A couple days ago, I got an awkward, hesitant phone call from a building product rep.
Technically, it wasn't a cold call, because I'd reached out first. But it sure left me feeling cold afterward...
Here's what happened...
I'd filled in a contact form on the manufacturer's website last week. I wanted to check out some of their technical data sheets online and they required way too much information... (name, email, phone number, address, company name, etc...)
I almost left the form, but I filled it out anyway because:
a) it's the only way I could get the product information I'm looking for, and
b) it's how I check out a company's follow-up process.
So, anyway, I'd kinda' forgotten about the website and the company when my phone rang on Monday.
So I answered and the woman on the other side said,
"Hi! This is 'Karen' for XYZ company."
[It sounded like she was calling from a crappy cell phone with a scratchy connection... and she softly mumbled the company name...]
Me: "Oh, hi! What can I do for you?"
[I'm always polite on the phone, even if I don't recognize them or understand what they said... It drives my wife nuts...!]
Karen: "I guess you must have downloaded some information from us? I'm not sure, they just... Did you have any questions or need any other information?"
Me: "What company did you say you were from?"
Karen: "XYZ Company? We make widgets and gizmos for your home...? And we just started making a new product called "ABC." It's a great new way to..."
Me: "OK, sure! I remember now. I'm familiar with your products. I think I just wanted to see some of your product specs to get some ideas on a project I'm working on..."
Karen: "Specs? Oh. Did you have any questions?"
Me: "No. I got what I needed."
Karen: "Did you want any brochures sent to you?"
Me: "Hmm... No. I think I'm OK for now. When I'm ready I'll reach back out for those. But thanks for the follow-up."
Now normally, I would have taken the offer of the brochures. Especially for this product. Because it was pretty cool looking and I think it would be great for our house.
But I didn't want to repeat this awkward conversation in the near future -- if I can avoid it. So I said no.
Plus, now I'd registered on their site, so I had access to the PDFs of the brochures anytime I want.
So why am I sharing this phone call with you?
Because I want to make sure you know what your reps might sound like to an architect?
And maybe we can break it down a bit to offer a couple helpful tips on what she could have done better...
So, the first thing wrong with the conversation was the call quality. If you're going to the trouble of having somebody follow-up with me, make sure you equip them with a decent phone.
The call had me picturing the calls I get from the alumni association from college. They usually have some college students calling to ask for money once or twice a year.
The only difference is they usually have a slightly better phone than this one was...
The lesson? Make sure your product's quality shines through in ever touch or connection we have...
Confidence and genuine interest...
Whatever Karen's role is in the company, I had the impression she'd crack if I asked any technical questions.
It felt like the company was having a call center do their follow-up.
I understand times are tough, and you have to outsource some of your marketing tasks...
Just know that if it doesn't feel genuine... if I feel like this is just you going through the motions to show you tried to follow-up...
I won't care either. And I'll lose interest or quickly forget about your product...
The lesson here is to make sure the person calling me is a confident, capable person.
One who makes me feel like you care and really want to know more about my problem I'm trying to solve. And how you can help solve it.
I could go on and break down every line, but I'm not doing this to nit-pick.
The bottom line is to review and think through your follow-up process. Make sure it makes sense and it's not alienating your prospects and leads.
Until next time...
Make it a great marketing day!
P.S. I'll be attending the AIA Iowa convention today and tomorrow,
If you'll be there, reply to this email and I'll stop by your booth to say hi and chat for a bit. I'd love to meet you in person.
Otherwise, if you're curious about what other companies are doing well in their tradeshow booths, let me know. Give me something specific or general you're curious about and I'll report back in one of my future posts.