Working Virtually

September 10, 2017

This bears repeating as many times as necessary

Filed under: Uncategorized — pwalbridge @ 3:16 pm

It might be time for the media to be knocked down a peg or two. Journalists might need to find different work if their job requires them pitting one American against another for any kind of “gain”.

I watched live video of Irma hitting Florida. I don’t know if it was a reporter or a police officer but the person thought to focus on an American flag for several minutes in the storm.

We are all Americans. There’s something to be said about our recent natural disasters – they’ve brought us together again. The 24 hour news cycles need to be filled with something and it’s torn us apart. Not everything that appears to be progress actually is. Americans helping each other, regardless of your background, are what we are. Why do we need media to tear us apart when we do just fine without them?

God bless America. We will rebuild, always.

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August 19, 2017

USA – do we want to keep it?

Filed under: Uncategorized — pwalbridge @ 4:37 pm

I started this in my head a dozen times, not sure what direction this was going to go in. I saw on the news about the Nazi rally and just started to see and hear screaming online. Then heard about a person driving into the crowd. Last I knew I think there were three deaths. I made the mistake of just wondering what the other side to this story was. You aren’t supposed to do that. I’d happen to glance at other news stories here and there, more important statues dedicated to the US founding that were being considered for the chopping block. My mom called, upset by the defacing. I looked a little, enough so I was pretty upset and just stayed off my normal news places. Yes, the defacing has happened more than once. The point is it shouldn’t happen at all. My parents are still alive and part of The Greatest Generation. When they speak about these kinds of things, they grew up knowing government isn’t to be trusted and what it can do. They lived during a time of war. When my mom pulled out a history book my dad said tongue in cheek, “Better put that away, it’ll get burned!” The attempt to erase history takes a couple forms, one of which is physically removing a historical statue. The logical conclusion of the statues coming down and for the reasons they’re coming down is that the United States needs to be destroyed.

Laugh. Never happen, you’re crazy!

Am I?

Think about it. The Constitution was written by slave owners, imperfect white men, so anything connected with them should be destroyed. ANYthing. Kids have been taught for years that the US is bad for a number of reasons. So it stands to reason that this awful place needs to be destroyed.

It’s also a way to get rid of Trump. People that didn’t vote for him and can’t deal with him being in power are doing everything they can to unseat him. The process in which he was elected simply cannot stand, it must be changed. There’s also a section of Washington, DC that doesn’t want to lose their jobs. They live off tax money and don’t want to end that gravy train.

But what’s going to happen if say the Washington Memorial, the Statue of Liberty and the place where the Constitution is stored is bombed, destroyed? Let’s push that envelope. I’ve said that we’re in another civil war for a couple years now. Some has come to firearms and killing the other person. It has torn apart friends and family. The first civil war was never declared, it just…happened. Another civil war can happen.

There are a lot of Americans that still believe in the United States. I’m not going to into why we’re different from so many countries on the earth. Anybody willing to open a history book that hasn’t yet been burned or rewritten needs to read about our history, how we came to be. Those who founded this country lost everything. Families. Homes. Careers. Integrity. Scandal after scandal was written about them so they had to defend themselves or go into hiding. Basically shut up and go away. Sound familiar? If you can find something written about the most barbaric countries and what they do to their people, read that. If. Because governments hate it when you know certain things and will cloud as much as possible with propaganda. ANY government, including ours. This is why it is so important the government is kept in check because power is seductive. KEEP IT SMALL or it will grow just like it has. Government isn’t going to limit itself, the people who put this government into power, us, need to keep it from getting into everything, which has happened.

Some people have gone there, if the United States is destroyed. It’s mind boggling, so many things we use or take for granted today might not be there. What would we use as currency, since without money we can’t buy food, shelter? Paper money, coins might be worthless. It has pictures of those slave owners on it so we can’t use it. There’s more than one reason our currency can’t be used anymore. Do we have a gold standard? Would it still be there? What’s left of any civility we have left now will be gone. Cities will burn. Things that happen during war will show up.

