Finding great sales talent is an art.
It's not easy to find the eager and talented sales reps that can compete in today’s media world. Our management team in California found a couple of them recently. The exciting part is to train them from the ground up or build upon the skills they have already acquired. That’s my job!
As a wide receiver playing football, the first thing they taught me was my “steps.” If you don’t know the plays, you won’t be on the field. Simple as that.
You always start with the basics. Back slapping might only get you as far as a television sit-com in Cincinnati – watching from your couch.
Here are the seven steps on a first call that are drilled into our reps forward and backwards until they can recite them step by step and, more importantly, execute them on a sales call. It’s also important to know you don’t have to go Step 1 through 7 in that order. The great sales reps can bounce around between them, as long as they walk away having covered all seven steps. Remember, closing happens on the CMP (Customer Marketing Profile -- CNA) when you quantify and qualify the prospect.
Step 1: Initial Greeting -- Break the Ice and Build Commonality
The most important step, in my opinion. If you can’t begin to build trust, you’re going to have a tough time getting the information you are going to need to build any kind of a creative campaign, let alone put together a schedule or put yourself in a position to close them down the road.
There’s no time-limit on Step 1. Just be sincere. Hopefully, you have done some research on the person you are seeing and you already know something about them that will help you to build some common ground. Notice pictures and achievements where you really care about what they did. Just be real. Don’t fake it. Otherwise, you’re out quickly. This step could take you five minutes or an hour depending on the level of comfort you have established.
Step 2: Transition into Your Objective -- Why are you there?
Whatever you did to get the appointment -- phone, walked in and met them, electronic -- restate what you did and go back over this to set the stage for your purpose on the call. “As I mentioned to you on the phone when I set up this appointment, I noticed some of the great displays you have on your furniture. Your salesperson Electra was very knowledgeable about your products and I noticed some things inside your store where there could be a match between your business and your media company -- I’m not sure yet and that’s the reason I requested this time to meet with you to find out a little more about your business.”
Step 3: Information-Based Questions
This is where we use our CMP and start by asking easy, open-ended questions such as “Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.” The prospect checks off their top three reasons to advertise and then we drill down on target customer profiles and lifestyle information. Drill down on profit centers, competition, and make sure you ask about co-ops where applicable. Where do they spend their money in marketing?
Step 4: Transition into Your 1-10 Question
The easy questions are over. You should now have the reasons why they want to advertise, who the target is, and where they spend their money. Now you’re going to find out where it hurts. You’re the doctor and you need to find out where the pain is. Instead of asking, “What are your problems?” Ask, “On a scale of 1-10 -- and there is no perfect 10 (takes away the objection they don’t need any more people coming into their store) -- how would you rate your current marketing effectiveness? Ninety percent of the time they answer 7 (believe it or not -- try it). Your follow-up questions is: “Why not an 8 or 9?”
Now you have the permission to ask tougher questions and more problem-related questions. Drill deep here. Never ask a problem-related question without having a tougher question behind it. Do an MRI and find the break in their leg.
Step 5: Quantify
Today they are moving 50 cars a month on average and they would like to move 60 a month. Is it realistic based on what they’ve done in the past? If you walk out without quantifying their expectations, you’ll be left with asking the dreaded question at the end of the schedule (you’re already toast by then) “How’s it working?” You should never have to ask that question. You should be in their business all the time -- measuring, tracking, and sourcing their advertising based on the expectations you set up with your prospect.
Step 6: Qualify
The money shot! If you walk away without them telling you how much it’s worth to go from 50 to 60 cars a month -- which could be $400.00 per car or a $4,000-a-month schedule -- then you'll face the #1 objection in media sales: “That’s too much money.” Closing happens here. “If I could come up with an idea that could get you from 50 cars a month to 60 cars a month, would it be worth $4,000 to do it -- and I need a minimum of four months based on the buying cycle of automotive buyers”? It’s yes or no. Simple, closed-ended question. Qualify the money. They have to say it.
Step 7: Set Up the Next Appointment in 72 Business Hours
You have a short window here. If you made an emotional connection they will want to see you back with an idea right away. The more time that goes by, the less chance you have of closing it when you come back.