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The Service Survival Kit

24 Jan, 2003 By: Ronelle Ingram imageSource

The Service Survival Kit

The document
distribution industry has experienced a tremendous transition with the advances
in modern technology. Businesses trying to keep pace with the ever-competitive
marketplace are charging head first into these technologies. It seems we no
sooner get a handle on one technological advance only to discover it is obsolete
and we must move ahead to the "new and improved" or be run over. It is
enough to drive a CEO or business owner crazy.

Getting Back to

New technologies are a good thing but, in the race to keep pace, we often lose
sight of basic principles in the technological forest. Basic principles we all
learned when we first started into business, but have lost sight of somewhere
along the way. The basics have not changed. They are as valid today as they were
ten, twenty or even fifty years ago. For example, way back in every salesman's
career somewhere, sometime, someone taught him the following principle:

It is a tried and
true formula that works. Yet, how many sales departments practice it today? When
was the last time one of your salespeople did 100 cold calls in one day? You
laugh and say, "that's not possible!" I say it is. "How?"
you ask. The answer is by using that wonderful piece of technology that is on
everyone's desk: the telephone. Proper use of the telephone is the most useful,
cost effective method known for generating prospective customers. With proper
training, your sales department can uncover a wealth of critical information
about your customers and those of your competitors.

The lifeblood of any
sales department is a continuous flow of good leads. There are many ways to
generate leads: expensive advertising media, word of mouth, down the street cold
calling, and yes, the telephone. With a properly designed telephone program, one
person can make 100 cold calls a day. Hire a temporary. Anyone with reasonable
intelligence and proper incentive can be trained in one day or less to find
those customers who are in need of or who want to buy your product.

Your valuable
salespeople can now spend all of their time selling products to customers who
have already expressed a need for or an interest in your products. This is a
salesperson's dream. Salespeople love to sell; they hate to prospect. An
effective tele-cold calling program creates more sales, more profit and happier
people - all the way up to the CEO!

Tips for Tele-Cold

Train your telephone team with one objective: get information - do not sell.
Most people miss this key point: INFORMATION ONLY!! Because you are not selling,
you do not need to speak to a decision maker. Just about anyone in the
organization will have the information you need. A word of caution is in order
here: never try to talk to an automated operator. They are very narrow-minded
and never answer your questions. Never tick them off or you may have to listen
to their music for a very long time. When you finally get to talk to a warm
body, remember your only objective is to determine if there is any potential to
sell your product. You should ask simple questions like:

Is Your Telephone

1. How long have you had your copier? Anything over four years old is a
candidate for replacement.

2. Do you have many
service calls or paper jams? This could indicate an unhappy customer - again, a
potential candidate for replacement.

3. Is your copier
digital and is it connected to the office computers? If not, this is a good
candidate for an upgrade.

4. Has your office
recently seen or are you planning to see a demonstration of new equipment? If
so, this is about as "hot" as a sales lead can get! It drives the
competition nuts when your company starts showing up at all the accounts that
they are currently working.

Listen for other
signs that the customer is dissatisfied. This is an excellent opportunity to
gather leads for the sales force to sell not only equipment but also solution

Do a Little Math

It is easy to see that two temporary or part-time people making 100 calls a day,
five days a week for four weeks can make 4,000 cold calls. When was the last
time your entire sales organization made 4,000 cold calls in a single month?
Estimate how many businesses there are in your area and you can see how long it
will take to cover the entire territory.

Take it a Step

Figure out how many cold calls you are making each month and the average number
of actual sales made from these cold calls. Calculate the profit you made on
these sales. Now, you can estimate the increase in sales and profit you can
expect to generate with a well-designed tele-cold calling program. The key words
here are "well-designed."

Successful Programs

A tele-cold calling program can be a tremendous success; it can also be an
expensive, monstrous disaster. Perhaps you have unsuccessfully tried
telemarketing in the past. Overlooking critical components will definitely lead
to disappointing results. It takes time and a lot of trial and error to develop
a successful program. Though the rewards are exceptional, unfortunately, most
business owners, or even their managers, do not have the time to create, and
then install, implement and monitor an effective program. What, then, can you do
if you want to have a tele-cold calling program but just do not have the time to
do it yourself? The most viable solution is to find an effective program that
has already been developed. There are many good "off-the-shelf"
programs out there so it is not necessary for you to re-invent the wheel. Find a
good one you can use.

Choose your program
wisely because the next and most important step is to install and run the
program on a continuing basis. This is where most of the
"off-the-shelf" programs fail. Even with the best of intentions, many
companies never get these "off-the-shelf" programs off the ground
because they do not have the time or in house expertise to manage the program on
a continuing basis. The solution to this problem is to pick a program from a
company that can deliver a complete turn-key operation. The outside expertise
you purchase will be worth its weight in gold. The cost is far less than trying
to develop a program in house and the success rate with a turnkey package is
much higher. The increase in sales profits, not to mention the increases in
service and supplies revenues, will more than justify the expense. Your profits
can start increasing in weeks instead of the months or years it would take if
you try and go it alone. No doubt, new technology is an important part of any
business. However, you should always keep one eye on the basics…lest you fall
into a technological black hole.

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