I can’t say for certain but I don’t doubt a founding father might have said something like, “We have our republic – if we can keep it”. A government that is big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have.

June 6, 2017

Robo calls

Filed under: Uncategorized — pwalbridge @ 4:42 pm

I get them on my work phone.  My disabled husband gets them on his old flip phone.  If I plugged in on my landline I’d get them on that.   My husband bought it thinking he was going to use the landline and since he’s hard of hearing, the ringer is loud.  I can’t have that going off while working.  So yes, it even affects people who work phones for a living.

 

I suppose a person could be vindictive and could say something like, “How does it feel?”  It would be appropriate if I operated the same way.  I don’t.  There are legal telemarketing hours to work in and you need to watch your time zones, among many other laws governing what I do.  I have a hard time with that now because the people I contact can have an eastern time area code and be located on the other coast without my knowing.

 

I worked at one place in the southwest years ago that wasn’t all that bad.  We sold newspapers coast to coast on an autodialer that would connect you when the call was live.  I did pretty well with the northeasterners, not so good with those on the west coast.  Two completely different cultures.  This was in the ‘90’s though, when there might have still been some respect for the person on the other line.  Companies might not have been pinching marketing pennies so hard.

 

I wonder if the rise of these is due to not respecting your neighbor because there is no self respect? Only caring about the dollar?  But without money, a company and the jobs it provides can’t exist.   Without respecting yourself, you can’t respect your neighbor.  I can understand the company trying to find the best way to market a product or service and dealing with a budget.  I can understand the product or service might be an impulse purchase so the plan is just to “hammer” people.  Did they have the budget to put toward a market analysis?  Or did they try to do that and it blew up in their face?  Because you market to everybody, you market to nobody.  And this is aimed toward private industry.  The scams are another subject entirely.  People who do scams by nature will not obey laws.  They only care about themselves.

 

Looking back at an old post, I wonder if boiler rooms exist anymore.  It’s less expensive to put machines to work dialing and maybe pay telecommuters pennies on the dollar.  And I can well understand that the Do Not Call list is useless since it takes nothing to get around it.  I believe that list was started by the government.  If tax dollars are going to it, shut it down.  It’s worthless.

 

How would a private industry benefit from this problem?  Because while it’s all well and good that government attempts to do something, that’s all it usually winds up being is an attempt and still another of many roads for our tax dollars to uselessly travel.  One company has sprung up that probably just needs to be expanded on:  Nomorobo.  Provide a service to keep these down.  I can hear the argument of “I shouldn’t have to pay to keep these away”.  Well, the marketing industry is always evolving.  The phone is still the best way to reach people.  And scams don’t care so no government law will affect them.  Or at least it may take 10-20 years to shut somebody down and by that time 20,000 more have sprung up.  Necessity is the mother of invention.

 

Screening your calls works well.  I understand completely when people call me back after listening to my message.  I’ve had countless people tell me they won’t pick up initially.  But my market is a lot more respectful of each other.  Or should that matter?

 

A commenter in an article mentioned about making something like Nomorobo a part of normal phone service.  Another commenter mentioned about having a phone with a call blocking button.  Still another wondered about disrupting profits enough (hit them in the wallet) so they’re overwhelmed.  The first two I think are more doable.  There needs to be incentive for both the phone company and Nomorobo though to encourage a match.  Why should they get together?  Since companies are motivated by profit, a deal would need to be made.  If a company can’t profit, they can’t exist. Yes, it might be a good idea but we all still need to put food on our table and a roof over our heads and nice thoughts alone might not get that job done.   Since most of what government gets involved in winds up not working, I REALLY don’t want them to make the first move.  But that unfortunately might be where the movement starts.  People complain about “corporate welfare”.  Is that really bad when it’s something useful like this?

 

Somethings to think about.

