(By Bob McCurdy) Everyone in sales wants the order. But did you earn the order, not by stating to the advertiser how important their business was to you, but by what you actually did? There is a big difference. One is “lip service,” the other is “full service” that requires thought, effort, and execution.
Anyone can say how important the business is to them but few take it to the next level by actually earning the business by thinking out of the box and doing what others don’t do.
“Earn” is defined as “to acquire through merit.” Did you “merit” the business? Did you out-work, out-think, out-execute, out-service, and out-care the competition to deserve the business?
Working to earn the business is rarely lost on the decision-maker. People inherently prefer to reward those who have professionally pursued their business and not taken it for granted. In baseball, there is a rule that states the tie goes to the runner if the runner arrives at the base the same time the ball does. Working to earn the business ensures that you are the metaphorical “runner” with the close ones decided in your favor.
Earning the business requires you:
– To be a little chess-like, thinking a few steps in advance. What do you need to do now to put yourself in a better position to land the order later.
– To bring value to every interaction with the client/advertiser. No mulligans here. Donuts and “just stopping by” does not qualify, but enhancing client marketing and advertising acumen and leaving them smarter and better informed every time you leave their office does. Advertisers typically don’t care how much you “know” about their business until they know how much you “care” about their business. One of the ways you can show that you “care” is by investing time and effort to educate them and learn their business. They are not marketing experts. You should be. “Educating” is really selling in disguise and is not entirely altruistic, as clients will typically only follow your lead if they know what you know. It is the most effective way I know to get them to believe what you believe.
– To remain visible when not physically present, keeping you, and your media assets top-of-mind. Forwarding applicable advertising and marketing articles/information, presenting the advertiser with customized ideas and opportunities. “Giving” and not always looking to “take.”
– To provide exceptional service. Service so outstanding they share it with their colleagues. Look for ways to make this happen. It is rare.
– To effectively communicate how your media assets can address their marketing pain points — when dollars are not on the table. This is preselling and is becoming a lost art. The good ones find time to do this, setting the table for the next opportunity.
– To earn more you have to learn more about them and their business. What do we know about them personally, their hobbies, families, and outside interests? Communicating to the decision-maker that they are important to you beyond a commission check is a critical part of earning their trust and business.
There is nothing mysterious about earning the order it just requires you to do consistently what others do less frequently. So go out and learn and earn but do not simply yearn for the business. The only business that anyone deserves is what they’ve truly earned. Have fun.