Like most of us in media sales, I talk to people all over the country every day. The theme for the past several months has been the same – this winter has been brutal!
It has been cold in Florida, brutally cold in Boston, windy and cold in Chicago, snowing and cold in Denver. Temperatures of over freezing were met with hopes of 60 degrees, only to plunge below zero yet again.
Now that Spring has sprung, the roller coaster ride has just been getting more extreme. Wherever the small talk about the weather goes on, there is a game of one-upmanship: it rained so much we had a deadly mudslide. Sad, but we were below freezing for 49 days straight.
Oh yeah? Well, WE had a swing from 70 degrees to snow in twelve hours (that last one is mine, and while I didn’t really walk ten miles to school uphill each way as a child, the weather really did that a couple of weeks ago).
You just can’t count on Mother Nature. March came in like a lion, went to lamb, and went back to lion for March’s curtain call. We go from coats to shirt sleeves, and back to coats. Even award-winning meteorologists missed forecasting the tornados of a few days ago. The instability of the weather has made it an unwelcome topic of conversation.
You may find that you are an unwelcome topic of conversation at your station, if your sales are as unstable and unpredictable as the weather has been. So, how can you have a sunny forecast?
- Look ahead! The meteorologist is looking at what winds are blowing a thousand miles northwest of us so they can tell us what our weather will be in day and a week. In media sales, we need to look ahead a few months to see what clients were on last year that you may have let slip through the cracks. And if you don’t want to deal with them, give them to the new guy, who may have more time to get that business back!
- Use your yield management system. If you have a yield management system or an inventory control system, base your future rates not on your gut, but on analysis of your inventory and what rate you need to get to goals. What you do now impacts your billing three months out. Be sure you are looking that far out and beyond to get a solid forecast.
- Plan your next steps and get them on the calendar to remind yourself. Don’t wait until you are in a one-on-one with your media sales manager and she asks what happened to that piece of business you were excited about two months ago. Be proactive and set your next step so it doesn’t become ice cold.
- Get organized. Get rid of time-wasting accounts, and use your CRM tools to focus your efforts on your best prospects. Set aside time to develop new hot prospects. Technology is your friend in this endeavor.
- Look for products to sell to your best clients. Be sure you are offering those great sponsorship and digital opportunities to your best clients. They are warm calls. If you are behind your goals, use your extended products to both help your current customers reach more people in different ways and to get more money on the books.
- Don’t stop. Don’t take a vacation, even just a short mental one, because your forecast was sunny and you hit goal this month. If you do, you will likely miss goal in a future month. Set mini goals for yourself to achieve every day and every week, whether it be so many prospect calls, so many spec spots, or so many in-person visits. Running over a level field is a lot easier than climbing mountains and sliding back down, only to have to climb up again.
Like this year’s weather, roar into every media sales month like a lion, and roar out like a lion. Your April showering of focus, development, organization and tenacity will make you hot, and will help grow money in May and each month beyond.
By Kitty Malone, Efficio Solutions Manager of Client Services