Why your local company rep might be outdated.
Before the Internet, person-to-person contact was essential for conducting business. School fundraising companies relied heavily on local representatives to sell their brochures and product lines. Trade shows, like PTA conventions, were another way sales reps could interact with potential customers. As a result, many sponsors grew accustomed to having local reps.
However, with advanced technology, many companies provide personalized consulting and exceptional service without needing in-person reps. Schools can now find program information on the Internet that can be customized to meet their specific needs without having to meet a sales rep.
What matters most to sponsors is being able to choose a brochure their community will support and select a prize program that will motivate their group to sell. They also want to be able to run their program efficiently as well as receive timely and effective customer support and updates. Here are some other things to think about when it comes to in-person reps:
Local Fundraising Reps Have Limitations
Local sales reps are often limited because they are required to manage an entire territory by themselves. Their customer service is compromised if they're ineffective at managing their time and resources. Plus, if companies don't have good systems to address problems or issues, their sales reps become even less efficient. Some schools even have to clean up problems caused by a local rep that didn't provide good service. The reason may be because the rep:
- Isn't organized enough to deal with customer issues promptly.
- It is more focused on selling than taking care of its existing customers.
- Happens to work for a company with internal inefficiencies.
Prompt Customer Service Beats a Local Rep
A responsive and knowledgeable customer account manager with a well-run company can solve issues faster over the phone or by email than any local rep. If there's an issue, local sales reps may still need to contact their respective company before getting back to the school with a solution. At best, they add another step in the process.
Strong Sponsors Get Results Regardless
Regardless of the company or rep, success comes after the kickoff, where sponsors must handle things like:
- Reminding and motivating students to sell.
- Updating students and parents as needed.
How quickly will it get fixed if you have a question or problem? In addition to timely solutions, we've found that providing customers with excellent resources like a complete school fundraiser guidebook when needed is what matters. In many cases, a well-run customer service department can be more effective than an in-person sales rep can be.
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Clay Boggess has been designing fundraising programs for schools and various nonprofit organizations throughout the US since 1999. He’s helped administrators, teachers, and outside support entities such as PTAs and PTOs raise millions of dollars. Clay is an owner and partner at Big Fundraising Ideas.