I recently had the misfortune of requiring some emergency surgery and experienced an extended stay in my local hospital. I had to make a quick decision in the middle of the night about whether to drive in pain an extra thirty minutes to the big city hospital and wait for hours in the ER, or hopefully get seen more quickly with the same quality care at my local ER. I chose the latter.
Luckily, everything went smoothly and I have been recovering comfortably at home now for a couple of weeks. As I have reflected on my week connected to an IV, I feel that my experience was a positive one overall, and it was driven almost completely by the nursing personnel who took care of me 24/7. My surgeon was a nice guy, had a good bedside manner, and as it turns out, was pretty accomplished with a scalpel. But the real heavy lifting of care was done by the nursing staff on the floor.
My mother-in-law was a nurse, so I have been exposed to how difficult that job can really be — how the best nurses can put the patient’s needs and required care first, no matter how they personally feel that day. They have to do this consistently, day in and day out, with a changing cast of patients who can run the gamut from easy to difficult. As I think about the nurses who cared for and interacted with me it is fairly easy to figure out which ones really enjoyed what they did by their actions and attitude…and then there were those who were just going through the motions.
I think this topic is an appropriate internal conversation that we should have with ourselves in our roles as media salespeople. What is our personal position in the minds of our clients? Have we really thought about this and analyzed it? What do we project, either verbally or non-verbally, about how passionate we are about what we do?
If we could ask our clients, what would they really say about their impressions of our efforts to bring them expertise in our chosen field? Do they see us as empathetic to the business situations that they find themselves in? Do they believe that the questions we ask are intended to discover true business needs and are not just intended to fill our sales quiver with arrows with which to close them? Do we show them our ability to solve problems from the work we have done previously for other clients?
This “brand” we create for ourselves is critical to our ability to have a rewarding and successful career in media sales. Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar used to say that ”we only get where we want to go by helping enough people get to where they need to go first.” Pretty simple and intuitive. How often do we actually get the opportunity to get feedback on some of the questions I posed above? In reality, not very often.
So, the real reflection of your “brand” can be seen in the renewals you get from existing clients, and the referrals they feel comfortable giving you when you ask. Your clients know whether you are passionate about helping them or whether you’re just going through the motions.