College completion requirements are that a student undertakes an internship. The internship provides an opportunity for applying theory and learned knowledge to the practical. The student undergoes weeks of implementing what they learnt in the relevant field. The choice of the internship depends on the student’s needs, meaning when selecting an organization in which to undertake an internship the student and supervisor determines and coordinates that which responds to these needs. I chose an internship with direct TV, where I worked as a representative conducting door-to-door sales and installations. The position of a door-to-door sales representative and installation requires hard work, willingness to work under difficult environmental conditions, and the capacity to meet various challenges and opportunities presented in sales.
Direct TV Information
Direct TV is a satellite broadcasting service owned by the Direct TV Group. It provides digital enabled satellite television to residential premises and households in the United States, Latin America, and Anglophone Caribbean. The service also includes audio programs provided to the households. Direct TV also provides television programs to business premises such as bars, restaurants, and hotels, and others such as hospitals and hostels that may enter into contract with the company to provide the services. Nevertheless, the primary Direct TV consumers are people in residential areas and households, though it holds a business service line. The Direct TV services are offered as high-definition (HD).
The broad range of television and audio services offered by Direct TV include programs from local stations, broadcast television networks, television services by subscription, satellite radio services, and private video services. To maintain these services, the company maintains a business relationship with program providers including cable networks, movie distributors, sports and event promoters, and others with distribution rights or programming rights.
By contracting and paying these providers, the company is able to gain the rights required to distribute the programs. The contracts and payments protect Direct TV from the violation of copyrights that may arise from unauthorized distribution of programs whether video or audio. Furthermore, even after gaining these rights, the company encrypts any transmission to protect the information. This prevents possible unauthorized reception, ensuring only the subscribers have access to the programs they have paid for or requested.
Direct TV subscribers access hundreds of channels through its satellite. This means that Direct TV customers are satellite enabled. The subscribers buy various equipments from Direct TV to provide access to the programming. Some of the equipments include an integrated receiver/decoder, a Direct TV access card, and a satellite dish. Once the equipment is installed, the customer pays a monthly fee that enables him or her to continue enjoying the television and audio services. Sometimes, the customers choose to pay per view for events and movies instead of maintaining a monthly tab.
Summary of Work Done
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My work with direct TV involved face-to-face calling on prospective customers. This involved door-to-door movement to residential premises without placing an appointment with the customer. My task was to approach people in their homes professionally and with a meaningful and sensible proposition, which meant my position was that of Direct TV sales representative.
As a sales representative, my first role was to sell Direct TV packages to existing consumers as well as potential consumers. Direct TV seeks to provide each consumer with the television entertainment of their choice. It is upon the sales representative to note the consumer desires and sell them the packages likely to meet them or convince the consumer of the goodness of other packages.
Some of the packages I was required to sell included Premier™ which caters for more than 285 digital channels. The thither three packages are Choice Ultimate™ that has 225 plus general channels, followed by the Choice Extra™ that has 210 plus digital channels, and Choice™ with 150 plus digital channels. Premier™ is the high end packages, while Choice™ is the low end package, while Choice Ultimate™ and Choice Extra™ are standard packages.
The target for the door-to-door sales was to increase the number of subscribers. If the representative finds themselves at the door of an existing subscriber they can offer the customer new experiences in promoting the upgrade notion. This means the customer can upgrade their television experience by changing their packages from standard to premier or other choices. Further, within an existing package, the customer can change the channels they have subscribed to by customizing their television. The customer can also upgrade their HD DVR and HD Receiver. Sometimes the upgrades are offered for free as part of a package deal or with a payment at a later date after receiving a free HD.
The second aspect of the target is reaching new or potential customers. To these, the sales representative first educates them about the existing packages, and then answers any questions the customer may have. The sales representative also defines the satellite experience for the customer and explains the required equipment for the ultimate television experience.
