Customer First Impressions

November 3, 2003

The Problem with Ads Sometimes isn't the Ads

By: Adams Hudson


A client called to say he'd gotten lots of calls from "price shoppers" and wanted to weed them out. Additionally, many of the callers were such lousy prospects that they didn't ask for an appointment. As a result, he felt his ads were poor. Hmmm.

After some investigation, we found that what happened after the call was very important.

Caller #1: "Hi, I saw your ad about the Trade In and wondered if you could tell me how much you can give me for my window unit."

Receptionist: "We don't trade in window units. Thanks for calling." Click.

Caller #2: "Hello. I wanted to get a quote on a repair. Maybe on a new system. I don't know what all I might need!" (Laughs.)

Receptionist: "We don't give quotes over the phone." (Doesn't laugh.)

Caller: "Well. What do you give?"

Receptionist: "I can send someone out for an estimate. But I can't give it over the phone."

Caller: "Thanks, anyway." Click.

Hudson's uplifting words of encouragement for the receptionist: People don't care what you "can't" do; only what you can do. Got it?

The ad did its job. But the non-existent help from the receptionist killed any hope of lead-capturing and that of future calls from these now-disgruntled prospects.

On Caller #1: You will take a trade in of a leaky aquarium if it results in a system sale. Does it really matter? Your job is to get the info and set the appointment.

On Caller #2: A friendly, half-scared prospect calls who admits to be in need, yet was thwarted from their simple request for information.

How do we know what either caller needed? Isn't it your job to find out? Ductwork? A measly $12K system? They asked legitimate questions and were given an illegitimate answer. No attempt was made at making the ad pay. Both callers went to the competition.

The solution on either call: "Sure, we'd love to come out. Let me get some information from you to start."

Then go for the "sale" of your appointment: "Our specialist will need to take a look at your current system. Just like a doctor shouldn't diagnose you over the phone, we can't either! We want to be sure. Now is Wednesday or Thursday better?" Appointment granted.

Allow your ads to work! If you're not getting calls, that's when your ads aren't working.


Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink “Creative Marketing that Works.” His company creates a full line of marketing tools for contractors including Customer Retention newsletters, Yellow Page ads, “turn-key” Marketing PowerPacks and custom copywriting. You can get a free subscription to his “Sales & Marketing Insider” by faxing your letterhead to 334-262-1115 with the request. Also check out www.hudsonink.com on the web for free marketing tips or call 1-800-489-9099 for more info.

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