Two weeks ago, I made a prospecting call with a sales rep. It was right in the wheelhouse demo of our station, right in the geographical circumference of the stations coverage and the product would be a product (above mid-line specialty furniture) our listeners would shop for. They do have multiple locations. We walked the business. We did a physical in-store for 5 minutes and took down all the vital information. The rep called immediately for the owner from the car. Voicemail. The rep then walked back in the business and asked the receptionist for his personal voicemail box. She was successful. Here's what happened:
I finally got hold of the owner and it didn't go well. He did stay on the phone with me for 10 minutes. When he answered and I said who I was and he said "Oh God"!!! He told me he has bought radio before. He said he targets a small select group of people (I guess because he is so expensive) and does it by newspaper and Google searches. I told him I was looking for a leather couch and don't get the newspaper and wouldn't Google a leather couch, and really all furniture stores say they have leather couches, so how would anyone know he's different?
Anyway, the conversation went well, he at least let me overcome all his objections but it didn't help. He said the next time I came by to ask for him and he would come out and say hi (he's recently divorced) but not to talk to him about radio. Should I move on? He said he will never buy radio again.
Don't Give This One up
My response to the rep: Stay on the hunt. It just started. Your endurance on the phone and his willingness to talk is your opening. He hasn't used your station and he hasn't tapped into your creativity. He hasn't bought you yet. Your station is right in his target. I wouldn't knock newspaper right off the bat. Newspaper is an above the line media and price item focused and he's not a price and item store-its hard for him to compete on price since his average sales has to be $3,000.00 and above. I know-I was there. I want to know how he's tracking newspaper and if his target with an average age of 55 reading the local newspaper is going to give him frequency that staying in the top of the target consumers mind is going to accomplish. There is about a 4 month buying cycle on this furniture minimum.
Even in a market of more than 2 million people, how many woke up this morning that have never thought about a leather couch and decided they were going to call in sick to work and go and drop 3K on a new leather couch? Its not happening. They are going to think about it. They're going to go through the 4 stages of the buying cycle first. They better be in the mind of the consumer when they do start thinking about it and they better be there all the time if theyre going to increase market share.
I want to know how long he was on those radio stations and I want to know what his message was when you do get in front of him. Though I dont know how long the buy was anything less than 4 months is a waste. The day he gets on radio is the day he never gets off if he's working with you. With the right message and consistency, his advertising will work-as long as he has the proper people inside to sell and service his customers. Our job is to get them in. He needs to sell them and make sure customer service is better than his competition selling the same product. He needs to make them customers for life. How was he tracking his radio besides how did you hear about us?
Find out from the receptionist what his favorite kind of cake is. I would have the top of the cake scripted with I'm not available though my 600,000 listeners are. I think it will buy you a meeting on the spot. People don't care how much you know about them as long as you really care about him. You do and you will show it by doing something more than just dropping off a radio package.
You can really help this prospect. You also have a great web site that can work in tandem with your radio station. You can provide a media mix of Air Force and Special Forces with your radio and Internet. I think it's time we do our homework and get inside his business. You could start by doing a survey on your web site with your loyal listener club on where they would buy a leather couch if they were in the market. Lets see what they say and bring him the info. Lets get the party started.