Another task I was required to perform as the Direct TV sales representative is installations. To promote customer loyalty, the company offers installation for any equipment the customer may purchase including the satellite, receiver/decoder, and the access card. This ensures that the customer will receive accuracy in the installation of their equipment and avoid fraudulent installations. Another part of the installation is upgrading the HD to ensure it is encoded to newer receivers and current satellite reception technology. Those tasked with installation need to have knowledge in current software released by Direct TV in relation to its products.
Specific Aspects of the Work
Door-to-door marketing is an old-fashioned marketing alternative used by companies. It can be useful as a lone alternative or together with other forms of marketing including advertising. In Direct TV, door-to-door marketing is an effective method of acquiring new customers, although the method is highly dependent on the person carrying out the work. This requires agents willing to undergo the challenging work and that have the professional outlook required in succeeding at door-to-door selling.
To make the alternative work, Direct TV first ensures that the agents it sends out to meet the customers have the right form of training that will enable them approach customers without showing signs of intimidation. Remarkably, approaching someone’s door without an appointment can be a daunting experience and without training the agent can easily be annoying and ineffective. This will give the company a bad name within the market. Therefore, Direct TV invests in training its agents to ensure they have the skills required to sell the products on a door-to-door basis.
Skills that proved important in doing the door-to-door sales and installation were embedded in effective communication. Effective communication requires an agent to know how to approach a potential client and knowing how to appropriately make a pitch for the product. Additionally effective communication includes knowing the right form of dress or cultivating an appearance that will promote confidence in the customer.
In relation to approach, when I approached a potential customer’s door I wanted them to have the impression that am there for possible business and that am not any threat to the homeowner. Showing a peaceful demeanor came across as especially important to the door-to-door approach because people have become highly skeptical of strangers. They are wary of inviting serial killers, rapists, and thugs in their homes, hence the importance of showing with first impression that you are a peaceful company representative with your only intention being to make a potential sale.
To cultivate this impression, I ensured that once I knocked on someone’s door I stepped away to give them room once they opened or avoid making them feel crowded. When knocking the door or ringing the bell, I ensured the knock was only loud enough to be heard inside the house but not appear as if am pounding on the door. When rang the door bell it was only once or repeated at appropriate intervals if there was no response. Furthermore, if no one came to the door I did not try to peep through a front porch window or the door keyhole. This would have been very rude to the customer and a misrepresentation of the company.
Another thing I did was ensure there was a sufficient distance between me and the customer, without being too far away or too near. Additionally, I waited for the customer to invite me in their house if they chose to do so, without pointing it out or trying to appear helpful. Paramount to my work was ensuring at all point of contact the customer was comfortable. I did not want to cultivate any customer complaints based on my conduct at their doorstep.
The other aspect where communication skills were of great importance was making my sales pitch. When the customer came to the door and invited me to state my business for being there, the first thing I did was inquire about their day. This opened up the way for making a friendly pitch. I avoided making a straight pitch immediately the door opened, because I did not want the customer to feel overwhelmed by my enthusiasm. I utilized lead on questions such as do you watch television, and have you been a subscriber of any television program provider. Other questions in the pitch related to whether the customer has tried our services and their take on what we did.
The lead on questions provided the platform I required to open up the opportunity for making my pitch. The sales pitch then led to stating the opportunities presented by Direct TV, this included the packages the company deals with, and how a willing customer can purchase them. Further, I explained about equipment and if the customer was an existing and willing I would expound on current products and the possibility of upgrading their services.
The sales pitch ended with welcoming any questions from the customer and then welcoming them to try our services. I responded to the questions, and if the customer needed follow-up made a provision of a brochure they can read at their convenience. For those willing to try our services, I made provisions for their being able to purchase them using a form presented to the costumer. The customer can then have the installations made. Those requiring upgrades for existing services, I performed those possible at the moment and when this was not possible made a notification to the base office to get someone tend to the customer needs.
