The growth of the internet!

We all have it. We all use it. We all spend money on it. It is hard to imagine sometimes what we did before the internet came about, well I might be unemployed for a start, along with millions of others! I might still be licking envelopes and sending letters to friends across the country and the world. But the fact is it is here in a massive way. I can’t remember the last letter I sent, the last phone directory I used, the last shop I walked in even, it has revolutionised all of our lives and, in my opinion, for the better.

However, and unfortunaltely in my job there are always howevers, getting this message across to the sales people I work with, and more importantly, across to the 1000’s of SME businesses that we contact week in and out, is not always as simple as my first paragraph!

We currently have a phenomenal search engine presence. Ufindus, as a stand alone directory, has numerous listings, as well as the two new directories we have launched in smilelocal and moreuk. I have done several 121s with various new recruits explaining search engines as the libraries and us as the books. And the reason for our success is that our books are always relevant – hence their positioning.  The point is – how do we get this across to those who believe the internet is a waste of money or time. Well half the population can’t all be wrong, and those who don’t believe will be left behind!

New Training Group

This week I have had the ‘pleasure’ of a new group of inductees for our 4 Customer Street sales branches. I often change the method of the induction when I get a feel for a group and, more importantly, their knowledge of the internet and searching.

The quality of our new staff has improved dramatically over the last 12 months as we now have a dedicated Recruitment manager in Jason Harris.  The main theme of this week’s course was search engineering. This would be something I would usually cover in various work shops and evening courses but with it being a strong group of inductees I decided to cover it earlier in this instance. The results that our directories are now achieving are phenomenal. I am that confident of our service that new starters can test me on any search engine and they quote a trade and town. For every phrase I was requested to find, there was at least one Customer Street client or directory visible on the first page. Whereas Ufindus has been established for a few years now and would be expected to appear on the big 3 of Google, Yahoo and MSN it is heartening to see that already Smilelocal and Moreuk are featuring prominently also. Needless to say the group were very impressed!

Customer Street – The Problem With Sales!

Selling may be a common trade, but it certainly isn’t an easy one. We are very fair in our selection process at Customer Street and we often hire staff from varying backgrounds, who have the correct attributes and knowledge for the role, if not the experience. This obviously adds a lot to my role as the training manager for the company! And a large proportion of my time is spent in 121 training with our newest recruits.

 The difficulty in our ‘sale’ or product, is its complexity. Most advertising or internet products are very one dimensional. For example, one box in one book, or one listing under one phrase, on one search engine. The problems with Customer Street and our package is that it covers so much of the internet and this obviously means the sales person has more to say. Or as, I find, more to confuse the customer with!

 It’s a classic old sales cliche but the acronym K.I.S.S (keep it short and sweet) or to the older ‘skool’ (keep it simple stupid) but it is the best advice I can give to our staff. The 121s I have done this week have echoed this very message. Instead of breaking down Ufindus or going into great depths about Smilelocal and Moreuk, I have tried to get our staff to simplify their message to prospective customers to ensure they understand the very basics of what we do. I have taken endless calls over the years here from customers who immediately want to cancel their Customer Street package following the initial sales call. This is known widely as ‘buyers blues’ and it is not down to our product, our service or our delivery, but more a customer panicking because they have bought over the phone. I like taking calls of this nature because when you really get time to explain the complete benefits (often visually – online) customers are a lot more at ease with their purchase!

This is why I am doubling my efforts to improve the delivery of our sales pitch at present. Rather than bamboozling people with how we get found on Google or how internet directories like Ufindus work, speak in a language people understand. Although the internet is now well into its 2nd decade (in the mainstream) it is still a relatively new concept to many – therefore our sales people’s approach should reflect this.

Sales Meeting

After a successful week with the newest recruits last week, I am today working in our Cutomer Street branch in Chorley. I delivered our daily sales meeting where we outline the prerogatives for the week. I read out some of our recent success stories from our customers including the newest results on search engines for smilelocal, ufindus and moreuk. We have some awesome first page results on the search engines for customers who have only just signed up with us.

 I always feel the key to training is repetition. We constantly keep our staff updated on all news feeds from the internet and obviously the success of our product and brand. If we continue to echo these messages to our staff – they can replicate these stories to our customers. Today the focus was on the ufindus brand. I outlined the historical benefits of the directory that contribute to the milliions of visitors and leads we generate every day. From advertising on TV, to sponsored links, to our current fantastic organic listings we have always given Ufindus a high profile and a lot of our sales staff can take this for granted. Obviously our sales people are eager to talk about our newest directories smilelocal and moreuk. However, they should outline every element of the Customer Street package to ensure our customers see the complete benefits to our service.

Customer Street Induction

I yesterday inducted 15 new starters to Customer Street. They were selected through our recruitment department where they had to demonstrate high levels of professionalism and an in depth knowledge of the internet.

 The induction covers all areas of our products from UFindUsSmilelocal and MoreUk and more importantly the proof of the fantastic results we are now achieving through major search engines like Google and Yahoo. The hardest part of the sales person’s role is differentiating why our product benefits businesses more than our competition. The problem with Customer Street is displaying to the Customer the long term benefits of an established web presence.

There are various scams and poor services that dog our market sector, therefore, I prove to our staff just how the products work to instill as much belief in our staff in the training so they can confidently demonstrate how well our product compares to others.

The key to succeeding in advertising telesales is maintaining professionalism, not being rude and meeting the needs of the individual customers that you speak to.