One-On-One Marketing Part 1
October 21, 2004
By: Matt Michel
This is part of a continuing series of Comanche New Year’s Resolutions aimed at helping your company become “fiscally” fit. In this series, we will walk through the marketing mix of product, price, promotion, and placement. This Comanche Marketing tip focuses on one-on-one marketing your products.
All sales promotions consist of a message and a communications medium. Within the message is the offer, which may consist of a special price, extras for the same price, or even the standard offer. The medium is the means of communication, which may range from broadcast media advertising to print advertising to direct mail to the simplest form of marketing communication, one-on-one, one person to one person at a time.
One-on-one marketing communication occurs most often between a consumer and the call taker/dispatcher or a consumer and the technician. Yet, marketing communication alone does not a promotion make. Someone must offer something. Too often, those with the greatest amount of customer contact fail to offer anything.
The best call takers often have outgoing personalities. While they cannot always afford the time it takes to get “chatty” with callers, they enjoy talking with people over the phone. They will present offers to customers and are often the best service agreement salespeople, when given the opportunity. When a dispatcher fails to make an offer to a prospect or customer, it’s usually management’s fault. No one told them they can, are expected to, or what to say.
The first job of the call taker, of course, is to sell the dispatch. The call taker persuades homeowners by their manner, confidence, empathy, and words that they company should send a truck or salesperson to their address. They might also sell a service agreement, inform people of specials offers, sell an accessory item, or sell an additional service.
To help call takers meet expectations, provide them with a script. Audiotape yourself while you roll play with the call taker answering typical questions they encounter and work in suggestions for products and services that might be of interest. The exercise will help the call taker.
Later, you can have the tape transcribed and edited to serve as a script for new or inexperienced call takers, without removing the conversational tone. Supplement this with an outline in bullet points for senior call takers who do not need the script, but still need a checklist to follow.
It’s unnatural for most technicians to communicate an offer. The very traits that lead them towards an occupation using their hands (and head) in the field work against the chance they will be good communicators. Yet, with a little training anyone can do an acceptable job. Many will improve dramatically merely by learning to stand up straight, look the homeowner in the eye, and smiling every now and then.
Yet, technicians don’t want to sell. They have an aversion to it bordering on a trip to the dentist. Fortunately, they do not need to sell to communicate an offer to a homeowner. All they need do is educate the homeowner on the options available and ensure the homeowner is as well informed as possible. Informing the homeowner about needed options inherently means making an offer. If the company is running a special on a product or service, that’s part of it.
Like call takers, technicians should also be armed. A similar role playing exercise can be used to generate scripts and bullet points, which can be inserted into their flat rate manual. Technicians, however, are not usually as verbal as call takers. They need additional help.
Provide techs with brochures and handouts on your various products and services that they can hand to the homeowner. Some technicians will never initiate an explanation of a product or service to the homeowner beyond the repair at hand. Yet, they can hand the homeowner a few pamphlets to review while performing the diagnostic and answer any questions the material prompts.
Consumer educational literature is as important to the performance of the technician’s job as the tools he carries. If you wouldn’t send him into the field without tools, don’t send him without the supporting collateral sales and educational material.
Next: Owners and Salespeople
Source: Comanche Marketing. Reprinted by permission.
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Copyright © 2003 Matt Michel
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