Friday, September 25, 2015

Go Deep and Score the Game Winner With Your Marketing

Football player carries the ball
When it comes to automotive marketing, football is king. Some of the best campaigns got their 30 seconds of fame in the Super Bowl spotlight, while Hyundai's coup to snag the NFL automotive sponsorship made big headlines in June. With even preseason games bringing in 11 million viewers, it's easy to see why the automotive industry loves football.

We love football too (especially our hometown Houston Texans), and we're pretty excited that the season is finally underway. While Texans linebacker J.J. Watt can probably teach us a thing or two about marketing — seriously, the guy is everywhere these days — we wanted to take a look at what we could learn about dealership marketing from the game as a whole.

Have a Smart Strategy

Football is a strategic game. Coaches spend years developing offensive plays that can exploit all kinds of defenses, and the players have to execute them at a high level to be successful. On running plays, everybody from a lineman to a receiver has a blocking assignment, and just one missed block can turn a big play into loss of yards. Passing plays are similar in that three to five receivers are running designated routes, trying to find gaps in the defense.

Just like football, good marketing boils down to having a smart strategy. Gaining a new client is like scoring a touchdown, and your competitors are like the defense trying to block it. You need to come up with a strategy that finds gaps in the defense, such as an under-served segment that can be targeted, or closes some of your own gaps, such as getting your campaign seen by the right people. Find the right strategy, and you'll be the Vince Lombardi of marketing.

Evaluate Your Performance

A football coach's work doesn't end after a game or practice is over. Every week there are still hours of film from games — theirs and their opponents' — and practices to pore over and evaluate. Coaches watch film to find the strengths and weaknesses of both their team and the opposing teams. Watching film is a crucial part of building a sound strategy and being prepared for any given game.

You need to evaluate your marketing campaigns in much the same way that coaches evaluate their teams by reviewing what works and what doesn't. While you're not exactly filming every customer's reaction to a marketing campaign, you can find the value of a marketing campaign with the help of a call tracking program. Using dynamic toll-free and local numbers for your marketing campaigns and tracking the resulting calls allows you to see where you're having the most success.

Be Flexible

Omaha! Omaha! If you're a football fan, you know Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning isn't just a fan of really good steaks. Manning's ability to read the defense before the snap and call an audible to change the play is well known. The reason he shouts "Omaha" varies depending on the game or the situation, but it usually means something is changing. Manning's flexibility when it comes to play calls has helped him become one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history.

Much like how Manning's pre-snap routine has helped him become a winner, being flexible with your marketing can help you put up impressive statistics as well. There will be times where a well-planned campaign just isn't getting the job done. That's when it's time to tweak your strategy to cover the gaps in your marketing that you didn't expect when you launched the campaign. Don't be afraid of change.

Indoor sports are still a few months away, but if you're already excited about the upcoming NBA season, take a moment to review last year's amazing championship and read our post "What the NBA Finals Can Teach Us About Marketing."

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

When Sticking to the Script Can Do More Harm Than Good

Man on the phone reading a script
You know (or should know) the stats by now. It takes 12 positive customer service experiences to make up for one negative experience. Your probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent versus the 5-20 percent chance of selling to a new prospect. Most buying experiences (70 percent, to be exact) are based on how the customer feels they’re being treated.

These stats have been ingrained in your head, so you’ve trained your staff on exactly what to say to provide top-notch customer service over the phone. But is that really the best approach? No two customers are the same, so should your staff follow the same script with every call? Here are a few mistakes your staff could be making while following your phone scripts.

They Talk Too Fast

If your staff is too focused on saying everything in the script, they may speak so fast that callers don’t understand them. And if you’re evaluating your staff’s calls (as you should be), it might get tricky if your employees sound like auctioneers.

Encourage your employees to take the time to enunciate each word so your customers can understand what the salesperson is saying. What’s the point in training your staff what to say if your customers have to process their words in hyper speed to understand them?

They Don’t Listen

Strictly adhering to a script can sometimes mean your staff isn’t really listening to what your customers are saying. Consider the following example:

Sally Salesperson: Thanks for calling ABC Motors. This is Sally. How can I help you?
Chris Customer: Hi, my name is Chris, and I’m looking for a red four-door pickup.
Sally: Yes, sir. I’d be happy to assist you. Can I please have your name and the type of vehicle you're interested in?

Not only is it frustrating for customers to have to repeat things, but it can also unnecessarily lengthen the amount of time it takes for your staff to address each caller’s request.

Advise your representatives to make a conscious effort to listen to pertinent details the customer gives them. Suggest that they take note of those details so the caller doesn’t have to repeat them.

They Interrupt

Sometimes customers have complicated questions or issues that need extensive explanations, and other times they just like to talk. Either way, it’s never appropriate for the salesperson to interrupt them. But if your representatives are constantly focused on the next line in the script, common courtesy can take a backseat to saying what they’ve been trained to say.

Make sure your salespeople pay attention when customers are talking and only speak when the customer pauses. Your customers should always come before a checklist of things to say.

Do you allow your staff to ad-lib when speaking to customers? Have you had success with using a phone script? Let us know in the comments!