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/telemarketer-3-rise-robocalls

 

April 12, 2017

Why would a company deliberately encourage a “boiler room” atmosphere?

Filed under: Uncategorized — pwalbridge @ 4:17 pm

I know not everybody has heard that term “boiler room”. It’s an appropriate term. A boiler under enough heat or pressure explodes. The same thing that happens with a machine happens with a person. You’re pushed to make sales, appointments etc. Pushed to object the person on the other end off the phone, not listening to “no”. At the end of your shift you’ve developed a headache because management needs x amount of “yeses” daily. Although yes, sales and marketing is a numbers game, how those numbers are handled is often based on the nature of the business.

There’s a couple reasons for that atmosphere. The nature of the business is one. The product or service, the demographics. In order to be profitable, to make enough money to afford to keep the lights on, space rental and pay employees, a certain number of connections need to say “yes”. Hopefully the business will grow. Impulse purchases, services maybe the toughest for me anyway. I’m very relationship oriented. Impulse is the shortest cycle. Properly present the idea, people grab it. Or not. Next. Depending on results, recraft the message or presentation. Impulse purchases, services tend to be less expensive. Less thought is used going into the transaction. It’s not as big a deal if the product or service doesn’t work for that person. The longer sales cycle, the higher the price, the more companies and individuals might need to engage in dialogue. Consult budgeting and ROI. The call, the communication is handled differently. As a general rule, in my experience, the higher the income, the more polite the rejection is. It’s important, even though you’ve been rejected, to not leave a bad taste in the mouth of the person rejecting you. Be open to future dialogue. The company’s product, service or employees may change and you treating them with respect is huge PR. This may also result in a future referral.

Another reason for the boiler room atmosphere is budgetary. A company may not be able to afford to pay their employees well. May not be able to offer benefits. So people are burned out, looking for results/money first. I’ve experienced this many times both outside and inside the home. Yes, you can burn out working from home.

Management can also be a reason, although that can tie into the nature of the business. People of all ages and incomes can have attitudes, can be difficult to work with. I’ve dealt with boiler room managers. There is a finite length of time they can be dealt with. They operate from a different point of view and there may be nothing you can do about it except to watch for yourself. Through my career I’ve learned to hold up a mirror or put the problem where it belongs should I need to. This, more often than not, has been toward the end of that job. Those whose rank or pay that is higher than mine may resent that I knew an answer to a problem that s/he should have known so I’m shown the door.

The boiler room atmosphere is great teacher on a couple levels. You learn what you can deal with – and what you can’t.

I expect the boiler rooms still exist although I haven’t been in one for a long time. The increasing need for sales being as much customer service may decrease their existence.

April 4, 2017

“Everybody lies, especially over the phone”

Filed under: Uncategorized — pwalbridge @ 10:21 pm

You’ll miss out on a lot of leads/sales/appts with that cynical attitude.  If you believe people are basically good as opposed to assuming they’re all ignoring you, you’ll go a lot farther.  I used to blow people’s minds at one of my call centers.  It was a newspaper sales place back when newspapers still were one of the ways people learned of their news.  It was nationwide.  I did better on the northeast than in CA.  I would be told to call back at x time to reach the proper person.  I did it, and my sales blew people away.  One fellow employee asked, “How do you do that?”  I explained simply that I was told to call back at x time, so I did.  The employee was incredulous that I believed the person on the other end.  They aren’t always lying to get you off the phone.  Sometimes the proper person really isn’t there.     I’m thinking, why not give it a try?  The worst that could happen is I actually do get voicemail.

March 29, 2017

Cutting your losses on a non productive call

Filed under: Uncategorized — pwalbridge @ 5:40 pm

You already know there’s no interest, the person isn’t looking.  Depending on the product or service you’re working with, there maybe some need to cover objections.  Leave the website with them and thank them for their time.  Your next call might be somebody with an interest and you get that solid appointment.

