Archive for July, 2014

Narrow the Close

Friday, July 25th, 2014

by Susan Novicki

I have been traveling to markets each week over the past month and have been on some great sales calls that my clients have scheduled. In each of the needs analysis meetings, we have walked away with clear objectives and homework assignments and many times with big budgets disclosed.   We have set up a follow up meeting to present the ideas and will create a proposal from that call.  But the question becomes “How do we narrow the close?”

First we have to make sure that we have truly listened to the client and not made assumptions that make sense for what we are trying to sell, whether it is an event, a mobile app, or promotion that the station has created.

I think it is always great if a manager is on an important call with a rep. And it’s great when we are in town to go on calls with our salespeople as well. Why? Because you have an additional set of ears to hear what the decision-maker is truly saying. So many times in a conversation there are small references that we may miss because we are “broadcasting when we should be listening”. With an additional set of ears, we tend to catch those subtle references. Once we recap the conversation and create ideas that are narrowed down in the next meeting, we create a proposal that is focused on the objective that was determined in our needs analysis conversation. The concept that is created and how we will make it happen through an integrated campaign as well as the net investment all must go back to the objective that we heard during the needs analysis.

It is critical that we ask for the close when we present the proposal to the decision-maker. Many times they will tell a sales rep that it looks great but “let me review and get back to you in a few weeks”. Too many times the rep walks out of the meeting proud as a peacock that the call was “awesome” yet they haven’t asked for the sale.

After reviewing the proposal, have the contract ready for the decision-maker to sign. If they can’t sign it do you ask “why”? The most important question in narrowing the close is “on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 you signing where do you see this?” If the decision-maker says a “7″ you ask “what has to be done to this proposal to get it to a 10?” The more information you have, the better chance you have of closing.

Also make that follow up appointment – don’t leave it to “I’ll get back to you in a few weeks”. The more conversation and follow up calls, the better chance of narrowing the close. But it all starts with a great homework assignment from a great needs analysis meeting. Make the decision-maker a partner with you in reaching the desired objectives.

The Power of Communication

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

by Ginny Speaks

I have been spending a ton of time on the phone lately telecoaching with sellers all across the country and across formats calling on prospective clients, leaving voice mails and capturing assignments. Regardless of what medium we are calling from, the root of what we do and say really remains the same. The media lines have blurred tremendously over the years and we all offer various forms of marketing, not only traditional media, but digital, mobile, social, experiential and database to name a few. All of us have become full service media marketing companies. The question is — do we present ourselves that way?

The biggest challenge we have as sellers and managers, with so many tools in our tool box, is learning how to communicate effectively to get the buyers attention without boxing them into a corner and then having to work our way out. How do we do this?

The key is to paint the big picture first to open up communication and speak the decision maker’s language. For example, try these one-liners to explain what you do:

  • Put together integrated sales and marketing programs across various platforms to drive sales
  • We are full service media marketing company that specializes in integrated sales & marketing campaigns
  • Our company creates and executes integrated marketing campaigns that drives foot traffic to key retail
  • My company designs and executes integrated sales and marketing campaigns that generate new customers and increases brand awareness

Once you paint the big picture, it is about communicating what you want. The goal always is to secure a conversation/appointment to conduct a needs analysis, not to pitch packages.   Try these one-liners:

  • To open up communication to learn more about your sales goals and objectives
  • To begin a dialogue to see how we can best work together
  • To understand your challenges in the market and see how we can help solve those
  • To get on your call calendar to conduct an exploratory conversation

These statements are invitations to have a discussion and they eliminate the defense mechanism of a potential buyer. They are not threatening and do not say I want to sell you something.

PLUS, now is the time to plant seeds for next year. I have found myself saying over and over and over again on voice mails that I would like to get on the clients call calendar to open up dialogue about the back half of 2014 and get in front of 2015 planning.

I encourage you to evaluate your words, your dialogue and see how you can increase appointments by making a few changes on how you present yourself and ask for what you want. Plant those seeds to get in front of the money for 2015. Q4 is just around the corner!