One of the functions that I perform in my consulting business is to travel in the field with media reps to coach and train them. I see the issues first-hand that the reps encounter day in and day out. I would like to share five practices that I have observed that can improve media reps results with their clients.
1) Hold the Client Responsible for Their Portion of the Advertising Campaign
In selling a media campaign to clients, reps need to understand that the advertiser also has an important responsibility in the campaign. The client sets the price, the placement, and even chooses the specific product for the campaign. The media rep is responsible for promoting the product(s). The media rep does manage a portion of the campaign, yet they are often given full responsibility for the failure of a campaign. To avoid being blamed, reps should set the expectations at the beginning when quantifying the results with the customer. The rep then establishes a means for tracking the results or objectives of the campaign. They should be sure to meet with the client before the advertising begins and establish measurement guidelines on realistic product movement. In addition, the rep should use a return-on-investment calculation if possible, so the advertiser will have realistic expectations. There are various aspects that constitute a successful campaign. The rep needs to make sure that the client is also doing their part to insure the campaigns success.
2) Bring Creative Ideas to the Client
I am surprised at how many times that I attend a closing presentation and the rep fails to include creative ideas for the campaign. The media rep is the advertising consultant for the account. One of their most important responsibilities is to make sure that they have creative in place that will accomplish the clients goals. If the rep has completed the customer marketing profile, they should already know what the customer needs. When I hear a sales rep ask the advertiser, Are these ads what you need? it is a good indication to me that the campaign is already off to a rocky start. The media rep should be making the recommendations about the advertising, not the client.
3) Do the Homework Regarding the Customer
Hit-and-miss, drive-by-shootings is how I like to describe these calls. A drive-by-shooting is when I see a media rep rambling on in a sales call with no particular objective. They will try and throw something out there and hope that the client bites. The client will occasionally feel sorry for the rep and toss some small buys or scraps their way. Remember that only five percent of sales reps do any homework before attempting to set up an appointment with a client. Tragic! Do not be the rep that gets the scraps.
4) Follow up With the Customer
Following up with a customer is how a sales rep earns their stripes. There are many different aspects of follow-up, but it is key to maintaining an ongoing relationship with a client. Whether it is a thank you note from an initial meeting or a return phone call on a customer inquiry regarding their ads, the rep needs to be timely in their replies. A simple motto regarding customer follow-up: Do what you say you are going to do.
5) Organize Territory
I see many reps driving aimlessly with no solid plan. With todays gas prices, how can a rep afford to leave the office and merely drive around? Reps will miss a lot of precious face-to-face selling time by not having a concrete plan for a territory. A solid day with a well-organized call list can increase sales substantially. The key point here is that a reps week should be organized the previous week, not as they are walking out the door to start their day.
The success of any sales rep is a direct result of following proper selling techniques. The most successful sales reps are always measuring their customers expectations, bringing them new ideas, following up with their clients, and organizing their territory. The top reps work smarter, not harder.
Sean Luce is the Head National Instructor for the Luce Performance Group and can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
As seen in Radio Ink Headlines 11-26-12