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Tag: field communications

Recently I photographed an event for a client that totally “gets it” when it comes to social media. They had a home office employee dedicated to posting pictures immediately after I took them. At first I thought this was going to be a huge pain in my backside. But it didn’t take long for me to get caught up in the excitement. Within minutes, the sales consultants at this event were checking Facebook and tagging themselves in the photos. They would then update their status with something exciting that was happening at the meeting. There was a buzz all during the conference among the consultants but more important was the affect it was having all over the country. Hundreds and eventually thousands of friends had become fans of this company. I was so intrigued by what was happening that I asked several people how they were liking it. They shared that posting all these pictures during the conference opened up many conversations about the product and career opportunity that probably would have never happened.

Mark Taulbee is a professional event photographer and commercial product photographer with over 25 years experience in the direct selling industry. Learn more about Mark and how he can help your company with photography at http://www.luceandassociates.com/Mark-Taulbee.html. To view some of his work visit http://www.proshotsevent.com and http://www.taulbeephoto.com.

In my past three blog posts, I’ve focused on the planning and production of January Leadership Conferences.  Many of my suggestions concerned using your January Conference to gather what you need to promote your big event, your national conference, which most companies hold in the summer.   

 For the most part we’ve discussed what to do.  Today, I’d like to explore who will do these things, and how they’ll get them done.  But first, let’s take a quick look back at the key “what’s.” 

 WHAT:  At your January Leadership Conference, what you want to do is:

-         Collect  quotes about your 2010 event

-         Record leaders talking about your 2011 theme

-         Gather stories you can use at your 2011 event

WHO: Since we’re essentially talking about interviews, you need an interviewer. Make being that interviewer someone’s assigned job. Don’t let it be something someone will get to at some point. If your company has a relationship with a local videographer, consider bringing him or her with you to do it.  If not, designate someone on your January Conference team as the official interviewer.  This should be someone who can devote a couple of hours a day to the project and is comfortable working with the sales force.

HOW:

1.  First, invest in some kind of video camera if you don’t have one already.  Prices have dropped amazingly over the past few years, and the week after Christmas is a great time to find bargains.  A collapsible tripod is a good idea too.

2.  Set a time and place at your January Leadership conference for the interviewer to videotape Leaders.  A separate room is best.  How many Leaders you interview is up to you, but definitely set a schedule. 

3.  Create a list of interview questions. Then share those questions well ahead of time with the people you’re going to interview. You want them to already have their answers in mind when you meet with them.

4.  Ask open-ended questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. Some examples might be:

-         What is your fondest memory of our 2010 event?

-         What would you say to someone considering coming to their first national conference?

-         Describe what (2011 theme) means to you.

-         How would you relate (2011 theme) to our business?

-         What made you decide to become a Leader?

-         What person or event has most shaped you professionally?  Tell us about that.

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, asking attendees to bring a personal photo they can tell a story about is a great way to get compelling stories. 

It may sound like work now, but it’s truly time well spent. Once you have these interviews done, you’ll be amazed at the wealth of rich, human-interest material you’ve accumulated. You’ll have everything you need to promote your national conference, and build great presentations for it as well.  

Writer/Events Producer Dick Wilson has been adding creative touches to direct sales meetings for over 20 years.  Learn more how Dick can help you at http://luceandassociates.com/Dick-Wilson.html.

If you or your company is hiring a photographer to take pictures at your events, make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Documentation, recognition and training photos are fine but there is so much more that the right pictures can do for you.

Here are some things to consider to maximize the impact of your event photography:

  1. Hire a high-energy photographer that understands the direct selling culture. A photographer that knows what to expect and runs to capture it gets pictures that touch the emotions. The more you recognize your sales force with exciting pictures, the more they want to stay with your company and work even harder to be successful.
  2. Ask your photographer to make the pictures available to your sales force. Some consultants put memory books together and show their teammates back home why they need to be at the next convention. Those pictures can also be used as a recruiting tool to show all the fun, comradery, and recognition that your company provides.  And what could be better than getting tons of free advertising via Facebook when consultants show the world all the great things that happened at convention.
  3. The photographer you hire needs to understand the importance of relationships in direct selling and encourage teams to get together for group pictures – large and small.

Event photography has the potential to excite, inspire and motivate. Make sure your photographer is helping you achieve those goals with your people.

Mark Taulbee is a professional event photographer and commercial product photographer with over 25 years experience in the direct selling industry. Learn more about Mark and how he can help your company with photography at http://www.luceandassociates.com/Mark-Taulbee.html. To view some of his work visit http://www.proshotsevent.com and http://www.taulbeephoto.com.

Is your customer service department sometimes the “bad guy?”  Does your sales force continually complain about customer service?

Whether those impressions are real, imagined or somewhere in between, you can do something about them. Over the next few weeks I’ll share simple, proven ways to combat the negative image Customer Service Departments sometimes develop.

As mentioned previously, the easiest and most effective technique is proactive outbound calls.  Okay, let’s say you’re already doing that.  The next best thing you can do is to make Customer Service part of the process in communicating to the field.  Simply put, Customer Service should ALWAYS be the last approval of ANY communication going to the field.

Why?  Simple.  They are the experts. And you want to make sure everyone is aware of that fact. There are many good reasons for this, but here are my top 3:

  1. Positioning your Customer Service people as the experts not only makes sense, it takes the heat off of everyone else!
  2. Customer Service communicates with the customer/sales representative on a constant basis, so they already know what the field is thinking.
  3. Since your Customer Service Department people are the ones who will end up explaining and answering whatever questions arise regarding communications, keeping them in the loop saves everyone time.

The steps to include Customer Service in the communication process would be something like this:

  1. A Customer Service representative should be included in all planning meetings (promotions, events, operations).  That way, he/she can get a clear understanding as to what the communication is wanting to accomplish (increase recruiting, increase sales, an explanation of process).
  2. The Customer Service representative should then work very closely with the communication creator.  This teamwork will expedite the process and possibly allow the communication to be distributed for approval in the final form the first it’s circulated.
  3. Once the communication is final, the Customer Service representative should have a meeting with all Customer Service representatives to review the communication. At this point, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and responses are created.  Again, this process assures that the Customer Service Department is ultimate authority.
  4. Once the communication is released to the field, Customer Service should track each inquiry regarding that communication.  This will allow the entire company to see the result of the communication and how something similar should be handled in the future.

Including Customer Service in the communication process is the best way to position them the experts, and that helps everyone- your home office team, your sales force and your customers!

Look for more quick tips to improving customer service in the near future!

 

Chris Clark

Chris Clark is an invaluable addition to any direct sales team, especially when it comes to the many issues that can quickly surround administration of customer service, compensation, inventory management and order processing.  Learn more about how Chris can help your company at http://www.luceandassociates.com/Chris-Clark.html