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Direct Response Marketing

Support Services: Cross-Pitching: A New Model for Revenue Enhancement

11 Jul, 2010 By: Kevin Sandhu Response

The idea is to create relevancy for the consumer so that instead of the caller feeling pressured, he or she welcomes the overture because of a genuine interest in the new proposition.

With federal regulators threatening to eliminate the direct response industry’s ability to use third-party upsells, a steady stream of incremental revenue that both marketers and their supply chains have come to rely on may soon dry up. The solution lies in a new marketplace model — cross-pitching™ — that solves many of the problems created by third-party upsells.

Any company that uses a call center, whether it is in-house or outsourced, for any reason — sales, customer service or retention — can be a lead seller and instantly monetize its calls by engaging in cross-pitching, a process that requires very little incremental effort and no new disruptive processes or habits. The way cross-pitching works is that once a caller’s original needs have been met, the call center agent asks him or her if they are interested in a complementary and non-competitive product or service that is marketed and sold by a different merchant, the lead buyer.

The consumer’s interest is gauged in the form of a yes or no question that encapsulates the uniqueness of the proposition being offered and acts as a short sales pitch for the lead buyer’s product or service. If the caller expresses interest, a live transfer is made to the lead buyer’s telemarketer. No credit card information is passed, keeping any additional transactions that may occur separate and unique.

Unlike many third-party upsells, where the items offered — such as discount buying club memberships — are often too broad or tangential, a key to the success of cross-pitching is to match products or services that complement or enhance the initial reason for calling. The idea is to create relevancy for the consumer so that instead of the caller feeling pressured, he or she welcomes the overture because of a genuine interest in the new proposition that is being cross-pitched.

For example, an inquiry for a home security system would naturally tend to be more receptive to an offer for an identity theft service, since protecting home, property and family are top of mind. The consumer is in complete control of whether or not he or she wants to receive the new offer, and the marketer selling the new product or service gets the benefit of qualified, pre-screened leads at a price they set.

Of course, marketers who have worked hard at creating trust in their brands and who have spent substantial time, energy and expense to generate the original calls from their advertising want to make certain that their consumers have a good experience. That is why lead sellers have complete control over whom their lead-buying partners will be and they can change their decision at will in real time. Marketers who sell leads also have domain to establish a minimum price for selling their prospects to ensure that the economics are worthwhile. Leads are sold on an exclusive, one-time transaction basis to ensure that consumers are not oversold or resold.

The beauty of this innovative model is that it creates a win-win-win for all parties — lead sellers, lead buyers and the inbound customer. Lead sellers can rely on a minimum per-lead price they set to enhance their overall revenues; lead buyers get (on demand) exclusive, qualified inbound phone leads on a pay-per-call basis and at a price that they define; and the customer experiences complete buying service in a no-pressure, hassle-free, and FTC-compliant environment.

The possibilities are open-ended. The cross-pitching paradigm creates a statistically reliable source of prospects where lead costs, close rates and revenue per sale can all be benchmarked and scaled by source and then optimized accordingly. Given the unreliability of direct response media to deliver a consistent cost-per-lead in the current fragmented media environment, cross-pitching is a fresh concept whose time has arrived; call it the next generation of lead generation.

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