Ready or not, by now you are looking ahead into First Quarter 2014. You spent all of 2013 building, building, building, and with Thanksgiving so late, December is starting to come in. There is still plenty to do in Fourth Quarter! You know that as soon as October is over — and is that just in a few days? — your CRM system and your reports will drop off a good month and add on the dreaded January.
You tentatively hover your mouse over the billing reports for January, February and March 2014. You work up the nerve, and…click! Noooo! Where did all your revenue go? And if you have an inventory system, you are looking at way too many unsold spots. Fortunately, TV has February sweeps and some major sporting events like “the Big Game” to help them, but January still looks bleak!
Even if you never discount your spots, are philosophically opposed to fire sales, or can’t imagine having your sellers Dialing for Dollars, you might want to consider a one-day sale. These one-shot deals are designed to spur businesses to advertise, but also to take money off the table so your competitors are left scrounging for the scraps. I have had a few disastrous one-day sales and many very successful ones. I found a pretty good formula that worked for me and my sales staffs, and made a difference in my Q1:
- Plan. Plan a fun theme. We have had pirates, with our sellers plundering other stations; an early Christmas, with prizes wrapped in holiday paper; Monopoly, where you get money as you pass Go; and Rock Stars, where we treated the sellers like the Rock Stars they are all day. Plan by looking at your inventory and CRM systems for how much inventory you have available for this and what your spot prices need to be. Plan whether you will promote specific packages or will simply discount rates. Plan who you will show this great deal to. Plan how you will implement, and plan how you will track your sales.
- Have rules and stick to them. ALL sellers must participate all day. Don’t expand your time frame to run these lower-rate spots, and don’t allow these rates to be booked outside the parameters you set. Don’t allow sales at this rate beyond when you say you will need an answer. Truly make this your lowest rate. Your first one-day sale sets the tone for future years, so stick to your rules.
- Have prizes. Sellers love recognition and prizes, so build some sumpin’ sumpin’ into your budget. These can be cash, gift cards, tickets – anything that provides immediate gratification. Have many chances to win by offering hourly prizes, biggest sale prizes, quickest sale prizes, etc. This will provide a chance for your newer sellers to win, as well as your veterans. Take regular breaks throughout the day, even hourly, and give out recognition and prizes often.
- Let clients know in advance. Use your CRM system to have your sellers know who is a good prospect for this, and prepare their lists and contacts. This is a piece of cake if you have an eMarketing program that is integrated into your CRM. Tell your sellers that this opportunity is coming (but not the details), it will be on this day, it will be only on that day, and they need to be ready. Prepare your agencies and have them talk to their clients in advance if there is not a budget for that time frame. You will find many of your sales will come from good preparation, and the sellers who “pre-sell” the concept will be more successful.
- Have fun! Make the day special. Casual wear is the attire of the day. Bring in breakfast and lunch. Provide snacks throughout the day. The more creative you are, the more the sellers will embrace the day. Try to go above the regular burgers at the trade place you always use and make it special – a Mexican buffet, make-your-own personal pizza, or Sales Managers Cook Your Breakfast. For snacks: ice cream sundaes, your favorite candy bar, or decorate your own cupcakes.
On One-Day Sale Day, have fun, track and celebrate your wins, and don’t be afraid to look at your pacing for first quarter! If you want to brainstorm some ideas for your staff or have any questions about how to make your one-day sale a success, give me a call at 877-333-4246, extension 808. Have fun!
By Kitty Malone, Efficio Solutions Manager of Client Services