I was recently watching the coverage of the on-going search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane. The satellites and the pings from the black box had narrowed the search. The underwater search by the mini-sub had found nothing. Frustrations were clearly growing as the families wanted answers, the airline needed answers, and ships and planes had been searching for days with no answers.
The professionals being interviewed on the news show suggested that the next step might be to have someone new collect and analyze the data. With all due respect to the group that narrowed the search, perhaps they were so locked into their solutions and theories that they were missing other indicators.
The pros relate that when the experts get stumped in science and police work, it is common to bring in a fresh pair of eyes. I wondered, if this is a strategy for scientists and cops, why do we hesitate to do it in media sales?
Account managers hang on to accounts for dear life, even when they are inactive and costing them (and the station) money. Media sales managers are hesitant to move accounts that are producing desired results because they either believe it (sorta…) when the seller says they are “this close,” or they don’t want to make the seller mad. Meanwhile, the business owner wants answers on how to get more people in their door, and the station higher ups want answers on why that account isn’t on the air.
From a media sales manager’s position, here are a few things a fresh pair of eyes can bring to an account:
- A different personality may click better. People like to buy from people they like. The account contact may not SAY this is why they are not buying because they didn’t want to hurt their rep’s feelings, or they didn’t want the rep to get in trouble with management, or they are used to the rep. But the business has been lost, and may be found with someone new. (P.S., help your rep not take it personally if this is the case.)
- Different questions may uncover necessary information. The past rep may think they know all about the business and may still be acting on old data. Different questions may send the search for money in a different direction.
- Hard questions may uncover necessary information. The past rep may have initially asked some hard questions, but as time passed and familiarity grew, those hard questions that uncover marketing needs get harder to ask. Digging deeper again may recover lost information.
- Expertise in a category may lead to new solutions. Someone who has more experience in a category may be able to better understand and uncover needs specific to the industry. They may know of trends and be better able to relate. Use that expertise to inspire confidence from the client.
- Someone new doesn’t carry the baggage of past successes and failures. You can’t rely on what was, especially in this ever-changing world, anymore than you can be burdened by failures. New ideas and new strategies may turn the tide your way.
As a media salesperson, why do you care if this account gets a fresh pair of eyes? You weren’t getting anywhere. And YOU will be a fresh pair of eyes for another account with potential. See if you can find those lost dollars with a fresh pair of eyes on lost accounts.
By Kitty Malone, Efficio Solutions Manager of Client Services