A customer has a
question or problem. A reporter wants information about your company
for a story. Someone wants an estimate right away. Guerrillas make
it easy for them to call.
A potent new high-tech
weapon in the guerrilla selling arsenal is the 800 number. People are
seven times as likely to phone if the call is toll-free, and you don't
have to be a big-budget company to make it pay. New services like AT&T's
ReadyLine and Sprint's Phoneline 800 bring the firepower
of a toll-free number within reach of even the smallest company.
800 service is surprisingly inexpensive, but it does pay to shop around.
Expect a base charge of around $20 a month, plus 20 cents a minute or
less for the calls you receive. Rates may be lower in some states and
most are time-of-day and distance-sensitive. Custom calling plans and
volume discounts may cut costs even further.
setup charges are nominal, because separate lines and special equipment
are not required. The number can be programmed to ring right into any
existing telephone in the US. It can be re-routed just as easily, so
as your business grows, your 800 number can move with you.
Unless you can get
a vanity number that is a complete acronym, like 1-800-FLOWERS, stay
away from clever combinations like 234-1234. People think they will
remember them and then forget. Better to have a number that they have
to write down.
Print your new 800
number on everything, and use graphics and type to make it stand out.
Give people a reason to call ("For a free brochure on cutting costs,
call toll-free, 1-800-XXX-XXXX"). Also consider an 800 number for your
fax machine. You'll improve service, speed, quality, and convenience
by encouraging a written response.
can make your 800 service even more practical. Area Code Routing
allows incoming calls to be routed based on the area code from which
the call was placed. This could be used to route calls directly to a
field office or service center, or to specific salespeople at headquarters.
Exchange Code Routing allows you to route calls by the local
exchange as well, giving you even finer control over your territories.
Single Number Service allows multiple 800 lines in multiple locations
to be accessed by a single 800 number. This simplifies advertising,
reduces customer confusion and enhances your market identity. Courtesy
Response automatically provides a pre-recorded message to callers
when the office is closed. Better still, couple an 800 line with Voice
Messaging and never miss a call again. Using voice-mail, salespeople
working on several different accounts can keep in touch with the management
team to coordinate plans and activities, to make important decisions,
and expedite shipping of samples or literature, all through a single
Join the army of
guerrillas who are using this new marketing weapon to gain the tactical
advantage. Call AT&T at 1-800-222-0400 ext. 1816, for information about
ReadyLine, or contact Sprint at 1-800-877-4020 about Phoneline