I recently finished reading a book about Abraham Lincoln and his opponents for the presidential nomination. I loved the movie Lincoln, even though I did know ahead of time how it would end. I also enjoyed both Argo, the film about the American hostage crisis in Iran, and Zero Dark Thirty, about the mission to capture or kill Osama bin Laden.
It seems to me that there is a renewed interest in history in bloom. Some think we are longing for a less complicated world, while others believe we are searching for answers. Having lived through a lot of history (no, not as far back as Lincoln), I prefer to think it is more of the latter. It sure seemed complicated while we were living through it, so I am leaning towards the idea that we are hoping to learn from both our mistakes and our triumphs.
There is an old quote from British statesman Edmund Burke that has almost become cliché: “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” This applies to politics, wars and even to media sales. With many news talk shows focusing on politics and wars, here are some suggestions for why you should and how you can pay attention to your media sales history:
- You don’t have to rely on memory or, worse, on your perceptions of what happened. Don’t be afraid to pull reports to see how you performed in the past, or to see what happened with an account. Our perceptions of our media sales clients are often impacted by how vocal they are. The account you may think was a big one last year may not have been. Determine which accounts really were your big ones. Don’t let your clients rewrite your history.
- Hasn’t everyone in media sales had that situation in which you totally forgot that client that bought that special program last year, and now it is too late? If you have a system that allows you to see what was on in the upcoming months last year to this year, things won’t fall through the cracks. Compare year to year, and make the calls now for three to six months ahead.
- In both Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, intelligence was the key. As the characters were walking into a dark room, they had some idea of what they would find because they did their homework in advance. If you don’t have a CRM system that keeps track of what you have presented to a client in the past, get one or make one. Review it and review all you know about a client before you talk to them. Having an idea about what you will face in a sales call will make you look intelligent!
- Having the knowledge of what worked with a client in the past – and what didn’t – will save you and your client time. You will notice in war movies that the generals don’t keep on attacking on foot with bayonets if the other side is shooting at them with cannons and shotguns. They fall back, assess the situation and try another attack. You should do this, too. If a client says “no,” evaluate why they said that and try another solution. And if they said “yes,” bring them more of what worked. But you will have to do your homework by looking at real history, not by relying on memory or perceptions.
- Growth is important. Look at that comparative report of what happened last year with your actual billing and the billing of the accounts you now control. These are two different things, as accounts move all the time! Have you been able to increase spending from the accounts you control now over what they spent last year? And are you personally billing more, meaning that you are prospecting well, replacing dollars that have gone away, and are coming up with a wider variety of solutions for your current customers? Look at your own history and control your future.
Take it from Burke – don’t hear “no” over and over and fail to grow your business (and your paycheck) from year to year. Know how your movie is going to end!
By Kitty Malone, Efficio Solutions Manager of Client Services