visited Rusty Eck Ford in Omaha, NE to look at what Ford had to offer.  Four hours later we had to literally fight our way out of the dealership and once we got out we never looked back.  It was easily the single worst service experience I have had in my entire life.

When we first arrived we wanted to look at the Ford Flex.  My wife liked the marketing pieces and reviews.  They had several 2011 models, but as a rule I don’t like buying brand new cars.

Instead they showed us a used 2010 model that was about $6,000 less expensive than a brand new one.

Anyone who knows anything about cars knows that the value of a vehicle drops SIGNIFICANTLY once it has been titled to someone else.  Even if it is only driven 100 miles, the fact that it was titled to someone makes it a used car.  The price difference between new and used should have been more than $6,000.

Rusty Eck’s Service Experience Begins to Show

They have a wall of hand-written customer testimonials outside of their rest-stop like bathrooms.  They all brag about the favorable deals and great service experiences.

Never mind the fact that they were all written on the EXACT same cheap Wal-Mart stationary using the same pen…  Hmmm…

We left the crazy price in the used Flex simmer on the back burner for a bit figuring they would offer us a favorable trade-in allowance to make up for the difference.

My wife’s Buick has a trade-in value according to Kelly Blue Book of just over $8,500.  Rusty Eck offered us $3,000.  That’s when things started to slide downhill.

The salesman got gruff with us about expecting more for the trade in.  We told him we could sell it easily on Craig’s List for over $9,000.

Then he left us in his uncomfortable office chairs for over 30 minutes listening to the searingly awful 80’s music they are pumping into the whole showroom using a single plasma TV.  He was “checking with his manager” to see what they could do for us as a “special exception.”

We took the opportunity to look up used Flex’s with similar features at other dealerships and on Craig’s List.  Almost everyone else had identical 2010 Flex vehicles priced $10,000 or more under the cost of a new one – right where they should be.

Prisoners to Rusty Eck’s Horrid Service

When he came back in to his office and told us that his boss was giving us a good deal and they couldn’t do any better, we got up to leave.  Maybe he thought we were bluffing.

We told him that while his manager could not do better, we used the afternoon we wasted in his office to do some research.  Guess what – other dealerships have better offers than what you manager can do.  The Internet is a bear isn’t it?

As we put on our coats, the salesman hobbled around his desk to get between us and the front door.  He informed us that no one leaves without talking to the sales manager.  We started walking for the door.

At the last possible moment a slick looking man stops us and asks us if there is anything he can do to help us get into the car we wanted.  We briefly told him that he was trying to low-ball us on our trade and his vehicles were overpriced to begin with.  We then LITERALLY pushed through him and out the door.

Have a Look at What Others Say About Rusty Eck Ford

Apparently our experience was not that unique.  Take a look at these online reviews of Rusty Eck Ford:

Top 10 Reasons Not to Buy Your Car from Rusty Eck:

#10. Lacking the comfort feel- doesn’t feel welcoming
#9. Uniformed salesperson- Lacking information about financing and rebates
#8. A feel of “Buy Today”
#7. They don’t back up what they say
#6. Unprofessional finance manager #1-Talking about he and his wife “getting effed up”
#5. Unprofessional finance manager #2-Discussing how hungover he is from the Christmas party the night before
#4. Unprofessional finance manager #2-Watching a live football game on his computer while working with us
#3. Unprofessional finance manager #1-rushing through paperwork and avoiding explaining anything and then tacking on an $1800 bumper to bumper warranty without our consent.
#2. Stating the vehicle would be picked up from Iowa Monday morning and failing to do so. Then neglecting to make things right and NEVER receiving a call from a manager.
#1. There are other Ford dealers in Omaha that truly care about their customers and will work to do everything in their power to make you happy.

Or this one from Dealerrater.com (Who rates them as a 1.9 out of 5)

This has to be one of the dealerships that movie makers copy when they want to show a scumbag type dealership. They have no morals and absolutely no professionalism. They will try to milk you out of any money you might have and then some. We bought a used 1999 Chevy Blazer from them about 3 weeks ago. It was on a Sunday night and at closing time so everyone was in a hurry. When we asked about everything working o.k. (especially the 4wd) the salesman said yes just hit the button and it works. Well the first time it snowed, my daughter pushes the button for auto 4wd and tells me it is just blinking, well I take it out for a drive and sure enough, it never kicks into 4wd. I take it back to them and want to see if there is anything we can do to fix it. To make a long story short, a new salesman tries to get me to purchase a lesser priced vehicle and charge me more money for a “trade-in” when I get angry and tell him that this must be a joke, they tell us to leave and as I am telling them what I think of their dealership, a manager comes around the corner and starts telling me how I am the piece of sh*t customer and I need to leave. Then about 6-7 “salesman” come outside with me and one of them starts taking his coat off and rolling his shirt sleeves up like he’s wanting to fight!! What a joke, this is truly the SCUM of the dealerships. I hope Rusty Eck is proud of what he has built out there. Ford should take their name off of the signage because this is very much a used car lot filled with lot lizards looking for a next victim. They probably sit around and joke about how bad they screwed their last customer. Truly despicable.