How to increase your ratio of quality appointments – if you’re getting nowhere after a certain period of time, get off the phone. In the short run, yes, you might get more money out of the client for your pay.  But we’re looking at long term.  You want more money per hour out of a future client.  So work yourself up to that level.   If you have the option to leave messages, if a call comes in, do your best to grab it.  It might be an appt.  Thus, you’re spending less time on the phone so your boss is happy (less they have to pay you) and your increasing their quality appointments so the client is happy.  Continue this and once people learn your work, you’ll have higher level positions (higher pay!) contacting you!

It’s the information age and there’s now a whole industry devoted to collection and use of information.  Some of this usage can be scary to the point of ID theft so it’s understandable some people can get upset over finding out their information is someplace they didn’t have knowledge of it going.  In the event somebody is upset to the point of contacting your employer, it’s important to not get upset or scared yourself.  As long as you are on the level, give the problem to the appropriate person – your employer.  And let it go.  Those calls are thankfully few and far between.  I can think of one call in which I could potentially see it going in that direction and since a) I of course couldn’t reveal the answer and b) it’s not something I should deal with, I just took very strong control of the call – with a six figure executive.  I did the equivalent of running right over him, thanked him for his time and got off the phone.  There have been times where I would have loved to have recorded calls to give examples.

I can take strong control of a call, even with a six figure executive.  On the other hand, there are times when the other end controls you and it’s not entirely bad.  People are understandably suspicious of a cold call and they have questions they might hammer you with.  You may or may not get that lead or appointment, it winds up being more of a public relations call.  You earn trust in a different way – being willing to give information without insisting on a lead or appointment at that moment.  Some people will not be convinced any other way of the company you represent without them being allowed to research you on their terms so you give them the information you have to the best of your knowledge and go onto the next call.

How many times have you been in the presence of somebody who doesn’t take no for an answer?  There’s stress on both ends.  The person presenting the idea already hears the phone being hung up but the phone room manager and/or company policy insists on x number of objections.  The person hearing the idea is angry that no – for whatever reason – isn’t being understood.

Know when your prospect has said “no”.  Many won’t say those magic words, “Not interested”.  Listening between the lines to the tone of your prospect will save both of you stress.  No stress on them allows them to look at you on their terms. Down the road they may determine that they actually want your services and will not only remember that you treated them with respect by not objecting them off the phone but they might actually give you referrals.  No stress on your part for letting them go means a) you’ll keep your job longer and b) you’ll find the next enthusiastic “yes” that shows up and is a sale.

Try  to match the tone of the person you’re speaking with as closely as you can.  As a northeasterner, the toughest tone for me to match is Californian.  Their culture is different enough from mine so I have a tough time relating to them.  When speaking to CEO’s, they want to get to the bottom line quickly so the more focused you are on getting to the point, the better.  They’ll let you know if they have time to be chatty so you can relax with some, talk with them and develop a better prospect.  But until that time, “just the facts, ma’am”.  From that extreme – to the person who sounds like they’re mortified, frightened of you.  Understand you may not have a lead here.  Their voice is very quiet.  YOU need to be quiet and gentle as well.  They’ve run into way too many aggressive people over the phone or that’s just the way they are.

You call somebody and they attack you.  They’ve had a bad day, too many phone calls so they aren’t listening anymore.  Cut your losses, tell them what you are if they’re willing to listen to that and let them go.  No lead here.  Or, you called, left a message and they called you back to attack rather than just blowing the call off.  Thank them for calling, they could have just deleted the message and googled.  Who are you, what are you selling?  If you’re interrupted while trying to answer their question, point out that you’re just trying to answer their question.  Bad day, too many phone calls, i.e. not listening.  Leave them with the website, don’t try to get that lead.  It’s not there.

