I Don’t Need To Advertise

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(By Spike Santee) In radio advertising sales you will inevitably encounter a prospect who says they don’t need to advertise because they have all the business they can handle. For most salespeople this can be especially frustrating because your whole premise for the sales call is to help the business owner grow the business! 

Sometimes I think there must be a secret website where business owners share stalls and objections to stump salespeople. I can see the blog post now, “Tell them you have all the business you can handle, they won’t have a comeback. It works every time!”

In some ways, the “I have too much business” stall could be a red flag warning you to stay away from this prospect altogether. If it is just a stall, or at worst, a lie, that’s not a good foundation upon which to build a new business relationship. 

On the other hand, if they do have more business than they can handle, you have an opportunity to shift gears in your CNA and find out what they plan to do with all that business. Are they going to open another location? Are they going to branch out to other cities in the area? Are they going to launch a new online store? A business owner who truly does have more business than they can handle has plans. You want to learn more about those plans. 

But what is your understanding of growing a business? Just because you memorize some lines about growing a business to use in your sales talk doesn’t mean your prospect is going to think you are an expert. You must read business books, listen to business news, read case studies, and get an education on the challenges a business is going through to gain some credibility on the issue of growing a business.

Even when you truly do have all the business you can handle, a well-run company can still really screw things up. Here is a story of how two iconic megabrands, Kraft Macaroni and Heinz Ketchup, messed up big-time. 

In 2015, Kraft and Heinz agreed to merge, creating the third-largest food and beverage company in the United States. In order to fund the merger and grow the company, Kraft Heinz set out on a strategy of acquiring new companies and launching new products. But, along the way, Kraft Heinz made some serious mistakes that have cost the company a $15.4 billion write-down on the value of their mega-brands and a 62% decline in stock value from its peak just two years ago. In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission has issued subpoenas in an investigation in totheir accounting practices. 

What went wrong? 

Kraft Heinz cut back on the advertising investment for their iconic name brands to help with funding the launch of new products and the acquisition of new companies. The resulting slump in core product sales was far greater than expected and new revenues from the new product lines didn’t come quickly enough, creating the present financial mess at the company.

The new product lines were successful, they just weren’t successful enough to make up for the decline in other brands like Kraft Macaroni, Oscar Mayer, Velveeta, Jell-O, Planters, and Maxwell House. The iconic brands generate the revenue necessary for sustained growth and expansion.  

At the local level, your prospect’s business is a brand. It means something to consumers in your market. A brand is the thoughts and feelings the consumer experiences at the very moment they are exposed to or reminded of their brand. 

When the advertising stops, consumers now have a vacuum in their mind that can easily be filled with a new brand image from your prospect’s competitors, costing your prospect valuable mind share. Losing mind share leads to losing market share. And once the decline begins, all sorts of other complications begin to interfere with what was once a successful brand. 

So, next time you encounter a prospect who says they don’t need to advertise because they have all the business they can handle, just tell them the story of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Tell your prospect that Kraft Heinz thought they could cut back on their advertising and it ended up costing them a $16 billion write-down on their assets and a 62% drop in their stock price.  

Not advertising can be a very costly mistake, even if you have all the business you can handle. 

If I can help, just let me know. Talk to you soon. 

Spike Santee is the author of The Four Keys to Advertising Success and the president of SpikeSantee.com. Contact Spike at (785) 230-5350.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Great article, Spike. To add to your wisdom, when I was told that (lie), I would congratulate him and innocently ask, “would this be a great opportunity to expand you staff for more sales and profits? Since you’re doing things right “to have enough business”, filling that expansion should be easy with your great public image and method of doing business.”

    Do some homework and find the percentage of business conducted annually at similar businesses …. if what he owner says it true … his business must conduct 8.33% of his annual business during every month of the year. Very doubtful. Personally, I would show this business these numbers – and ask his key to success so you can share it with non-competing businesses. I would suggest a Needs/Analysis to also identify profit centers that have the possibility of growing profits without adding another staff member.

    Great article Spike, I always enjoy reading your articles. Keep up the great work!

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