I am excited! We are going on a family vacation – a cruise! – in just two-and-a-half short months (but who’s counting)! As a group, we have decided which of several relaxing vacation opportunities we want. Confirmation documents have been coming, as have emails advising us to be ready to reserve our spaces for the various shore excursions and the high-end restaurants. Tonight I will have my credit card number ready while I wait for midnight, that magic moment when I will finally be allowed to sign in, pay for what we want, and get a boarding time.
Once I realized how easy it is for me to hand over those credit card numbers, I had to chuckle. They have done a great job keeping me engaged in the process, managing my expectations, and even making me feel excited to stay up until midnight to give them more money!
I wonder where we drop the ball in media sales, to the point where they have to call us to ask us to come by, where they have to ask us about the process, and collections are just painful. Wouldn’t it be great if they couldn’t wait to see you, to hear about other sponsorships and opportunities you have, and if their checkbook was open?
While buying media advertising will never be as relaxing and include as much free food as a cruise, it doesn’t have to be an ordeal.
- Remember that anticipation is often as good – or better – than the actual event. Use your CRM system or calendar to schedule meetings and reminders to contact your customer into the future. Give them reasons to anticipate their upcoming sponsorship or schedule. If they enjoy the process of cutting a spot, share the steps with them (copy has been written, copy has been approved. Production will begin Friday. We should have a rough cut for you Tuesday…).
- Keep them engaged. Along with building anticipation, give them homework along the way: Who should be involved in our meetings to discuss your marketing? Be thinking about what you offer that your competitors don‘t before we discuss copy points. You will need to approve this copy by Wednesday for us to stay on schedule! Keep good notes in your CRM system so you can prepare before each meeting with your client.
- Outline the next steps clearly. Make them baby steps, tell them, and tell them again. Remember that, especially to a new client, advertising is no vacation and may be viewed like taxes – you have to pay, but aren’t sure what you are going to get back. Tell them when your meetings are and what will be covered, how you will present a marketing solution to them, and what will happen once you agree to go forward. This may include copywriting, approvals, production, more approvals, scheduling, and when you will need to get paid. Write this down and make a timeline so they can grasp our media sales process.
- Be upbeat and positive. Occasionally in my career, I have heard media sales people compared to slithering reptiles. If you will work on your relationships with your clients, and always have a smile, a fun anecdote and an overall positive outlook on things, they will take your calls and open your emails. My communications from the cruise line is always colorful, filled with beach pictures and news of pirate parties. Make your clients’ buying experiences fun and interesting with testimonials, good news and personal well wishes, which you can access from a CRM or other system that will allow you to keep good notes on your contacts.
- Want a renewal? Keep in front of your client. If you have an emarketing system that will allow you to send “personalized” mass emails, include this client in your best offers. We have been assured that there will be a chance to buy a future cruise at a reduced price while we are sipping on our umbrella drinks. Consider going over the benefits of continuing advertising and marketing with a client who is thrilled with the 60-second spot that features their name and their business, and anticipating the results they will get from it.
You can experience many bumps in the road in media sales, but with good communication with your clients about what they should expect, you will increase your chances for smooth sailing!