Even if you don’t watch the show actively, admit it, you can hear that gravelly voice, “Who will be the NEXT American Ninja Warrior?!” You know the concept — tough people who train like crazy take on a series of seemingly impossible obstacles. If they slip or fall, they are out. If they get through them all, they will be honored as an American Ninja Warrior.
Your life in media sales is a lot like the challenge of becoming a Ninja Warrior. You start out with a relatively easy task, such as prospecting and getting an appointment. Like the Warrior wannabes, sometimes you stumble even on that first step and don’t get an appointment. And like the Warrior wannabes, moving the sale along is harder and harder each step of the way, from getting your questions answered and uncovering marketing challenges, to coming up with an idea they can’t say “no” to, to asking for the order and getting it. At any point along the way, you can encounter rejection, the media sales equivalent to the Ninja falling into the water below the obstacles.
Moving potential sales through the sales funnel has plenty of pitfalls. Learn from the Ninjas:
- Continuous training. These Ninja guys are not hanging from two inch boards by their fingers without training and preparation. Continuously prospect to hone your new business development skills; role-play your phone call to get an appointment before you pick up the phone; practice your presentation. The Ninjas don’t scramble to the top of the 40-foot cargo net without having worked at it over time.
- Keep moving. Some of the obstacles a Ninja faces require fleet feet, and there are time limitations even if a potential Ninja finishes the course. Hopefully you, in media sales, have a CRM system that reminds you of what you have pending and where you are with it so you keep the sale moving. It is defeating when you work on potential dollars, then it gets pushed to the side and the momentum and/or timing is lost. Keep moving those potential dollars through the sales funnel by always scheduling your next step.
- If you fall, don’t give up. Don’t be afraid to record a loss. Few first-timers go far on American Ninja Warrior, because they must learn by experience what they need to do better and how to hone those skills. They reset their goal and try again. A good CRM system will help you understand your losses so you don’t make the same mistake and go after that account again.
- Work harder and smarter than everyone else. Ninja Warriors know their strengths and develop ways to overcome their non-strengths. They use tools to better understand how they can push themselves and to train. In media sales, there are all kinds of software and analytics available. Your manager probably doesn’t hesitate to let you know how you are doing, but you can push yourself. Make one more call, spend a few more minutes on that presentation and use your tools.
- Want it. Everyone, even YOU, makes mistakes and stumbles. What often separates the high-level performer is that they set a goal and work harder, don’t give up, and keep moving and learning. It works for the Ninjas and can work for you.
Your road to a winning may not include lifting 150-pound doors and slipping under them, or jumping on a little trampoline to grab onto a rope ten feet overhead. But you CAN conquer the sales funnel with the finesse of a Ninja and become the next AMERICAN MEDIA WARRIOR!
By Kitty Malone, Efficio Solutions Manager of Client Services
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