Archive for June, 2012

Does Your Staff Have a Level 5 Commitment?

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

by Amber Brown

Recently, I heard a story about one of our Business Development Managers that caused me to take pause and think about what it truly takes to be successful in today’s business climate. There are some employees that do a good job, those that do a great job, and then there are those that we refer to as Level 5. What does it take to be Level 5? Here’s a story to frame up the Level 5 commitment.

This BDM always does her homework before she picks up the phone. In her pre-call work, she did all the standards that we teach….visit the website, check out the contact’s LinkedIn profile, read any articles written by the person, etc. In her homework, she found a quote from the contact (the president of a major company) stating his favorite food was Mint Milano Cheesecake. Even better, he had taken it a bit further and listed the recipe with tips to make it perfect.

The BDM used this in her voice mail sharing her love for the same cheesecake and saying that when they met (although she didn’t yet have the appointment) she’d make him a cheesecake. This landed her a call back. Why? Because she did her homework, related to something that was obviously important to him and made the call real and human. This is good, but this is not what makes it Level 5. After he called her back, gave her the appointment and joked with her about the cheesecake (this would be where most people stop) she made a decision to show up with the cheesecake!   Fast forward to the appointment – the BDM comes in with the AE holding a box.   The conference room is full of several other key staff from the company and she sets the box in the middle of the table, thus demonstrating her Level 5 commitment to doing business with them. Let’s just say it made a lasting impression on everyone in the room. They enjoyed the cheesecake and discussed doing business together.   It would have been easy to just show up and have some banter about her voice mail, but she backed it up.

There are reps that are successful for many reason’s and this certainly doesn’t ensure a future, but it does demonstrate a level of commitment to success which is the attitude that “I will do whatever it takes” to be successful. Take a look at the scale below and think about your team.

LEVEL 5 = I’ll do whatever it takes

LEVEL 4 = I’ll do my best.

LEVEL 3 = I’ll try. I might. I could

LEVEL 2 = I want the result but do not want to put forth the effort.

LEVEL 1 = I do not want to be here. You can’t help me.

What level of commitment does your team demonstrate? Is there room for improvement in your team? How many Level 5′s do you have?

We always talk about what it takes to be successful in today’s ever changing world, but to see the skills in practice speaks for itself.

What Does a Homework Assignment Look Like?

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

by Sue Novicki

Many times I am asked to help brainstorm ideas with a sales rep for a prospect that they have had a conversation with for the next meeting. My first question is “what is your homework assignment?”  ”What have you found out are their initiatives and objectives for the time period that we are working?” In asking these questions I often find that what is considered a homework assignment too often is more like a RFP.

As everyone at Morrison and Abraham will tell you, it is critical that we are focusing on the issues at stake for the client and not making assumptions so that we can pitch something the station or property has to sell. Of course it is natural for us to prospect leads that make sense for a product that we have to sell, but there has to be a valid business reason (VBR) for making the call that is based on something that the company is doing or something that affects the company. A VBR is not the event or product that you have to sell.

Once you create that VBR to introduce you and initiate a conversation and establish credibility with the decision-maker, then you work on garnering the homework assignment. The homework assignment is based on those need analysis questions that are in our Dialing for Dollars. Every question should be based on what you have learned about the category of business and the company that you are calling – this research is critical and will make or break your conversation to unearth a homework assignment.

A sales rep that I was working with recently was frustrated because the decision-maker was not forthcoming with information to create a homework assignment. Immediately I surmised that there was not enough conversation about their business and instead it was about her capabilities and how they would work for the decision-maker. The more research you do – and this does not take much time – the more successful your needs analysis conversation will be.

Remember that a great homework assignment has determined a number of elements that are important to the client including the target customer (not a broad demographic and includes the lifestyle of this person), key partners (whether they are manufacturers, retailers or comparable companies), key product or service for the company, timing and budget. Don’t forget my favorite questions – “What is the most successful program you have ever done and why do you think it was so successful? What is the least successful program you have done and why didn’t it work?” This will tell you how the decision-maker measures success as well as some of their hot buttons.

A homework assignment has got to be thorough enough so that you already have ideas in mind while you are doing the need analysis. And the only way to get this strong homework assignment is by establishing credibility so that the decision maker will open up and talk to you.

How are you establishing credibility to get that homework assignment?