January 17th, 2013
by Amber Brown
Growing business each year takes lots of planning, prospecting, doing your homework and good old-fashioned hustle. I’ve long held that you work just as hard for $10,000 as you do for $100,000. It also takes ten $10,000 deals to make one $100,000 deal. Yes, I know, simple math, but why do we always make it so hard? Adding on $100,000 to your year or month can be a game changer.
Finding $100,000 or $50,000 clients is not easy and takes some planning. Let’s take a look at how to get there.
- Prospect for clients or industries that can spend an extra “Zero” in your market – A few years ago, I worked with a high billing transactional rep that wanted to do more NTR but was cautious of the ROI in time. My advice to her was to focus on categories and accounts that could spend the money to make it worth it for her and match categories that fit her media. After some initial research, we focused on the HVAC category. This category plans 3-6 month out, so we started in the fall to garner revenue for the spring season. She had plenty of time to work through concepts with several manufacturers. She closed her first deal for $120K and the client became a repeat for several years.
- Package your products the way clients want to buy them – We once worked with a business development manager in Dallas that would get mad when she’d see large corporate clients spend money with the professional sports teams. Often these clients didn’t want traditional media — they wanted all the bells and whistles that came along with the association of the teams. She focused on these accounts and got in the door with several. After doing her homework, she learned what elements these decision makers wanted and what they didn’t. In one case the media meant nothing to the client, it was actually harder for them to buy something that had media vs. a true sponsorship. It seems absurd to charge the client the same amount for a “package” that didn’t have media, but that’s exactly what she did. The net was a happy client and a game changing $350K. It would have been easy to drop the price down, but the value to the client was all the non-media elements — which leads me to the next point…
- Place Value on “All” of Your Work – Many media companies resemble the cosmetic counter at the holidays, offering a “gift with every purchase”. In other words, if the client buys from you, whatever it may be — an event, promotion, special publication that typically includes a media buy, then we give them hundreds of promotional elements, added exposure in other places, plus all of the execution just because. If you whittle all of the time and energy that it takes to pull off the average NTR deal, then before long you may be working for pennies on the dollar. Place true value on each element, not just the media and its counterparts. Tally this up and add a ZERO. Whole industries exist for execution of events for brands, why do we always do it for free? ADD A ZERO for the value of your time.
We use a formula to project business that is quite simple. You need 4X legitimate pending to hit your goal. In adding a ZERO, do the math on what it will take for you. For example, $50,000 goal = $200,000 in pending in new business. Then amp it up! Add one more pending piece of business each month, before you know it, you’ll be above goal and adding a zero to your commission check.
January 7th, 2013
by Susan Novicki
January is a great time to assess what we are doing and how we can be more productive more efficiently to make more money. First of all, were you happy with what you accomplished in 2012? Did you make the money you expected to make? Would you have liked to make more?
More than likely you were somewhat happy with your accomplishments but there were some things that never came to fruition. You may have come close to what you expected to make but of course would like to have made more money. This is a chance to start fresh with resolutions to become more successful – but these are resolutions that you need to stick to throughout the year – not like typical New Year’s resolutions like starting to go to the gym regularly and your schedule lasts less than a month. Create a strategy that will work within your skills and time.
First, take a look at your current business:
- How can you grow your current accounts?
- Are you deep enough into all aspects of the business?
- Are there pockets of money that you are leaving on the table – in corporate communications, sales, brand, field marketing, foundations, human resources etc.?
- Do you know all the major decision-makers in the company?
- Do you know the important “influencers”?
- Do you know the current state of affairs at the company – what are they doing differently in 2013?
- Create a list of priorities with each account and what you need to do to go deeper to generate more revenue.
Second, look at the list of prospects you are working.
- Do some of them have to be shuffled aside for a while because there is no opportunity?
- Do you have enough diversified leads?
- It is important to focus on some categories of business but you don’t want to just work on one category. Automotive was a great category in 2012 and will continue to be in 2013, but you want to make sure you are working other categories at the same time to insure that you are diversified.
- Financial, healthcare, home improvement, consumer packaged goods are just some of the categories that should prove fruitful for you in 2013.
Third, organize yourself each and every week.
- On Sunday night, review what you need to accomplish for the following week.
- What do you need to do for your regular business?
- What leads are the priority?
- Who do you have to call back at a specific time based on the voicemail you left last week?
- Have you done enough research on the company?
- Have you landscaped deep enough to call multiple points of contact?
- When are you scheduling yourself to make these calls throughout the week? Slot them into your Outlook or calendar like they are actual appointments.
Finally, review your accomplishments each Friday.
- How are you pacing to hit your planned revenue numbers each quarter?
- What do you have to do to increase the current activity to hit your goals?
- Make this part of your plan to prepare for next week on Sunday night.
If you do this each and every week, you will have a fantastically successful and profitable 2013.
December 14th, 2012
by Ginny Speaks
Being a sales strategist and coach, I work with sales reps of all levels on a daily basis – reps that are brand new to media and those that have been around for a long time. I find the most successful reps aren’t necessarily those that have been in the field for years, but those that have the ability to ask great questions. Interestingly, Harvard did a study of the history of “sales scripts” in American business and the first planned presentation the researchers found dates back to 1863. More importantly, they found that the one common denominator in all the scripts was the use of questions.
The sales cycle at all stages should be a series of questions, not a pitch or a broadcasting session about your medium or packages. It should be a fluid conversation that engages the prospect in dialogue by asking great questions and then listening.
Let’s review the series of questions that infiltrates this process.
- The first series of questions in the presentation or get to know you stage should be all about building rapport and establishing common ground. Once common ground is established, one moves into the second series of questions, the discovery or needs analysis stage. Questions during this stage should be about identifying a need or capturing an assignment by asking questions that bring answers to the following questions: the who, what, when, where and how much. All these questions come prior to any pitch or solution and should be well thought out in advance during the research phase.
- Once an assignment has been established and a well thought out plan has been put together, we enter the presentation phase of the sales cycle. During this phase, one should be asking questions that determine the interest of the package/program being presented. For example, “Are you with me so far?”, “Do you see the benefit in that?” or one of my favorites, “Does that make sense?” These questions help determine the interest and make your presentation conversational. Again, keep in mind your presentation should not be a pitch or lecture, it should be conversational and this only happens if you ask questions.
- Once the presentation is coming to completion, we enter the trial close series of questions. For example, “How does it sound so far?” or “On a scale from 1-10, where would you rate this program?” If you get a positive response you move on to the closing questions. If you do not get a positive response, you answer the objection or the question.
- The last series of questions are the closing questions. These questions should lead the prospect to sign the agreement or at least commit to another meeting. They can be assumptive. For example, “In order to get started, I need to gather some information from you.” Or they can be choice driven, “Would you want a start date this month or the first of next month?” Or they can focus on a deadline or event date, “The event starts 4 weeks from now, I suggest we begin the pre-promotion in two weeks. Do you agree?”
You get the idea. I challenge you to begin seeing your presentations as a series of questions that engage the prospect in dialogue. Do you see the benefit in that?