Over the past 10-weeks I have had a number of discussions on tracking. Many organizations collect their tracking information from their sales staff. However, one area that can be really misleading, in terms of collecting proper information, is not letting your staff know what you are doing and what questions to ask.
I see this many times, an organization will place an ad in a newspaper and then post it in their location for their staff and their customers to see. What about the other types of advertising? If you advertise in the phone book, in a magazine, business newspaper, online directories, online search engines, etc. what about those methods.
If all your staff ever see is what you are advertising in newspaper print, I bet you 9 times out of 10, they are always reporting back to you that newspaper is driving all the leads to your location. My assumption as to why businesses are so fixated on newspaper is because the cost to advertise is so high, they are trying everything to justify that their ad dollars are well spent.
What about your ad board? What if you posted all your various forms of advertising on this board? What happens now? 1) your staff knows how much work you really put into bringing leads in for them, I call this positive reinforcement, 2) your prospects will see the same thing and when prompted where they found your business they might be inclined to tell you they actually saw your ad in 3 or 4 places, I call this the power of the media mix, and 3) it extends the reach of your advertising and helps perpetuate word of mouth, I call this telling people where you advertise so they can tell other people where you advertise to get your name, number, or address.
I have actually observed clients at auto dealers, who have purchased a car, provide incorrect information about how they found the dealership and what brought them in. Here is one example I observed. A husband and wife were purchasing a new mini-van. The sales person actually took them to the ad board to show them the latest specials they were running in the newspaper. After 10 minutes of conversation, the deal was pretty much done and the couple purchased their vehicle. They met with their business manager, signed all the paperwork and then proceeded downstairs, where I was still chatting with some of the staff and observing the sales process on the floor.
I started to converse with the couple and asked them when the business manager asked you what prompted you to purchase the mini-van, what did you tell them? They replied, the sales person was grateful enough to show us the specials on the board, so that ad in the newspaper. I asked another question, did you see the ad before stepping into the showroom? The answer was no. So my third and last question was, what exactly brought you down to this location. Their response to me was they just moved to Calgary and went onto the Internet to search for the closest dealership, of this particular make/model, to their home. They saw this dealerships website, visited the dealership once before and this was their 2 visit to the showroom.
Do you see the problem with the above story? The first problem is that the business manager is getting the wrong information because they now believe their newspaper ad was responsible for this sale. The second problem in this case, was the sales person only knows of 1 place that the dealership advertisers, hence everything in their mind comes from there.
Lastly consider this. If you take a professional driving course, they always tell you that if you lose control of your vehicle, position your eyes in the place where you want the vehicle to go and your body will react where your eyes look. In other words, if you lose control of your vehicle and stare intently at a tree, most likely you are going to hit that tree.
As a business owner, where are you pointing your sales staff’s eyes? Are you getting the answers from your sales people that you want or need to hear to justify the money you are spending? Or are you giving them the lessons and instructions of a professional driver so they can give you real tracking information?