Another part of door-to-door marketing that came across as very important during my internship is appearance. The agents’ appearance can deter or encourage the customer. If one appears professional, the customer is put at ease right away. To tap into this advantage, I ensured that I always dressed professionally with darker shades of clothes. Further, when I approached a door I removed sunglasses or a hat if I was wearing any, because I wanted the customer to see my face.
Direct TV provides name tags for their sales representative to make them easily identifiable to customers. It is upon the agent to wear their tag prior to approaching a customer. I ensured that I always wore my tag displayed prominently to make it easier for the customer to see my name, and the company name. This made it easier in identifying myself as an agent of Direct TV, compared to when I did not have the tag. Sometimes I would also wear a shirt with the company logo and name, which also contributed to my credibility as a genuine sales representative.
Door-to-door selling and installation also involved making an appropriate marketing scheme. This was purely for my benefit as a sales representative and not for the company or customer. Making a marketing scheme provided me with an edge in planning for my week or day. The scheme comprised of possible targets for an entire week and activities necessary in realizing these targets. Included in the scheme were possible areas I wished to visit in a week or a day.
Making the scheme made it easier to plan for time I spent walking between houses, making my sales pitch, and planning for a possible rest when I could take my lunch and prepare for the next door-to-door call. The scheme prepared me psychologically and gave a backup plan for all times of the door. It proved useful in ensuring I did not spend too much time at one household, which would have implications for meeting may target for the week or day.
Challenges in Door-to-door Marketing and Installation
Though exciting and beneficial to the company, door-to-door marketing can be daunting even for the best sales agents because of various challenges presented in the work. The first challenge that I encountered during the internship was walking in the hot summer. The work involves a lot of walking from one premise to another. Sometimes the houses are near each other giving reprieve to the sales agent. However, other times the houses are far apart, which is hard on the agent. Making the work exceptionally hard is the summer heat, which makes the agent hot and thirsty and weakens the system. I was working during the summer, thus had to endure the summer heat as I walked long distances to cover the area planned for the day.
Another challenge I experienced during the internship the hard work involved in door-to-door sales. Every company employee is expected to work hard at their duties. This also is expected for the sales representatives. Their work involves talking a lot to people that sometimes are unwilling to listen or talking hard to capture the interest of the customer. I did not mind the hard work, but customer reception sometimes proved demoralizing, which can affect the agents’ attitude toward the work. Further, the sales representative has to carry the materials required for the job. This includes brochures, writing materials, and installation kits. In effect, it means the agent has to carry a heavy bag containing the tools of his or her trade. Carrying the heavy bag over along distance during the summer heat is very tasking as I experienced during my internship.
An additional challenge is possibility of rejection and being rebuffed. During the course of the internship I had to contend with meeting customers that were unwilling to listen to my pitch, and those that were outright rude. Making it harder is facing rejection after rejection, where my pitch is rejected by customer after customer. This makes selling very hard and demoralizes the agent. I found dealing with customer rebuffs and rejection quite tasking on one’s emotional wellbeing as a sales representative.
Understandably, the customer sometimes reacts this way because of their experience with other sales representatives, which presents another challenges experienced during the internship. As a sales representative I had to contend with the negative image presented by some unscrupulous sales persons that try to victimize the customers by selling products that are falsified or by making pitches that do not present the real value for the items. I had to convince the customer our services were genuine and that I was a genuine sales person, which was aided by the company materials I carried.
The internship experience offers a critical application of class theory to practice. I chose my internship in Direct TV where I worked as a sales representative. My work comprised door-to-door marketing and making installations. During the course of my internship I was able to utilize learned marketing and communication skills that were useful in the specific aspects of the work. Despite the provided learning experience, I noted that door-to-door marketing was full of challenges that can be demoralizing to the agent such as walking long distances under the summer heat, customer rebuffs, hard work involving carrying many materials over long distances, and dealing with images left by unscrupulous sales persons. Nevertheless, the entire process was contributory to my learning experience.