The telemarketing world has generally brought it on itself to have people play pranks and games on the worker.  So when I get it, I generally shrug it off.  There are occasions though where you’re dealing with higher caliber professionals.  I normally take into account people have a bad day, they may be the umteenth phone person they’ve spoken to in that day, etc. so most times irritated people just slide off my back.  The higher caliber professionals are much better educated, tend to behave much better.  They generally treat others with respect since they have their own self respect.   I need to speak in a different language with these professionals.  I’m simply informing them and inviting them to come in.  No harm done if they decline, maybe this isn’t a good time for them.  I…can surprise people who are asking for bluntness with…being blunt.  A blunt, monosyllabic answer can be an embarrassment  for someone who isn’t listening, saying, “I’m trying to tell you the answer but you’re not allowing me to.  Have a great day”.   There are many ways for a person to not be listening.

March 14, 2017

The Psychology of Letting them go

Filed under: Uncategorized — pwalbridge @ 8:45 pm

It’s not uncommon that business owners, managers only look at the short term.  They’re looking for immediate results when it comes to hiring a marketer.  It’s also understandable, they’re looking for the most bang for their buck as soon as possible.  They’ve probably also hired so many people to market their business that they’re fried on the idea.  Everybody claims to be able to get the job done but the ROI each time is garbage.

So the idea that I would happily “let a fish off the hook” might sound absurd – but it often works.  Time is money, you don’t want to waste time on an appointment that you felt like you had to sell the person on and they wind up not showing.  Provided the person allows you to do so, explain the appointment.  Then allow them the option to back out so it’s a quality appointment – acknowledge that they said up front they were happy where they were, but I thought I’d explain this to you to see if you’d like to sit down and have a chat anyway.

I did this for commissioned salespeople.  I’d set the appointment, they’d go out and the product sold.  I did this enough so I remember overhearing a manager asking why all the salespeople would hover over my desk, looking for leads.  She was told “her appointments sell”.  When you’re on commission, every appointment counts if you have a mortgage, car payment etc.

February 21, 2017

Keep it Simple

Filed under: Uncategorized — pwalbridge @ 2:49 pm

Life is complicated enough.  People don’t have time. They’re tired. Their brain hurts.   Don’t throw the kitchen sink at them.  No need to yell to get people’s attention.  Speak softly, use small words.  Although you might be accused of being simple, simple still gets the job done.  People like simple because so many things are complicated.  One step at a time.  Introduce your company with one product.  Let people get used to it, find out if they like it.

February 14, 2017

Why is marketing done?

Filed under: Uncategorized — pwalbridge @ 8:37 pm

Marketing is done because you can have the best product, service or website out there and nobody knows it’s there.  The art of marketing is based on finding buyers and encouraging sales for a product or service.  A business has a product or service that will benefit people in some way.  Commercials may promise a product or service will “change your life”.  For some people, that might indeed be the case.  You need to find a way to target the people who would buy this product and approach them where they are.  Some people won’t be reached by phone exclusively so a combination of different places may be used.  Language is important to a point.  Some words bring positive things to mind, other words you try to avoid.  Image, pictures are important.  What does x mean to you?

Why is that tool (the phone) so scary?  You don’t know what the person on the other end is going to say?  You don’t know what you’ll say?  As for the second question, figure out what the likely questions are going to be, at least to the best of your knowledge, and figure out how you’ll respond.  It can be a funny learning curve that I’ve experienced many times – I’ve got somebody on the other end, what do I do with them?   You might get a question that isn’t anticipated so you fall on your face and sound like you weren’t trained.  Oh well.  Consider it a trial to see what will work.

February 7, 2017

History

Filed under: Uncategorized — pwalbridge @ 5:07 pm

Looking up the history of sales and marketing takes a little searching.  The nature of marketing is sheer numbers and everybody builds a better mousetrap.  Thinking back into human history, possibly the first sales happened as trades rather than a product or service for a currency.  In 1450, Gutenberg’s metal movable type for the creation of flyers and brochures is arguably the start of something anywhere remotely close to what we understand in 2014 for marketing. Telemarketing started in the 1950’s.  And as much as many people swear by online advertising and the death of phone marketing, even today it’s still the best way to reach people.

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