My very first sales role was selling cars (both new and used!) at Jayhawk Volkswagen in Lawrence, KS between my junior and senior college years. No kidding, the sales manager was named Sarge. I can still hear him growling, “Who’s up?”, when anyone walked onto the lot or into the showroom.
The car buying experience WAS very different then. It was a higher-pressure interaction. There was a lot more “tire-kicking”. Shoppers actually visited dealers and car lots to learn more about cars. Time and time again we would learn that if someone left without a deposit or commitment, they bought a car elsewhere!
To give you a sense of what we were taught, Sarge strongly recommended that IF a looker said, “…let me go talk to my husband”, our response should be, “…Great idea, let’s get in the car and find him right now!”
It strikes that me media sales today is similar to my early automobile experience. Higher pressure … certainly many more options nowadays … if the prospect doesn’t buy from you now, it’s probable they’ll buy from someone else tomorrow. Or handle the entire transaction on their own!
However, there’s at least One Very Big Difference – every buyer or local business will (ok, should) have solid expectations (NOT necessarily accurate!) about what he or she is buying and how it will perform! That intel could come from past experience, fellow merchants or business associates, an online search, perhaps an association and yes, YOU, the consummate media sales representative can be an invaluable resource!
Given that reality, I submit it is important you accomplish two goals:
- Differentiate yourself from other local sales executives by providing your prospect with something they don’t know about their business. If every customer or prospect says to themselves, “…I’m smarter or can run my business better thanks to that sales rep” " you Will Thrive!
- Prospect perpetually! There’s no question upselling existing customers (we’re constantly adding products and services, right?!!) makes sense, but the only way to regularly grow any business is by systematically adding NEW customers.
By the way, IMHO the most eye-opening and catalyzing (and, easy to get) intelligence you can provide customers and prospects is to quantify HOW MANY plan on buying the stuff they sell. If you can tell an owner or decision maker the size of their target audience by zip or community or whatever metric they choose, you will make a sale and it will likely be a long-term commitment!
By engaging a customer with this information, you’ll find the conversation quickly turns to, “How do you suggest I reach them?” Those are magic words – when you respond with a solid solution it will pave the way to a long and meaningful partnership.
Good luck! I make this sound easy - it really IS! If you doubt me for a second, reach out and I’ll tell you how!