Is your sales process patchy?

klondike2004c.jpgEarlier this month, my troop took part in Klondike Derby.

If you aren’t involved in Scouting, this is a winter camporee usually done on a regional basis (in our case, all the troops in our county).

We get together and run the guys through a bunch of activities, like a sled race using homemade sleds, sawing logs with old fashioned crosscut saws, fire starting in the snow, snow sumo wrestling in inner tubes and so on.

One of the things that is part and parcel of Scouting is patches. Every event typically has its own patch (sometimes more than 1). Lots of Scouts collect patches and adult Scouters do as well. Anyhow, the guy who organized Klondike this year asked me to recommend a patch company, as he knew I had ordered lots of them for other events. I had a company in mind, so I told him I’d send him a link.

Off I I went to my favorite patch company website, which belongs to Moritz Embroidery in the Poconos. When I arrived, I found that their site had been totally revamped. The usual online collection of a couple of hundred Scout patch entries on their site was nowhere to be found.

A few looking around for a few minutes, I did something I had never done when ordering thousands of dollars in patches from this company. I called them.

I easily reached a sales guy who when asked about the lack of an online patch catalog, had little more than mainframe-era excuses. He was courteous and helpful, but the replies to my questions about an online patch catalog quickly got old.

He said they removed all the patch images from the website because they were “too bulky”. At first, he thought I was looking for a print catalog (not sure how he got that idea), and said they don’t print them anymore.

Needless to say, I was getting curious about how they expected me to select a patch to customize and order.

Their “new” process? They email a rather large PDF that is a SCAN of the original printed catalog. It isn’t even available for download on their site.

I received the email with the PDF attachment, only to find that the guy I’d been working with happened to have a last name of Moritz. He is part of the family that has owned this embroidery firm since 1885. Yes, that’s 1885, not 1985.

The point of all this is that I wasn’t dealing with some newbie who didn’t know his elbow from a bowl of macaroni. His life had been spent in the business. And he was telling me that online catalogs for their admittedly high quality patches was just too much trouble.

What are your sales people doing to run off business? What processes are you providing to them that help them complete a sale and begin a long-term customer relationship with a prospect?

Oh and one more thing. When we were on the phone, he never asked for my name, address, phone, etc. The only thing he requested was my email address for the catalog PDF.

Email addresses are not enough these days. They change far too often. Get more contact info and make sure you have a good reason to do so – like “We like to send out notifications or newsletters with our new patch designs”, for example.