Clear Channel Radio Advertising Strategies

  • Comments: 4
  • Written on: March 23rd, 2011

I am a big believer in radio advertising.  If you have a business on a tight budget, or if you just want to get the best marketing deal around, radio can get your message out there quickly at a cost that is much lower than television or print media.

If you decide to use radio to promote your products, business or organization chances are you will come across at least one station owned by Clear Channel.

As a business owner you are after the best advertising deal you can find.  Getting a good deal from Clear Channel is not as easy as calling the local sales manager and asking for it.

This post will give you some tips and strategies that will help you plan your marketing spends on Clear Channel stations to get the biggest bang possible for your advertising budget.

Why is Dealing With Clear Channel Different?

Some of the most basic rules of radio business do not apply in the world of Clear Channel.  For example:

  • Cash is not king.  Clear Channel stations do not accept cash payments for advertising (if you do pay in cash the sales rep has to take the money to a bank and get a cashier’s check to turn into the station).
  • Bureaucracy in Action.  Local Clear Channel stations do not have the authority to make local decisions based on circumstances and expectations.  Whatever the corporate office says goes, regardless of the facts on the ground.  Local people can influence corporate at times, but once a decision is made there is no appeal.
  • Engineered Scarcity.  Clear Channel stations rarely have unsold inventory, which means fewer bonuses for local advertisers

So if cash in hand does not get you a better deal, bonuses are rare, and you can’t find anyone locally who can make a major decision without checking with the management in Texas, how can you possibly get an advertising deal that is better than your competition?

Learn Clear Channel’s Rules and Use Them to Your Advantage

Why is Clear Channel sold out all the time?  One reason is that their stations are highly regimented, Clear Channel produces a good radio product, and their advertisers get results.  But that is not the only reason.

There is literally tens of thousands of dollars of DEEPLY discounted advertising available on EVERY Clear Channel station if you know how to find it.

Imagine if you could buy your Clear Channel advertising for 25% of what your competition pays.  That would give your business a MASSIVE competitive advantage.  Here are three sure-fire ways to get tens of thousands of dollars of DEEPLY discounted Clear Channel advertising.  I know because I have done it.

METHOD 1.  Network with the Air Talent

Clear Channel makes everyone on their airwaves take annual exams designed to prevent advertisers from unduly influencing air talent with direct money, favors, or consideration.  This is widely known in the radio industry as Payola.

The FCC, which licenses radio stations, prohibits Payola.  In fact, if a station’s employees are caught accepting Payola, the station’s broadcast license can be revoked.  As a general rule it is a bad idea to offer Clear Channel employees any kind of direct personal consideration with the expectation of air time.  It won’t happen, and if you find an employee who lets it happen the risks to you and your business are not worth it.

With that said, you need to take the time to get to know the air talent and introduce them to your products and services.  You can offer them free trials, samples, or comped service as long as there is no expectation of direct consideration on the airwaves.

By letting the air talent know who you are, what you do, and why you are the local expert you are positioning yourself to be called upon later when a topic is relevant on one of their shows because you are top of mind.

I have not given anything to any local Clear Channel personalities, but I have been featured on two of their morning shows this week alone.  I would have had to pay over $100 per spot if I was buying the time.  That’s what my competition pays, but I received the exposure for free.

METHOD 2.  Leverage What Your Sales Rep CAN Do

There are a lot of things your sales rep can’t do to help your business, but there are also some things they can do – especially if you are already a paying customer.

In radio, the bulk of a sales person’s salary comes from commissions on advertising that is sold to you.  If you are not happy and pull your paying ads, the sales person sees a direct and immediate drop in their take home pay.

They don’t want to lose the income, and the station does not want to lose your business.  If your schedule is not producing what you had expected (or what your sales rep had promised) call your rep and ask for help.  BE sure to ask for SPECIFIC things or ask for SPECIFIC options that may help.

If your ads don’t perform you WILL eventually pull them off the air.  Your sales rep will do everything in their power to prevent that from happening.  Here are some of the things your Clear Channel sales rep CAN do for your business:

  • Bonus commercials.  Depending on how much you are spending with Clear Channel, your sales rep may be able to get you some bonus (free) commercials on a regular basis as long as you maintain your spend.  For example, I spend about $7,000 a month with Clear Channel and my sales rep was able to get me about $900 a month in free spots to “help me reach my goals.”
  • Rate Reductions.  This is a potent weapon.  If you are not getting results with your schedule, ask for a rate reduction to bring your investment in line with what it is producing.  Odds are you will not get the rate reduction, but there is a good chance that you will get extra bonuses that could include :15 mentions, weather sponsorships, or other short spots that increase your name recognition and therefore the effectiveness of your other ads.
  • Ask About Sales. Just like a department store puts goods on sale, radio stations run sales on commercial inventory.  Usually sales change every 10-13 weeks and each sale has a different angle.  A station might be running a promotion that gives you a one-time-buy opportunity to get some great spots on special at an irresistible rate.  The stations figure that if the ads work for you you will continue buying them when the price goes up later.
  • Ask About Trade opportunities. Radio stations LOVE to trade things.  But trade with sales reps is tricky.  Remember that the bulk of a sales rep’s paycheck is a percentage commission on what you spend.  If you trade there is no spend, so there is no commission to motivate your sales rep.  Also remember that as a general rule trade can not be applied to an existing schedule.

