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Digital-vocal-personal: Determining the right communication mix

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When I get a lot of calls and emails from managers on the same subject, I take note.  Right now, the big challenge for my managers is to figure out how to get prospects to talk to us. It’s become harder than it used to be because of our inability to get people on the phone.  And that impedes our ability to set opening appointments

I’ve spoken with several of my clients in the last couple of weeks about this cultural shift in our society. Our “smartphones” are not phones per se; they are small computers that happen to have a phoning feature.

Most people don’t use that feature as much as the other ones -— like texting or searching.  Older cell phones were actual “mobile phones” with very few other options. 

The change in this technology is important to our discussion because a smartphone can help you quickly send information that doesn’t require the tedium of a call (i.e. dial, wait for the pick-up, and leave a voice message). You can text in a fraction of the time. Emailing takes a little more time. But phoning takes the most time.

So how does that figure into the marketing plans for our newest recruits who are building their practices?  I think we need to find the right mix of digital, vocal and personal communication.

First, accept that the way you built your practice isn’t the way your 2015 recruit should build his.  You must consider more modern ideas.  Cold calling and dialing 300 times a week becomes depressing because the contact rate is so abysmal it creates a negative pattern for the rookie.

Second, technology is great, but make sure to continually manage its potential overreach. Young producers are quick to use technology all the time and not recognize the importance of speaking to someone directly — on the phone or in person.

Third, choose more face-to-face marketing ideas for your entire team. Don’t rely on individuals to create their own markets all the time. Think as an agency and suggest ideas that require a lot of people.

Fourth, don’t assume your producers can “run with” your ideas.  If you suggest they exhibit at the next local home show, go down a detailed “to do” list of activities they may not be aware of.  Among them:

  • Keep the furniture in your booth in an “open” layout to invite people in.

  • Have the right kind of lead cards. Know which literature to bring and what is a waste of money.

  • Role-play how they should interact with attendees.

  • Brainstorm things they can say to people to grab their attention as they walk by.

  • Discuss the negative outcome of using a raffle.

  • Help them manage their leads and call backs when they come home with new names. Know the script they’ll use with the people they interacted with.

  • Tell them to bring their appointment calendar and  offer the follow up appointment right at the show if they interact enough to make the suggestion.

The marriage of digital communication, vocal communication (i.e. phone calls) and face-to-face personal interactions is an important part of our ever-changing culture.  How we manage this mix will make or break some of the careers of new recruits who rely on us to tell us how it’s done. If we don’t figure it out soon, we may lose some talented people.