When to say “no thanks.”
You can never get too many sales leads, right? But what’s a good lead and what’s a dead end?
How To Evaluate Inquiries.
Say you’ve run a series of compelling print or electronic ads and the phone starts to ring or the Website starts to heat up. When your salesperson receives an inquiry, it can mean only one of two things for your company: a potential sale or a waste of time. Learning how to evaluate inquiries is critical to helping your salespeople become more efficient at their jobs.
Before you can determine how valuable an inquiry is, you have to know how many leads to expect from your marketing vehicles. If you have never established a “track record” with a trade publication, for example, ask an experienced agency where to find these numbers. You can often use figures from companies with similar advertising programs.
The rising costs of making sales calls are focusing companies to become more serious about targeting prospects with greater accuracy. If your leads aren’t producing the results you're looking for, you could benefit from using scripted qualifiers to identify non-serious inquiries; that is, attempt to arrange an “up-front contract” or solid agenda to gauge a lead’s level of interest before committing to a face-to-face meeting. To evaluate an inquiry, you also have to establish your own standards of value. Ask your salespeople which kind of inquiries tend to be beneficial and which types are fruitless. This insight will help you target customers more effectively and avoid inquiries that lead nowhere.
Sometimes, it’s just better to say, “no thanks.”
If you’re not receiving enough leads, you may have to modify your advertising.
Try Getting Emotional.
Why are so many business-to-business advertising messages so dry and serious? Is there room for feelings in
Even Industrial Ads Should Make An Emotional Appeal.
Industrial and technical advertisers often have a tendency to use an information-only approach in their advertisements, websites and support materials. They assume that prospects like engineers, contractors, purchasing agents, architects and manufacturers are only interested in the facts. However, these companies are missing out on a powerful opportunity to persuade their audience with a powerful tool: emotion.
Like other consumers, purchasing agents have feelings too, and can be persuaded with an emotional appeal. They’re always looking for the best value, service or product, of course. But once they've identified businesses that can satisfy these requirements, they can be further influenced by other methods of communication. This goes for other "techy types", too.
Just because other industrial advertisers — or your competitors — don’t use an emotional approach doesn’t mean your company should follow suit. As a matter of fact, a unique approach can help your company stand out in a trade publication filled with traditional, dry advertisements.
Your advertising materials must be interesting enough to compel readers, viewers and listeners to take action. An emotional ad not only grabs attention, but also presents your company and its products in a fresh, new, approachable light.
PR with Style Does Better.
Why don’t your news releases about new products, services or high-level hires get published?
Earn Style Points in Public Relations.
One way to improve your chances of getting press coverage is by adapting your information to a standard journalistic style. Editors are usually inundated with poorly written press releases and appreciate any effort on the part of submitters to make their job easier. PR professionals employ published standards (i.e. AP Stylebook & Libel Manual) in order to ensure preferred spellings, proper grammar and punctuation, technical terminology and other journalism guidelines. Some style preferences may seem minor. For example, current, accepted style dictates that “website” is preferred over “Web site.” A typical reader would probably not notice the difference. However, editors enforce these guidelines. Unprofessional releases lack credibility; when you work with a professional who knows and follows these guidelines, you’ll improve the chances that your business news will get published or aired.
Further, when your release includes an attention-getting headline, quality photography or other graphics and verifiable substantiation, you help the editors do their jobs and save their time. They’ll pay you back in ink, air time or Web space!
Oh, yeah? Prove it!
It’s natural to be dubious about advertising claims. After all, who hasn’t been burned before?
Overcome Advertising Skepticism.
Many people are skeptical of advertising, but you can help overcome this challenge by applying these five techniques:
- Prove your points whenever possible. Unfounded claims will usually be disregarded. Use honest facts and figures to back-up statements. Your audience wants to know the basis of your claims.
- Don’t exaggerate claims. Consumers and business people are savvy and can tell when a statement is outlandish.
- Use solid verifiable testimonials. A credible testimony is far better than anything you could say about yourself.
- Demonstrate how your product solves a customer’s problem. Consumers want to know how they will benefit from your product.
- Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. You want your customers to return again and again.
The Rising Costs … of Sales Calls!
What does it cost your company to make a sales call? How many calls make a sale? Bring those numbers down.
Frequent Advertising Can Reduce Sales Costs.
The average cost of a simple sales call is estimated to be up to $400. High-stakes and long-distance calls can easily cost much, much more. Closing sales can be made more affordable – and a lot easier – when the prospect already “knows” you. Studies indicate that frequent advertising can reduce the cost of selling by up to 30%.
Companies that advertise infrequently, or not at all, must first educate the customer about themselves. The salesperson might have to visit several times before a decision is made. The cost of making the sale can actually increase dramatically.
However, a company that advertises more frequently can move closer to the point of sale because the customer is already familiar with the company and more predisposed to buy. Ads and other communication materials are used to educate customers so that salespeople can spend more time demonstrating the product and closing the sale. Professional-looking brochures, catalogs, case histories; lively, interactive websites, and other materials that clearly define the benefits of your products or services are powerful sales tools that help you decrease the number of face-to-face sales calls you need to make.
Don’t Settle for Snapshots!
Building a brand image can depend much on your use of visuals. Quality photography requires composition, critical lighting, imagination — and professionals.
Cutting Corners on Photography is Cutting Impact
People are visual. The value of a powerful, creative image should never be underestimated. Whether you do your business from a small office or large manufacturing plant, whether you sell widgets or yachts, you will want to tell your story in words and photos. Make sure you’re looking your best.
With imaginative lighting, unusual perspectives, the right equipment, control of subjects and a little time, dynamic images can be produced … even in the most challenging environments or with the most mundane or complicated subject matter.
By working with experienced creative professionals with an “eye” for capturing compelling images, your own image can experience a significant lift. Investing in photography provides strong brand-building tools for use in all of your materials. Return on the investment is incalculable.
See several examples of photography created for our clients in our creative portfolio.