BREAKING THROUGH THE BARRIERS
In my last column, I discussed how companies can better utilize the phone as a marketing vehicle with phone-on-hold messaging, and the importance of training appropriate staff in phone etiquette and protocols. In this column, I'll discuss some of the ways to overcome the many obstacles the telephone poses in sales efforts. I have borrowed heavily from a great resource one of my clients turned me on to: BusinessWeek.com's columnist Michelle Nichols, author of "Savvy Selling."
FINDING THE RIGHT CONTACT
Identifying the person in the company who's responsible for purchasing print in the company is the first step. I'm always arguing that print sales should be made as far up the corporate chain as possible, as long as you're able to demonstrate a quantifiable value proposition, such as print's better ROI when compared to other media. Here are some statistics I've pulled from my "Ti Monthly" eNewsletter that might prove useful in developing fodder for the C-level sale. I encourage you to work with clients to set up processes to track response rates on printed projects, so you can develop your own ROI statistics.
PIA/GATF's Ronnie Davis' 10/31 "Economic & Print Market Flash Report" cites a study by the U.S. Postal Service that validates the effectiveness of direct mail: Eight out of 10 consumers look at and/or read their direct mail. Thirty two percent of households perceive that direct mail provides them with specific value in running their home life. Thirty nine percent have ordered products and services from their home based on information from direct mail. Fifty seven percent of households expect their shopping plans will be affected by the mail in the next daily delivery. Davis recommends the USPS as a good resource for other supportive studies pertaining to direct mail. Go to email@example.com for more information.
RIT's Frank Romano cites findings of a study sponsored by The Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) that compared the advertising ROI of three auto brands: The ROI in incremental sales-per-dollars spent for secondary media averaged $3.62 versus $8.23 for printed magazines. For more information, go to www.ondemandjournal.com/dpc/dpc10.cfm?printer=pr
Back to ways of getting contact information ... I've had some success going to companies' websites to find names, titles, and bios of key people. Obviously, the smaller the organization, the fewer names you'll have to wade through, and the more likely the person responsible for print buying will be the owner or the director of marketing and sales. However, many large organizations have at least one page on their websites devoted to key personnel. Most corporate websites also have a page on which they post and archive press releases. I've often found my contact by reviewing company representatives who are quoted in the releases. Finally, the search engine Google has also proven useful. I type in the company name and review what comes up, which often includes news written about the company and its executives.
Of course, if your networking web is strong, ask around. You may find a friend of a friend who happens to work in the organization.
WORKING THROUGH THE MAZE
If all else fails, you'll have to pick up the phone and likely have to navigate through an automated message center. Here are some of Michelle Nichols' readers' tips:
When you do get through to the right person, you'd better be well prepared because you'll not have a second chance. Ms. Nichols offers these tips:
I would be interested to hear other tips for getting around the voicemail and message center obstacle. Email charlotte@traversant and I'll share them in a future column.
Charlotte Mills Seligman is president of Traversant Marketing Communications. The firm specializes in planning and executing integrated marketing programs for printing and allied graphic arts companies, with nearly two decades of expertise in the industry. Previous columns and issues of the company's Ti Monthly e-newsletter are posted on http://www.traversant.com. Inquiries should be directed to (415) 357-2929 or charlotte @traversant.com.
© 2003 Charlotte Mills Seligman