Sources said the decision to use the direct referral marketing model was taken last week. Company officials received a directive from headquarters last week asking them not to pursue the retail dealership distribution channel (which was on until last week with over 9,000 retailers signed up) and shift to a direct referral marketing model as well as refund deposits collected from retailers. The idea is to approach customers on a door-to-door basis instead of waiting for them to come to the point of sale, officials said, requesting anonymity. The official spokesperson of the company refused to comment.
Meanwhile, gearing up for the launch, the sales team has already signed 25,000 Dhirubhai Ambani Entrepreneurs (DAEs) or direct agents for marketing its WLL (wireless in local loop) service in the national capital region which consists of Delhi and the satellite towns of Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Noida and Gurgaon. The sales team in Delhi, according to sources, has been given a target to sign around 35,000 DAEs by December 27, when the service is scheduled for launch. Officials said the services on the ground were most likely to start by mid-January 2003.
As per a company directive, the DAEs cant be officials of Reliance or their spouses. The sales team of the company is tapping agents of various financial institutions and LIC (the Life Insurance Corporation of India), stock brokers and property dealers among others.
Sources said the company has come out with a low-investment, incentive-linked scheme for agents. Each agent would be required to deposit Rs 10,000 as security plus subscribe to a Reliance WLL connection. The security deposit would be refunded to the agent on signing up nine subscribers. The company has created four incentive slabs under which the amount of commission per subscriber will depend upon the total number of subscribers signed up by the agent every month.
As reported earlier in eFE, the company has decided to go the referral marketing way and has roped in 2,500 employees across the Reliance Group, each of whom will have 80 agents working under them.