It’s the little things…

Email Signature

A professional email signature is a simple touch that makes a world of difference.

I’ve been working at DOW Electronics for a couple of years now and there is something that I have noticed in my time here that I just feel the need to address. Many of you are great at certain aspects of your businesses, whether it’s doing DISH installs or selling Sony products or what have you, but it seems that sometimes you forget about the small stuff. Let me tell you, IT MATTERS!

“Small stuff? What do you mean when you say “small stuff”, Jess?”  This means attention to detail; specifically proper phone and email etiquette.  Many times I have made a call to a retailer and the answer on the other end of the line is not: “XYZ Satellite, your DISH Authorized Retailer, this is Dave, how would you like to get HBO, Cinemax, Showtime and Starz free for three months?” rather, I typically hear a simple “Hello.”

When I call a business, I want to know:

A) That I’m calling the right place, and

B) Who I am speaking with. When you answer your work phone the way you answer your cell phone, you are sending a message to a potential customer–and not a good one. They shouldn’t have to ask if they’ve reached the correct number, your greeting should tell them that! If I call a business and the phone is answered casually, it makes me wonder if I should give my business to this ambiguous person or seek someone out who seems more professional.

By answering the phone with a simple “Hello,” you’re also missing out on a great opportunity to sell the caller your services! They may be calling you to check prices on a new TV set, and you answer the phone offering free HD for life, they want to upgrade their service to go with their new HDTV. You’ve grabbed their attention and with it, an opportunity to make two sales instead of one. The customer is calling for a specific reason, they usually aren’t going to ask you to sell them other products or services outside of that. Your job as a salesperson is to let them know what they are missing out on and that you can offer it to them. A proper phone greeting can open the door for that conversation.

Another oversight that I see a lot has to do with email etiquette. We receive an excess of emails in the marketing department and many times we have to decipher an ambiguous email with no text in the body or a signature line and there is only an attachment to go off.  My hope is that we are the only people who receive these blank emails, but I have a feeling that others are receiving them as well. You may think that adv@DOWElectronics.com is a general email box controlled by a robot who decrypts these emails and distributes them to the appropriate party. Unfortunately, it’s not! 🙂  Everyone in the department receives your emails and then we have to figure out who it’s from and whether it is for a pre-approval, a claim, or some other issue.

Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to have an email signature set up for all of your emails that contains, at least, your name, title or business name, and a phone number at which you can be contacted (this is also a good place to promote your website and social media pages!). That way, the people you are contacting know who you are and how they can get ahold of you if there is an issue.  In specific, when you’re emailing us here at Dow, try to write us a quick note (one or two lines is all we usually need) about your request– it will save both you and us a lot of time by eliminating the back and forth. In the end, you’ll get what you were looking for much more quickly and without any bumps in the road!

These are just a couple of little things that I’ve been noticing. Have any of you made a small change like this that’s given you big results? Share with the rest of the class and give us your tips below!

Co-Op Claims: A Crash Course

Claim FormIt’s that time again! We are in the middle of the first quarter and it’s time to start getting all of your documentation together and sending in those co-op advertising claims you’ve been holding onto. Claims for each quarter are due the first day of the last month of the following quarter– not confusing at all, right? Basically, you have 2 months after a quarter ends to submit claims for that quarter. For example: on March 1st,  you should have sent us all of your co-op claims for the fourth quarter of last year (that’s any advertising that took place in October, November and December of 2011)– If your claims are postmarked to DOW Electronics after 3/1/2012, unfortunately you will not receive your reimbursements. Here are a few tips for getting it all right  and getting your money as quickly and painlessly as possible:

  1. Don’t wait until the last minute! When your advertising is finished and you have your invoice, submit your claim. Often times, we get from retailers who forget to submit claims and then miss the deadline. DISH is VERY strict when making exceptions and even as your distributor, there is little we can do to help when this happens.
  2. Get it right the first time! It’s very important to send a complete and correct claim to us. This not only saves you the hassle of having to mail us documents multiple times, but it also saves you from missing important emails asking for additional information. You may think a claim has processed, but in reality something was missing and you didn’t provide it to us. Even if you do meet the postmark deadline, if your claim is missing information and you don’t get it to us in a timely manner, you may miss out on your reimbursement. . Generally we’ll need the following, but refer to your co-op advertising guidelines for specifics of what is required for each type of claim:
    1. A co-op claim form. You can find this on our website. Simply fill out your information in the required fields.
    2. An original invoice. You should always have one from your vendor, and remember that original means original. Faxing, emailing, or making a copy of your original invoice and submitting it to us is not sufficient. Make a copy for your own records and send us the original. Think of it this way, DISH is paying the bulk of your bill, so they want original records.
    3. A co-op pre-approval.As DOW Electronics retailers, you should be submitting all of your approvals through our online submission system. As long as you submit your ads to us , we have your approval on file and it is not necessary for you to send it to us.
      1. Just make sure you actually submit your ads for approval before using them in market and that you make any changes that are requested!
    4. Proof of your advertising. For print ads this means a tear sheet, for events, kiosks, and vehicle wraps it means photos, radio and TV ads require a notarized script on station letterhead and a station log– just make sure the script is correct (word-for-word) and approved before having it notarized.
  3. Stay on top of it! This is the most important one. Make sure you are aware of all claims you have pending or that still need to be sent to us. We do our best to inform you when we require additional documentation to process your claims and by what date we need to have this information, but there is a limit to how much guidance we can provide. We process dozens of claims a day and it’s impossible for us to send every retailer multiple reminders about their individual claims. Check your email, watch your bulletin board, call us and ask. Do whatever you have to in order to stay knowledgeable about your claims.  You are the business owner and it is your job to know what is happening with your business. If you don’t, you’re losing money.

And that’s my two cents. I know that the co-op advertising process can sometimes be confusing, but that’s why we in the marketing department are here. Don’t hesitate to call or email us with your questions. We are here for you, at your disposal, 8am – 5pm, 5 days a week. It’s really a simple matter of paying attention and staying apprised of the matters at hand. The other thing that you should all do is read your co-op advertising guidelines, they are located on our website so that you can access them at any time. Many of you would be amazed by how clear the co-op advertising process becomes when you actually read the guidelines! The moment you tune out and stop listening is when you get into trouble. A good habit for everyone is to mark these deadlines on your calendars or set a reminder in your email so you don’t miss a thing!