Recently I sat in on a sales call from Yext - and watched it go irreversibly south. Here's what happened:
Things got off on the right foot. The customer, a therapist in a top market, was interested, even impressed, by the rep whom she had found professional and knowledgeable when she first talked to him.
Plus she liked all the big name parterships - Google AdWords Certified Partner for one - this company boasted on its web site.
By way of background, her practice is over-booked and but she plans to evolve the business by referring business to two additional therapists under a new brand.
A website for the new brand is under-development but has stalled out.
Enter the phone presentation with the Yext rep - let's call him Joe.
Joe skimmed through a needs analysis then used join.me to tour her through multiple slides about the size and greatness of his company.
Slide by slide we were enlightened by his company's #1 status, national clients, illutrious partners, the importance of mobile, the value of proprietary conversion page-style sites over regular websites, the 1,000 optimized key words that went somewhere and the customer dashboards to record all the new business gained.
"Only we can do this," he said.
"We're the best in the business in this multi-screen world," he continued, as the sale slowly fell apart.
In short, he had her at hello. But he lost her when he took "The Wizard Approach" - relying on authority and expertise rather than honest communication.
Back in the dark ages of digital marketing (2008), digital marketers could utter the right incantations - one part digital savvy and two part smoke and mirrors - promising the holy grail of inexpensive leads and get a buy.
Today, however, merchants are smarter, more discerning.... and still confused. They will Google you and they won't buy without clarity.
Sales reps have to be both great communicators and educators.
The therapist, who had kept silent on the other end through a litany of slides about the sales person's company and product suite, finally started asking questions.
Could he help her build her own site?
No... he assured her that profile sites are just like web sites.
An advisor (me) on the call chimed in, what about the top-ranked Psychology Today therapist directory, Find a Therapist (powered by Sussex Directories) that keeps showing up on her best search page, could he help write a profile?
No, they don't do that kind of thing.
Where do those 1000 key words go? Adwords or organic listings? He thought it was both.
Since there are other companies that build responsive mobile sites, what exactly was it "only you can do"?
"It's our algorithm," Joe replied.
Warily, now, she asked about price.
Joe responded "we have deals all the time" and can "fit any budget". He estimated she could pay $500 to $800 for an undisclosed bundle that would yield an estimated 100 calls in 90 days and about 10 appointments.
What if I don't get ten appointments? The therapist wanted to know.
Well, Joe said, that would be bad news for his company because the contract is only for 90 days.
In the end, she wanted to think about it and agreed to a second phone appointment - one that she wound up canceling.
One reason was that she didn't get anything she said she wanted. Because of the stature of the company, she was a little torn. So she continued to reach out to even more friends of friends for advice. One of them Googled Yext and sent her a link to a forum in which a customer had had a bad experience.
In reality, however, the deal was already off.
A consultative approach would have focused on what she wanted: To build a website, get set up on Google maps, target new types of non-insurance customers and promote a new brand at the same location.
Just to be clear, I did not weigh in one way or another - I actually have no idea whether or not the program would have landed her practice on page one for her top key words.
I did ask the customer what she thought about the presentation.
"He didn't listen to me. He didn't care what I had to say. All he told me is that 'our company is great'."
Alisa Cromer is editor of LocalMediaInsider.
The author, Alisa Cromer is publisher of a variety of online media, including LocalMediaInsider and MediaExecsTech, developed while on a fellowship with the Reynolds Journalism Institute and which has evolved into a leading marketing company for media technology start-ups. In 2017 she founded Worldstir.com, an online magazine, to showcases perspectives from around the world on new topic each month, translated from and to the top five languages in the world.
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