Lessons from the Range
My son came barging through the door last Friday with a great idea. ‘Dad! Let’s go to the range. I want to teach you how to shoot!’ Now, I’ve never done anything like this in my life. He served in the military as a member of the Airborne Infantry. Jumping out of perfectly good aircraft and handling a weapon are second nature to him. ‘It’ll be fun,’ he said. As excited as I was for him to lead me into this new adventure, my primary concern was returning home with the same number of holes in my body that I started with.
The day began with a quick orientation class, the sum of which was, ‘Don’t be stupid.’ Okay, I began to feel like I could handle this. My son selected a Glock 19 for us to use. Before I was allowed to touch the weapon, he walked me through the basics. Here’s what he told me, ‘Okay, you need a good foundation – so, set your feet shoulder width apart and get a solid stance. With the weapon held firmly in both hands, extend your arms toward the target. Relax. Line the target up with your sights. Breathe in and out. Squeeze the trigger. Don’t anticipate the kick of the weapon – let the shot surprise you. Now, this is the important part. Even though the magazine holds 15 rounds, take one shot at a time.’
I practiced many times with no magazine in the weapon, trying to get the steps right. My son said I was doing well. Except for the breathing – apparently you are supposed to breathe in and out. I was nervous, okay?
Enough practice. It was time to load the weapon and try this for real. Solid stance; extend arms to the target, Relax. Line the target up with the sights. Breathe. Try not to anticipate the kick – let the shot surprise me. Squeeze the trigger. One shot only…
Needless to say, the shot surprised me.
We spent the better part of the afternoon shooting, talking, laughing, and creating memories. As I think back on what my son taught me about how to safely handle a weapon; it is remarkable how similar the steps are to creating a successful on-hold advertising program.
- Start With a Firm Foundation. A professionally produced advertising program is where it begins. Without a solid ‘stance’ on this issue, it will be difficult to create a foundation to build upon, let alone hit your ‘target.’ A custom program will reinforce your image with every person placed on hold. Start here.
- Extend Your Arms to the Target. You need to speak to your callers, not at them. Taking a cookie-cutter approach to your on-hold concept will not work. There are numerous on hold companies that take that type of approach. On-hold advertising is not a one-size fits all endeavor. Working with an on hold company that truly listens and consults with you to learn about your business before crafting your program is essential. Then, you can develop an on-hold concept that will reach out and communicate your message with your callers.
- Relax. The on-hold experience should be the most laid-back, yet effective advertising moment in your marketing strategy. This is not the time for high pressure techniques. Think conversation rather than sales pitch. Remember, you are speaking directly into a person’s ear, one to one. Your presentation needs to match that environment.
- Line the Target Up in Your Sights. When it comes to marketing, on-hold advertising is a powerful, yet intimate tool. Many make the mistake of using a ‘mass-media’ approach to their on-hold messaging. Playing your radio commercials on hold is a bad move because they are designed for a broad audience. On-hold advertising speaks directly to each caller; one at a time. Target your messages accordingly.
- Take One Shot at a Time. You have a lot of information to share. However, it is a mistake to talk about every product and service you offer in a single advertising message or even trying to cram it all in to an entire program. The most effective approach is to focus on one subject per message. You don’t have to cover everything in a single message or a single program. Update your on-hold advertising several times a year and focus your internal marketing so it mirrors your outside marketing efforts. More isn’t always better. Usually, it’s just more.
The extra added bonus tip came when my son said, ‘Let the shot surprise you.’ That is precisely the approach you need with your on-hold advertising. Predictability works against you in this scenario. Keep the content and approach different with each message. Humor, dialogue, perspective, and testimonials keep callers engaged in the content, making their time spent on hold more productive and enjoyable.
The process my son walked me through at the range last weekend is also an effective process to follow as you design your on-hold advertising. Set a foundation for your customers when they call. Extend your arms to them with your messaging. Relax and establish a conversation rather than a sales pitch. Line up your message to connect with one customer at a time, and limit the content of each message to a single subject.
And, be willing to try a different approach. It will benefit your on-hold advertising, your clients, and maybe even your relationship with your son.
Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.
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