METHOD 3.  Become the King of the Auction

Twice each year, Clear Channel holds a radio auction.  During this auction the stations sell advertisers’ products and services on the air for as little as 25% of their retail cost.  This is a HUGE opportunity that is often overlooked by businesses to accomplish 2 things:

  1. The auction is done on the radio.  DUH!  Its a free on-air commercial for your product or service!
  2. Amass a HUGE advertising budget that will leave your competition reeling in your marketing wake

In a recent auction completed by Clear Channel in Omaha, NE one of my companies – Schrock Innovations – was able to raise over $40,000 in trade that we can use to raise brand awareness throughout the Omaha metro area.

I am pretty familiar with the computer repair field in Nebraska, and I can tell you that our cash advertising budget puts most of our competitors to shame.  After we lob another $40,000 on top of that in Omaha alone we will be able to leverage our core messages in ways our competitors can only imagine in their wildest dreams.

The best part is that by selling labor-focused services in the auction we were also able to gain several dozen new customers who will continue to work with Schrock moving forward after our trade terms have ended.

In total, I was able to gain immediate access to a $40,000 marketing budget on Omaha’s best radio stations at a cost of only $2,000 of labor services that I will deliver at a yet to be determined future date.

What could your business do with a $40,000 marketing injection?

Clear Channel Conslusions

For a business competing for time, attention, and patronage for it’s products or services radio is a powerful tool to bring in customers and generate revenue.

If you have a fat pile of cash at your disposal and you are not using radio, you should be.  Undoubtedly if you look at your marketplace there will be a Clear Channel presence – they are nearly everywhere.

If you use these strategies successfully you can transform even the most meager marketing budget into a guerrilla marketing power house.

Your competitors are probably reading this same article right now, so seize the initiative and begin growing your company before they do.

 

 

Friday Fun at the Bullet Hole Firing Range

  • Comments: 2
  • Written on: March 22nd, 2011

While browsing through my posts from the past few weeks I noticed that I had been placing a pretty heavy emphasis on my work and work-related topics.

While I am a self-diagnosed workaholic, I do find some time to unwind.

The Lovely Kimberly and I took some time on Friday to head out to the Bullet Hole for some time on the range.

I was firing a 9mm Tanfoglio compact and the Lovely Kimberly was testing out her newly repaired 9mm Ruger.

My grouping was pretty good at 25 feet.  I was able to place 15 rounds center mass in less than 30 seconds.  It had been a few months since we found time to shoot, so I was glad to see I wasn’t too rusty.

At  feet I placed 6 of 15 rounds center mass, with the other 9 rounds all hitting the silhouette – just not smack in the middle where I was aiming.

Pretty fun stuff!

PC Maintenance Checkup Sale a Big Hit at Schrock Innovations

  • Comments: 0
  • Written on: March 20th, 2011

Schrock Innovations‘ PC Maintenance Checkup Sale is by far one of the most popular times of the year to bring a computer into their computer repair Service Centers.

Over the past week Schrock’s technicians have been pulling overtime to keep up with demand.

As you can see, as soon as Schrock launched the sale computers started pouring in to the Service Centers.

By the end of the first day more than 100 computers had arrived for the $30 maintenance offer.  Throughout the course of the sale Schrock took in over 1,000 systems for maintenance between Omaha and Lincoln, NE.

The load was unusually weighted toward desktop computers over laptops.  Over the past couple years Schrock has seen a steady shift away from desktop computers toward notebooks.

The company has also been advertising on FM radio stations for the past 9 months which tends to bring in a younger demographic who prefer the portability of a notebook over a desktop.  Either way, it was a little surprising to see the desktop hanging in there in the quantity department.

Schrock’s customers often hear that the Maintenance Checkup Sale is going on for “one week only,” but in reality Schrock’s technicians have been working under a load of 100+ computers in queue for more than 3 weeks.

When Schrock launches a sale this big, it is always a challenge to keep turn-around times reasonable the customer.

To help moderate the work flow, Schrock will email existing customers about the sale first, then work through the bulk of that response before taking it live on the radio.

Schrock emailed over 8,500 customers about the sale and the response was immediate and intense.

While a flood of Schrock’s existing customers was expected, we were shocked to see that about 20% of the computers coming in after the email were new customers.  Apparently the sale announcement email went viral with customers forwarding it to their friends and relatives.

All in all, Schrock’s technicians have been putting in 60-70 hours a week EACH in an attempt to keep up with the demand.  With the sale ending today at 5 PM they should have everything back to normal again in each Service Center within a few days.

Thank you Schrock customers for another amazingly productive Maintenance Checkup Sale!

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