Sales 101 – Be Honest!
I started cold calling as a media rep for the NBC affiliated station in Monterey 14 years ago. My job was to convince advertisers to spend their advertising dollars with our station. I had no experience in media sales, business consulting, advertising or really anything, since I was all of 20 years old. Yet, I honestly believed without a shadow of a doubt, that it was in every business owner’s best interest to advertise on our station. With no filter and no fear, I would boldly walk into any business and confidently present the owner with this fantastic opportunity to advertise on our station. I signed over $100K in new business for the station my first year, earning the nick name “New Biz Queen.” I was one of thirty account executives chosen from around the country to attend the broadcast sales academy.
I signed over $100K in new business for the station my first yearAfter a first year like that combined with specialized training in broadcast sales, everyone expected me to close more accounts than the year before, but the exact opposite happened. As I learned more about media sales, business consulting and advertising, I began to understand how advertising on our station could be a great investment for certain advertisers, but not necessarily every advertiser. As a result, I signed fewer clients than the previous year but those I signed became long-term advertisers as compared to the first year when most of my new clients didn't even fulfill their first contract.
Closing a ton of new business in a year feels amazing, but it’s a short-term high, and in a world where customers write about their experiences online, there are sure to be long-term consequences.
My journey so far has taught me that it pays to be patient. Take the time to understand and contact only those that you know you can help. If through the course of getting to know a potential client, you find out that you may not be the best fit for them, save everyone time and energy by being upfront and honest about it. See if you can point them in the right direction or provide them with some information that will help them as they continue to search. The trust you earn will lead to many referrals and you’ll establish yourself as the trusted expert in your field. Before you know it, prospects that will easily convert into long-time customers will be coming to you for help.
In the meantime, if you’d like to have an honest conversation about your marketing, let’s talk!