24/09/2021

Going it alone

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Agenda Marketing

I registered my own off-the-shelf limited company, Anglereed Ltd and traded as Agenda Marketing with, what is now, an embarrassing logo, perhaps it was then too? This became my vehicle for a number of years selling and distributing a range of different products. Agenda pursued a number of direct sales businesses, a catalogue sales operation (Epsilon) and became the vehicle for several personal consultancies.

Agenda Marketing business card

 

Pacer Cordless Phones

The very first Agenda product was the Pacer range of cordless phones. This proved to be the perfect direct sales product, because it sold between £150-£200. For these small businesses could make an emotional buying decision without protracted budget considerations.

Based in Bedford I had much success among farmers and car dealers. You wheeled up to their business, wired the base unit into their BT phone and showed them how they could use the phone for 150-200 metres from that base. Farmers could use it around their yard and car dealers around their showrooms. The local advert below unashamedly stated ‘Not G.P.O. approved’ – this was a clear selling benefit, because the purchasers enjoyed the fact that it was ‘anti-establishment’.

Epsilon advert for Pacer cordless phones

Just look at that bottom line – Not GPO approved – but no-one caredm tehy wanted the utility of a ordless phone.

I would demo one, suggesting the prospect try it by calling a neighbouring farm or customer, complete the sale to them, then drive on to the individual they had phoned, to do it all over again. I could sell five or six a day that way and was making the best part of £100 on each.

There was however an inherent flaw – they had only six different frequencies. While I was working my patch alone, I could keep a log and spread out the various frequencies so that there was no issue. But, when others started selling similar systems in the territory on the same set of frequencies, control became chaotic. 

ASIDE: The cordless phones, and later the answerers and viewdata adaptor sold for between £150 and £200, which meant a manager or owner of a business saw this as a non-budgetary item. This meant decisions could be made on the spot.

Later there were encrypted versions released but by then the issue had stopped my momentum. The encryption allowed these ‘out-there’ products to become mainstream and be sold by retailers.

Answercall

 

Answercall President
telephone answering machine

As I had developed a local reputation for comms it was a natural next step to move into selling call diverters, answerers and other comms devices. I signed an agency deal to represent Answercall, offering a broad range of quality system. Importantly there was no commitment on my part to pre-purchase units and no pledges to achieve sales targets – so no stock, no pressure, and easy there-and-then sales.

I was at this time an Apple II user and also pursued the sale of all matters Apple, selling computers, peripherals and software but this was at quite a low-level at the time.

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