Closing a new client is a pinnacle point for the sales rep. It builds confidence, character, and their bottom line. If your sales reps are complaining about gut-wrenching, arm-twisting closing, they are not excelling at the most important aspects in sales: quantifying and qualifying.
Quantifying and qualifying are the grunt work of the sales call. A rep must dig for the expectations and objectives before putting together a proposal. Otherwise when it is time to close, they will get hit with the most common objection in media sales, That's too much money." That phrase can easily put a proposal in jeopardy.
That very thing happened recently when I made a closing call with a rep. We had no business going back in front of the prospect because the rep had failed to quantify and qualify. The client's company built decks. This new seller had the return on investment presentation down pat, but the $72,000 proposal to the client was way out of his budget.
In order to make a more accurate proposal, the rep needed to know the following: 1) the companys average yearly sales; 2) what the reps media company will need to do in order to get credit for the expected sales increase from this campaign. We needed something specific for tracking the advertising results in order to let the owner know the new customers were the outcome of the campaign. Most customers will not come into a business and say that they heard or saw the ad that the company was offering.
The rep was able to learn the following information from the owner. The business was 15 years old. The owner kept accurate tracking of how many decks he built per year, and when they were built. He built 80 decks last year which was an increase of five decks from the previous year or almost nine percent annual growth.
I went back to quantifying and qualifying.
The company is growing at roughly nine percent per year. If they have the same amount of growth that they did last year, they would build an additional five decks. I asked the owner how many more decks he could build per month without hiring any new staff to handle the increased workload. He said an extra two decks per month or 24 per year. Assuming his growth rate remains at nine percent, he is already going to build an additional five decks. If his marketing program leads to construction of an additional 19 decks at $12,000 per deck, the additional sales would be $228,000. Since the owner does not have to hire additional construction workers, he could put 70 percent to the bottom line less the cost of material. That is $159,000 of additional income from the advertising campaign assuming that the owner can close 100 percent of the people who respond to the advertisement.
Put real numbers to it! The sales rep has to walk out with a number affixed to the quantification, or they are dead meat when they return to close the deal. Why is Its too much money! the number one objection in media sales? The answer is that the seller failed to qualify the client.
On the above example, we affixed 10 percent of the projected new revenue to marketing, and rounded off for a campaign cost of $16,000. This isnt put together in an annual form where the dollars were allocated over 12 months. The schedule would start in February and go four months since the client can get the frequency on the station along with the Web support for the schedule. The expectations were to build an additional 19 decks that he would get beyond current market growth for the year. Until February, we are running a special Internet program with an Internet database to build some familiarity with the audience before we implemented the campaign on the radio.
The client was willing to share specific information, and it is vital that the client trust the rep enough to understand that this sensitive information will not be shared with competitors. If a rep appears as back-slapping and sneaky, clients will not trust them enough to share pertinent information.
Here is the point. If you do not obtain specific information as was outlined in the above example by quantifying and qualifying the prospects, the chances of closing that sale are slim to none. Work smarter and get this information in the beginning. The end result will be a lot less wear and tear on you and your car!
Sean Luce is the Head International Instructor for the Luce Performance Group and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.