Maximizing Technology in Sales Presentations and Beyond
The tablet allows sales consultants to provide an interactive demonstration of security and home automation features. Plus, learn how selfies and short video clips can help woo prospects and existing clientele.
By Russ Ackerman
Twenty years ago the most creative sales organizations were using flip charts and notebooks for sales presentations. We stayed in touch with our customers and prospects either by telephone or by direct mail. There was no sign of using any creative technology to create sales. As time progressed we began to use email as a direct source of reaching out to our customers and prospects.
Today, there are many new, creative ways to increase sales, using the technology that we have in our hands right now. Some security companies are using E-mail marketing campaigns instead of direct mail for creating leads. Many sales groups in the security industry have been using laptops and iPads for several years. This allows the sale consultant to do more exciting and interactive sales presentations.
Jeremy Bates, general manager of Lexington, Kent.-based Bates Security, led the company’s charge to become one of the first alarm companies in the country to use iPads for their sales presentations. Today, Bates Security is filing electronic agreements from the home or business using electronic signatures.
What’s next? What else can we do to create more sales by using the technology that is available to us right now? Here are a few ideas that are already being used, primarily by sales organizations outside the alarm industry.
Aces for Business
What if your prospect already knew something about the sales consultant or technician who was coming to visit them before he or she arrived?
Ray Johnson of Johnson Pest Control in Sevierville, Tenn., came up with the idea of E-mailing the prospect a picture and a brief bio of the sales consultant or technician who would be showing up at their door. Johnson hired a software development team to develop the system called Aces for Business.
“The customer response has been phenomenal,” Johnson said.
Just a few minutes after the appointment is set the prospect receives an E-mail with a photo of the sales consultant or technician along with information about the individual. You can also include other bits of information concerning what the prospect should expect when the company representative arrives, he explained.
A few security companies currently use Aces for Business, including Connect One, in Houston and Vector Security in Florida. Vector’s Cory Safer says the prospects are happy to give out their E-mail address when he explains that “it is for their protection.” It eliminates that uncomfortable feeling of wondering who is going to be showing up at their home.
Acquiring the E-mail addresses can bolster up your contact data base as well. Most companies using Aces for Business are also E-mailing a brief questionnaire back to the customer after the appointment.
Companies using Aces for Business claim that it is not unusual for customers to come to the door with their smartphone in their hand comparing the image on the phone to the person at the door. These companies say that it also really helps set them apart from the competition and adds professionalism.
Selfies Are Not Just For Fun
G-Force Security, a large security guard company in south Miami has taken selfies to a whole new level. After they do a sales presentation the sales consultant takes a minute to do a quick selfie thank you note, then sends it by text to the prospect. Gary Ackerman, the owner of G-Force, says they have even done simple videos using a smartphone or a tablet to send back to the prospect through texting.
One video that Ackerman recorded was a brief tour of his office to introduce the prospective customer to several of the staff who the prospect would be interacting with after they became his customer. The selfies and videos are not professionally produced, but are extremely effective, according to Ackerman.
Other sales organizations are using the video feature on their tablet or smartphone to do quick testimonials from their new customer. After the sale they ask the customer to take a minute and explain why they selected his company rather than the competitor. What about doing a selfie reminder to your prospect concerning the installation date? Experts all agree that if you over do it by sending to many E-mails or text selfies they will lose their effectiveness very quickly.
E-mail vs. Texting
E-mail is still massively effective. It is the quickest way to reach your prospects or current customers. E-mail, like texting, allows you to reach out to your customers anywhere and anytime.
According to the U.S. Consumer Device Preference Report of Q4 2013, E-mails are shifting away very quickly from the desktop and to a mobile device. In fact, of all E-mails that are opened, 65% are on a mobile device. Only 38% of the readers are spending more than 15 seconds reading the E-mails. They are quickly deleted or saved to be read at a later time.
For this reason, E-mail correspondence must have a clever subject line and be very brief. The biggest advantage to E-mail is that you can send attachments and E-mail allows you more text and graphic design options over SMS text messages.
Where texting seems to have the advantage is that people are more likely to read a brief text message whereas unopened E-mail can tend to stack up in their inbox. Companies that are texting claim that they are more likely to get a quick response from the reader.
The survey from the U.S. Consumer Device Preference Report also states that for E-mail or texting to be taken seriously, the communication must be brief and should not be perceived as advertising. Consumers are much more likely to read the content if it appears to contain information relating directly to them personally.
We cannot ignore the power that we have in our hands with smartphones and tablets. To continue to be effective in communicating with our prospects and customers, we must place a high priority on mobile optimization.
Russ Ackerman is District Sales Director for Vector Security in Jacksonville, Fla. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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