Service is more important than ever for list sales professionals. Competition in the list marketplace is much keener than before, and superior customer service can set a company ahead of the competition. Poor customer service, conversely, can break a deal.
In the list business, it’s still all about relationships. We at list services firms partner with our clients to make sure that we are supporting them in all aspects of their business. We consider brokers “clients” too. With responses down and co-op database usage up, we need to be sure we are providing them with what they need. Communication should be the list manager’s mantra.
The broker’s feedback is also important. Some brokers out there are not willing to share specific results. Stay in touch. Without knowing what went wrong in a mailing, you can’t help to fix it.
Clients expect dedicated salespeople. We must provide accurate yet aggressive forecasts and sales plans, followed up by timely reports. Clients need to be assured that you are on top of their account. With the list business the way it is, they need to know that you are also looking outside the proverbial box (for instance, at out-of-category mailers) to obtain maximum usage. Otherwise you will limit the list’s potential.
If you’re a list professional, don’t shy away from asking clients what their circulation plans are—outside lists vs. co-op usage, for example—or how their business is doing. It’s important to let them know that you are looking at their business as a whole, not just one portion of it.
A list owner’s circulation is very telling. Is the file size expected to grow? Can you keep up with the amount of turns? Or is the file expected to stay flat or shrink? This will also allow you to project the rental/exchange ratio on the list. Accurate forecasts will let the client know that you are aware of their business and you’re on top of your game.
Tony Troiano is a senior sales executive at Hackensack, NJ-based marketing services firm Mokrynskidirect.