I thought I would also share some insights gained on the importance of qualifiers. These are what I call key questions that help to discover who the genuine interested buyers really are when they call. I have discovered that to get this right can save our company hours of time and money.
Firstly I’ve decided that we do not do a lot of work until we have had a conversation with the customer which may take a few minutes but helps to really understand what their needs are and how many other companies they have already contacted and how serious they are about buying.
We also ask about budget and when I mentioned this to a woman who ran a luxury travel business she said “Oh we’d never ask that kind of question”, however I firmly believe that there is no point putting any product in front of a customer in this market if it’s way over their budget. I agree you can upsell to some degree but better to send something in the ballpark.
We often ask whether the customer has actually viewed what we already have to offer – if they have not then this suggests they are unlikely to buy. We also find out the things that search engines have not as yet got right such as the type of holiday they like and if they need to be walking distance from places to eat etc. We also know that the quality of search has to improve as more people have really specific criteria for choosing their ideal property and this could be anything from air conditioning to the depth of the pool.
Some companies I know will not even put a phone number on the website until the customer has got into the booking part of the website as everyone is starting to realise the cost of servicing a phone enquiry, regardless of whether you are paying that person to sit at home or in an office or only paying them on results. Our online “ask a question” facility enables us to also find out how the customer found the website and gives the customer the option to sign up for our newsletter at the same time.
The customer question also joins a database of other enquiries so we can analyse demand by type of request, market, telephone code etc and also automatically by our distributor websites so that we can always recognise them immediately and respond accordingly. I’m amazed by how the web has changed the source of our demand as we get enquiries from all over the world.
It’s now time for our site to respond accordingly but multilingual, cultural challenges will have to be a subject for a future blog. In the meantime I’ll start using my mobile for Skype and let you know how mobile internet is changing our business.