Blind Spots

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(By Bob McCurdy) Just noticed one in a car my wife bought. I’ve got to push the driver’s seat back so far to drive it that there’s a dangerous one to my left, just metal where there should be a window. I’ll let her drive.

Blind spots. We all have them and they are just as dangerous to our professional performance as they are to our safety when driving. Like anything else that’s unsafe, it’s best to try to eliminate them completely or at least minimize them quickly.

Every so often it’s a good exercise to take a step back and try to identify any that might be inhibiting us from achieving our goals and potential. These “spots” have a habit of insidiously sneaking up on us and becoming part of our modus operandi before we know it. Chances are that even the best of us have fallen prey to a few of the following:

– Driving by businesses every day erroneously assuming for one reason or another that they won’t/can’t advertise? I’ve seen this happen before. Are you assuming an advertiser won’t advertise simply because they haven’t yet? Are you pursuing an account half-heartedly due to a belief that the competition is already in bed with them? View each of these through a different lens and likely make a sale.

– Are you on automatic pilot in the way you’re approaching your responsibilities? Coming in and leaving at the same time every day? Seeing the same clients each week? Using the same sales tools and avoiding others? Insulating yourself from growth opportunities due to professional comfort and aversion to discomfort?

– Have you allowed our learning curve to flatten? Are you approaching jobs with the same vigor/attitude that you did when you first started?

– Are you aware of the impact your presence and words are having on clients? Co-workers? Is your emotional intelligence in need of a tune up? Has it taken a sabbatical?

– Are you underestimating the competition, overestimating Yourself? Your client relationships? Are you misinterpreting client civility for a relationship? There’s a difference.

– Are you getting caught up in office politics a little more than you should be? Too much time drinking coffee and kibitzing?

– Have you gotten away from prospecting/cold calling? Lost a step here? Preparing as much as you should to make them “warm” calls?

– Have you dissected our account list recently? Is it as diversified as it should be? Too reliant on a few accounts? Utilizing large account management practices with key accounts? Keeping clients that you’ve sold, sold?

– Digital expertise. Is it where it needs to be for you to effectively guide your clients?

– Any “time vampires” that can eliminated? Possible to plan our days more effectively? Are you easily derailed? Spending more time doing the “urgent” and not the “important”?

– Taking the short cut when it’s not the right cut? Taking the path of least resistance a little too often lately?

– Is there an advertiser who’s communicating to you exactly how to sell them, but you’re missing the message?

– Confusing client inertia with loyalty? There’s a huge difference, especially when a competitor plays the price card or begins to approach the account more aggressively.

– Are you rationalizing losses, blaming other factors such as ratings, pricing, etc., instead of taking a step back and reformulating a different strategy. Getting away from the “If it’s to be, it’s up to me” mentality?

– Are there sales tools to which your company subscribes that you could put to better use?

– Are you limiting yourself by only calling on traditional radio accounts?

– Settling for what your advertisers are giving you? Upselling as much as you should? Are there accounts where you deserve a greater share of wallet?

– Treating client commitments a little more casually than usual? Going through the motions occasionally? Doing what you said you would when you said you’d do it — every time?

– Preselling is largely a lost art. Is it time to find it? Once an avail is announced the outcome is largely determined.

– “OK” now good enough?

Even when we are aware of blind spots in others, we tend to discount them in ourselves.  One study recently found that 85% of people surveyed believed they were less biased than the average person; only one person believed themselves to be more biased than average. Obviously not possible or true, and a blind spot. This is where some honest contemplation and feedback from our peers and bosses can be beneficial.

Any professional blind spots impeding your progress?

Bob McCurdy is The Vice President of Sales for The Beasley Media Group and can be reached at bob.mccurdy@bbgi.com

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