I got yet another cold call at the office today. The sales drone on the other end, as soon as they confirmed they got a live human being, immediately launched into their pitch.
"Mr. Penn, I'd like just 15 minutes of your time to go over your telecom needs and introduce you to SomeRandomCompany, a leading national provider of..."
I lost him after the leading national provider. I think he went on for about 2 more minutes before pausing to ask when he could schedule an appointment to waste even more of my time, after which he got a polite and very brief "thanks for calling, please remove me from your call list, happy holidays, good day sir".
Another mutual waste of time. Even if I had telecom needs, I wouldn't use his services. Why? I despise being interrupted at work (we're busier than ever at the Student Loan Network!), and nothing is worse than cold calling, whether on the phone or in person. (office supplies sales drones, I'm looking at you)
These folks are trying old school interruption marketing and it just doesn't work any more. Why? If I don't have telecom needs, then you're just wasting everyone's time. If I have telecom needs, I'm not going to wait for someone to interrupt me. I'm going to go to Google, type in telecom companies near 02169, and see what comes up. Simultaneously, I'm going to use Twitter or LinkedIn to ask trusted business associates who they use for their telecom and if they're happy with them.
Are you still using interruption marketing techniques? You shouldn't be - partly because I'm sure you've seen their effectiveness decline, but also because there are better ways to market. I had another guy leave a spam comment on my blog advertising his expert SEO services. I guarantee if I Google SEO expert, he won't be in the top 3 results.
The very best thing you can do as a business looking to make a marketing move is to have something worth talking about that's amazing. Do something amazing. Do something useful. If you're a telecom who wants my company's business, fine. Do something so incredible that I won't ever look anywhere else.
Look at a company like Hubspot and their Web Site Grader. It's a great, free tool that is amazingly good at what it does, and if I ever needed inbound marketing services, I wouldn't even bother calling anyone else. If their free product is this awesome, their paid products must really rock the house.
I love the service I get from Blue Sky Factory for email. (full disclosure, they sponsor Marketing Over Coffee and PodCamp, and the Student Loan Network is a client) Name another email service provider that lets me IM tech support AND the CEO whenever I need help, and has a Twitter outpost that lets me hit them up for non-urgent stuff. When I was doing due diligence pricing research recently, one email provider's live chat was with a customer rep who had no interest in answering my question about price. They stuck to script despite the fact that their answers had nothing to do with the questions I was asking that they didn't even make it onto the short list. As my friend Chris Brogan said, customer service is the new PR - and your customer service has to be amazing.
Part of my work at the Student Loan Network is to bring a little of that magic to the student loan industry. We crank out eBooks like candy, like the new FAFSA line by line eBook and the Scholarship Search Secrets eBook, plus participate on all the major social networks so that we can be found. If you're not interested or looking for student loans, that's fine. I don't want to interrupt you. If you are looking for student loans, then it's my aim to have built presence of mind with our free goodies that will put us at the top of your short list.
The takeaway for you is simple: what can you do that's amazing? What can you do that will absolutely dominate mindshare in your vertical and make you the painfully obvious choice for anyone who needs your products or services?
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