My journey to marketing started off in sales. This question was drilled into us every time we picked up the phone. It was up there with “can I take your name” in terms of priority.
This was my first job as a Sales Exec at the Royal Armouries and 20 years on, I still take an enquiry with those details. How they heard about Doo, so I know where I get my business from and where to keep spending my money.
For me, it’s simple but I am surprised at how many people fit into three different categories on this.
- They don’t ask the question.
- They are put off asking for fear of being too personal.
- They ask but do nothing with the answers.
Where do you fit? When you are taking a new enquiry over the phone for example and you’re taking all their contact details and reason for the call.
You don’t ask
You are taking as much information as possible to add to your database and to formulate a plan to help. However, at this crucial time when they are interested in you, you don’t know how they got your number in the first place.
If you don’t know where the enquiry come from, you are missing a huge opportunity to link this with how you market your business. Where you spend your money AND whether it’s well spent. Not to mention the time and effort gone into those marketing actions you thought were a good idea. Equally, you don’t know how much you are wasting and when to stop.
When you have spent a load of money on say, an exhibition or the annual fees to your networking club, even the monthly retainer to outsource your social media – how do you know that investment worked or keeps working from the enquiries you’ve had?
Whilst you can’t check pound for pound, wouldn’t it be better to know that “we had 30 new leads in November from that exhibition we did for the first time”, “since we introduced a referral scheme, we’ve had more enquiries through our existing clients”. Changing your data capture procedure to add this question in, is simple yet so powerful. You could reap even more rewards with this knowledge or keep flushing money away on useless marketing campaigns, because you don’t know they are working.
You don’t feel comfortable asking
You may feel a little awkward asking or even know when to ask, in the flow of the conversation.
You have taken their contact details, you have talked through their requirements and you have agreed next steps. Now the call comes to a close. Or does it?
First of all don’t be scared, end on a high and make it a natural part of your enquiry taking process.
Try this on your next new enquiry:
“Thank you NAME, I will ACTION AGREED by WHEN for you.
Before you go, can I just ask how you heard about us?”
If they ask why …
“It’s for our marketing records, we like to know how people hear about us so we know we’re doing a good job there”.
Why would anyone not want to part with this information? You have all their details so it’s not like this final question will make a difference to them. But it will for you.
Now introduce it for everyone:
- Print off our ‘How did hear about us?’ prompt and put it on a wall next to your phone or in reception close to those taking enquiries.
- If you have a CRM database make it a field which must be completed, so you and your team get used to asking this question.
- Update your database with this key information after every enquiry.
With most CRM systems, you can create a drop down box with examples to help track success.
- Tick one:
- Client introduction
- Social Media (split LinkedIn, Facebook to be even more organised!)
- Website search
- etc etc
You could add a note section here to record information to help with the next stage of the sales process i.e. setting up a meeting.
Do nothing with it
You complete an enquiry sheet, you find out more about how they heard about you, you add it to your database. That’s it. You don’t do anything with the data you are building up. The bank of knowledge that, at a glance, tells you where your enquiries come from, in what areas they have improved or took a hit. Using the example before, the exhibition you spent money on has done nothing in terms of new enquiries.
For this, you need to build procedures to measure, track and report your leads. A procedure that becomes engrained in your business growth programme.
Draw up a new system that includes:
- Make a diary note with a date in the month to run a report on source of enquiry (or look back at enquiry sheets and make a list). Essentially stick to this date as the day you review leads.
- Set up monthly marketing or operational meetings and include new enquires and next steps in the agenda.
- Raise this every month to formulate your plans, to monitor marketing activity and budget. With this information you can test, review and share:
- Keep doing what you are doing, it’s working for you.
- Look again and review what’s not working and define why.
- Stop doing it or consider getting an expert in to do it better.
By asking “How did you hear about us?” at the enquiry stage will reap rewards as a natural extension to how you grow your business.
You will save so much time.
You will stop wasting money.
You will know exactly where your marketing spend should be.
You can spend more and get a better return on investment because you are winning business through the right channels and tactics.