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Jared Hamilton
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In this entry, I am going to focus on a simple topic – but "simple" in no way means it's not important. And you would think that it should be a matter of common sense and not overlooked – but I see this happening all the time with sales people. It’s as bad as a sales person who calls and leaves a message wanting you to call them back, but they say their phone number so fast, you need to listen to the message five times before getting it. Today I am going to focus on BlackBerry Etiquette. (And this can apply to iPhone, Palm – or whatever other mobile device you use to communicate with prospects and customers.)

Digital Signatures

At our stores, we issue every ISM a BlackBerry. We pre-set these with the ISM’s digital, branded signature, so they’re ready to go. I have our ISMs send a test message from the BlackBerry to a yahoo or other account to verify the information is correct and looks good. We make sure to program the following into our signatures:

Full name

Name of the dealership

All contact phone number – main, cell phone, etc.

Business email address

Business URL

end with quick friendly note to let them know that this is orignated from your wireless email device.

for example: "PS: Not an auto response, wireless communication in Action, :) smile I'm here."

BlackBerries On-hand at All Times

Our ISMs use their BlackBerries to respond to all new leads, unless they are at their computers and logged into our CRM tool. They also carry their BlackBerries with them, and use them at all times during business, as well as non-business hours. While not mandatory, we encourage them to use their BlackBerries to respond to any inquiries even when they’re not working. This can be as simple as 2 or 3 lines acknowledging receipt of an email, and letting prospects and customers know they will respond back in more detail at a later time.

Four Essential Elements of Using a BlackBerry:

1. Address your prospect using their name – by first name, or by Mr. or Ms. last name. Don’t just write “Hi there,” or anything else that can be construed as less than professional.

2. Address at least one specific comment or question that was asked by the prospect. For example, if your prospect is interested in a Honda Odyssey in silver, you can mention that you have a nice selection of Honda Odysseys to choose from AND you do specifically have silver in stock as well.

3. Indicate what your follow-up action will be. If you are responding on a Sunday, indicate you will call first thing Monday morning with more details about their request. Or, if you are presently with a customer, say you will contact them as soon as possible. Call them within minutes of your email and be sure you have the information they have requested.

4. Send yourself an email from Blackberry to verify that your signature line and information is correct and in place. To do this you have to have another email address that is not forwarding the emails to your blackberry or you will have an issue of email looping. Your signature on BlackBerry emails should be stamped at the server. Also, it is very important to ensure that you use correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. These are clear indications of your level of professionalism (or lack of) in dealing with the potential customer. Do not treat BlackBerry email like a text message or IM! Use complete sentences and no text slang; no How R U, BRB, NP, etc. are acceptable.

Once you've carefully checked your message, then send it! You'll have much better results with clients and prospects if you take the time to send thoroughly professional messages from your BlackBerry.

quick note: Talk to your CRM or ILM provider to integrate your blackberry with the system so you have a string of running record of all the communication (incoming and outgoing). It will help you greatly when working with your customers.

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