Month: May 2015

Email or Phone?

Because we have a very ‘phone-driven’ sales process here at work, I often get asked – do people prefer to get information over the phone or by email when they are researching vendors?

I can speak from experience – I recently got engaged and have been in full wedding planning mode. We’ve just begun hunting for a venue location for our big day!  I’ve contacted quite a few vendors and it was easy contacting them through the emails they listed or the contact forms on their website.  Because I do most of my research at night and on weekends, it was the best way for me to make arrangements for site tours and visits.

Retro-saleswomanOf all the vendors I contacted, one decided to forgo email completely and call me instead.  Because he had called me during work hours, we could not chat long. He gave me a lot of information during our conversation and we arranged for a time to meet in person.  When the phone call ended, I realized the notes I took were scribbles and it took a while to decipher all the information I needed.  When we showed up on Wednesday at the agreed upon time for our meeting, he was not there because he had put the date down for the week after.

This made me realize that while getting on the phone can be a much speedier process for moving the sales process along, it can also complicate the dialogue when key information is missed or not conveyed properly.  I also like to keep my work and private life separate when possible so the phone call caught me off guard!

Of course, not everyone will have the same preferences as me so be sure to have different approaches if possible to fit your customer’s needs. For instance, if your sales process is phone-driven, have a pre-drafted email that you can personalize and send out in case your customer does not pick up the phone.  Maybe funnel them to an email approach where you will continue to gather key information.  If your sales process is web-driven, perhaps arrange for a live agent to be available through chat so your customers can still have the instantaneous feedback if that is what they want.  There is no one size fits all but insisting on one method of communication over another might do you more harm than good!

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How to Make the Most of Your Vehicle Wraps

Last week as I was walking to work, I passed by a man standing on the sidewalk starring at a van.  As I was approaching, the man took out his phone and snapped a few photos.  I thought it was a bit odd until I walked by the van myself and noticed a picture of a cleaning bison!

The bison was an illustration but he was fully dressed and using what looked like a carpet cleaner.  It was a cute mascot for the company and it did what mascots are supposed to do for branding – it made the company memorable and top of mind.

Days later, as I was searching online for this company, I remembered the cleaning bison and typed in just that into the Google search bar – ‘Bison cleaning services’.  I didn’t remember the name of the company but the image of the cleaning bison in a service uniform had stuck with me.

Cleaning BisonI found the company (it was the first listing on the SERP). I clicked on the website but unfortunately did not see any cleaning bisons!  I immediately left the website thinking I had clicked on the wrong company.  After further research (because I am persistent), I could not find any other cleaning service providers in my city that referenced a bison so I concluded that the first website I visited must have been the one I was looking for.  Yellow Pages confirmed my suspicions when I saw the cleaning bison in one of their listings for the same company.

This made me realize – while it is useful to brand your company vehicles with promotional decalling, it is equally important to make sure all your other pieces in your advertising mix are consistent and carry the same messaging or look!  When you only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention as they are driving or walking past your vehicles, they will likely not be able to retain a lot of information.  What they do retain, you have to make sure they will be able to easily make the connection to your website or easily locate your contact information on the web.   This applies to other outdoor advertising as well such as billboards, bus benches and refuse bins for example.

If you are looking for new business, you want to make sure your customers are reaching you when they are searching for you on the web!  (Not everyone will take a photo like the man I walked by on the street!)

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