As I head to answer the front door, I wonder if I will hear a pitch for candy bars, coupons or lawn care. This time it is for siding and home maintenance. The pitch starts immediately.
Him: Good afternoon, ma’am. Now, I’m not here to sell you anything…
My mind: Then why are you here?
Him: We have taken all of our advertising dollars out of TV and radio because it is so expensive and, as we know, no one is listening to radio or watching TV like they used to. Instead, we are putting it all back into savings for our customers!
My mind: Clearly he has no idea where the money came from to buy this lovely home.
Him: All we ask is that you put this small sign up in your yard, and we can offer you major savings on siding and home improvements!
My mind: I thought you weren’t here to sell me anything!
Him: Many of your neighbors have already agreed to this (he flips through his order pad).
My mind: I don’t care. What does that have to do with me?
Him: Frankly, we like this neighborhood because there is a lot of traffic because of the schools, and people here do take care of their homes
My mind: I can’t take much more…
Him: (as he flips open his pad) So, I just need your name…..
Me: OH! The old assumed close! Now let me ask YOU a few questions. You say you want your signs here because of high traffic. Does that mean you want reach? How important is frequency to you?
Him: Uhhhh, we like that too!
Me: And you say you like the neighborhood because we take care of our homes. So, you have defined a definite target, it seems?
Him: Uhhhh, well, people with homes that will spend on our products.
Me: Then you ARE here to sell me something! You are selling me on another appointment to sell me your products, right?
Him: Uhhhh, well…
Me: And if you had bothered to ask me any questions you might have found out that my AND my husband’s entire careers were spent in broadcasting, much of them in media sales. Those “expensive” radio and TV commercials got a lot of great results for many clients, many of whom I still call friends, because I developed great ideas to help them get reach and frequency to a targeted audience. They built their businesses on it.
Still me: So I might suggest you customize your approach and ask some questions. Oh, and be honest. You are ringing my bell to sell me something. I appreciate a great salesperson.
Moral of the story: In media sales,
- Research your clients to be sure your station’s target matches their product or service target before you go in.
- Listen more than you talk.
- Have a valid reason to peak a potential client’s interest in talking to you.
- Customize your approach by doing homework before the call, by listening, and by watching.
- Don’t waste people’s time.
A sales “pitch” will be ignored unless you are under 15 years old or selling a product that people must have, like chocolate.
By Kitty Malone, Efficio Solutions Manager of Client Services