As part of our New Business process here at Positive we deploy a novel communication technique; the phone. Having read that calling prospects is so ‘over’, now that we have blogs and social media, it is great to know that less people will be doing this, as this direct feedback will become a yet more valuable resource, held only by those who can be bothered to pick up the phone.
The difficulty with speaking to prospective customers during their working day though is they do not always appreciate the call. But with a relevant offer, much politeness and a modicum of technique, there is no better way for you to survey the market for your services.
Often however they have a rival company already providing it. This is good, because trying to persuade a decision maker to buy a marketing service for the first time is seldom successful. It also reminds them to question ‘What has my PR company done for me lately?’ and it allows you to leap ahead of the other ‘for later use’ emails they have filed and blogs they have bookmarked. You have just raised your chances of being invited to any future repitches.
More frustrating though is when a decision-maker states that they do not know when they will ever review their agency. Having worked for, sold for, managed and repitched European PR networks, this is dumb. Expecting good service with this as a mindset, is the definition of insanity. Almost without exception, such responses demonstrate lazy-thinking and mask poor PR performance and a lack of understanding about what good communications is capable of.
Ten years ago life was different (see the 1999 Computer Weekly shot explaining SEO). Fax services were on PR bills (marked up by 17.25% – used or not), email systems were incompatible (a problem for IBM/Lotus Notes users) and there were maybe three times more IT titles. Five years ago, large PR conglomerates strutted around acquiring smaller tech PR shops for innovation, Twitter was not the communication channel de jour for the press and there was a smattering of IT stories (mainly IT disasters) trickling into the mainstream business press.
Today, PR and SEO is merging, press release distribution is almost free and poor IT can make you very famous very fast. A lot has changed, meaning the chances that the choice of ten years ago is still the best on the market is slim. This is something we shall remind all of our prospects in six month’s time, via the telephone.