I was in touch with a trade publication before Christmas on behalf of one of my clients. I was still writing the marketing plan then, and my client and I hadn’t ultimately decided the game plan for this year and the budget, which would obviously affect any advertising I may or may not book on behalf of my client. So I told the eager, and new, sales girl that I would be in touch in the New Year.
January 6th rolls round and with it came the first of a few phone messages from our friendly sales girl. With the way my diary was working out, and the times she was calling (generally about school pick up time!), over the space of a few days I hadn’t managed to get to speak to her, but she continued to bombard me with phone messages and emails – to the point I got to that “Whoa! Back off!” stage!
Her final phone message (about 6 or 7 days after the first one) was her sounding very irritated and was pretty rude and curt in her message. At that point, professional as I am, I’m not going to give a call back to someone being rude – particularly if they want my business!
The thing is, I was quite happy initially to recommend her publication to my client; I thought they were spot on for a certain sector of their target market, but not anymore. She’s ruined any chance of me recommending advertising spend in that publication. I suspect her seniors would be horrified if they knew how their brand was being personified at the critical sales level – the level that interacts with the potential client.
Compare that with the sales lady of a local business magazine. She calls me for a natter, calls me up with information, sends me over their copy deadlines for the year ahead to make my life a lot easier when I’m writing marketing plans. Yep, she also calls me and asks outright if I’ve got any clients who want to advertise, but that’s absolutely fine with me.
She always treats me with professionalism, respect and friendliness. We have a great business relationship; I hold her and that particular publication in high esteem, she embodies their brand values, and yes, if I’m going to recommend an advertising spend, and as long as they’re right for my client, that’s where I’ll recommend it gets spent.
So, if you have staff working for you, are you sure they truly understand what you and your company is about? What your ethos is, and what you believe in? Great marketing and sales is not all about sales techniques, targets, fancy copywriting and great bits of creative work. It’s about the relationships your sales team build with your potential – and existing – clients. And that relationship has to reflect the energy and ethos of your brand values.
The final question then is – do YOU know what you stand for? What your company and brand values are? What your ethos is? What the type of energy is that you reflect from your company?
If you don’t know, I would hazard a guess that your staff are never likely to know (nor would any outside sales team, designer, marketing consultant etc for that matter).
Over the next week then, take a bit of time out to think about what those are, and then how your team can reflect those.
These values should then form the core of all the other marketing and sales activities that you do, and should make those functions a whole lot easier.
Have a great week,