by Sean Luce
In todays world of media, there are more sales reps selling various forms of media than ever before. The Internet world has added at least twice the number of reps we saw 10 years ago, either calling on the prospect by phone or via in-person solicitation. Its never been a more immediate satisfaction and gratification selling environment than today. Letting a few days go by from your initial CMP (Customer Needs Analysis) to the close, could be time you cant afford to waste. Sometimes, you might even be opening the door for competing media to sell your prospect, while you are waiting to put together your creative.
One of two things is happening in todays immediate selling world:
Lets look at a real world example that happened. In between set appointments, we PISSd on some prospects. The acronym PISS stands for Physical In-Store Survey. In other words, we walked the business and looked for reasons as to why this station could fit the apparent demographics and psychographics of the prospect. We wanted to see if there was a match. Not all businesses you walk in to make sense for you to do an in-depth needs analysis. You must qualify them first. There is nothing better than walking the business and seeing if there is a match. We also wanted to gather enough information on our walk through so our rep could call the prospect and come from a position of knowledge rather than shooting from the hip and trying to arm twist their way into an appointment.
We walked a retailer that consisted of greeting cards, candles, and assorted gift items. It was a 1st class operation and was much bigger on the inside than it appeared on the outside. After investing about 7 minutes in our walk through, we approached one of the cash registers where two women were working behind the counter. I took the lead and asked if we could talk to the owner or manager of the store. The owner identified herself. We explained who we were and that we walked her business. (Research shows that 95% of media sales reps dont do any research before they try to set up an appointment. Also if youre going to walk inside a business for prospecting, at least walk around the store, dont just go straight to the cash register to ask for the owner.)
We asked her for an appointment to discuss what we saw. She responded by saying, I use KXXX radio. I use the Newspaper (local) and various direct mail campaigns and my accountant told me I need to cut back on my advertising, there is no way I could add anything else. Thank you for coming in, but were not interested in more advertising. What to do? Head for the door right? After all, her accountant had pre-determined this call and the accountant is always the overriding voice.
I responded with a straight look into the eyes of the retailer and said, If we couldbring you ideas that could increase your saleswould you listen to them? In a dead panned look, she responded with, Yes, of course I would. I said, Could you please look at your calendar so we can set up an appointment. We agreed on a day and time. I would be out of the market by this time, so the sales rep would come back and make the CMP call without me.
When the sales rep came back she did the following:
Research shows that on a weekly basis, based on the numerous sales reps selling media today, that this owner is solicited by anywhere between 25 to 30 sales reps either in-person or on the phone selling a service or product. In some cases, you could find the need of the customer and set it up for another media rep to come in and sell your prospect, if you drag your feet. If the need is there-and you feel you can meet expectations, then close it now. No need to wait. You also have to make sure youre in front of the right decision maker. Remember, 60% of the time we make presentations to the wrong decision maker.
There is a small window of time once you gain the confidence of the decision maker until you can successfully close the call. Sometimes this window is less than 72 hours and sometimes its right now. Make sure what you are presenting is based on results for the client and is not driven by station needs only.
After being trained-the above sales rep was in her third week of sales at the property.
Sean Luce is the Head National Instructor for the Luce Performance Group in Houston, Texas and can be reached at email@example.com.