(By Loyd Ford) Let’s say the obvious up-front. We all know that being a seller is a tough job. Your job is to take the no-no-no’s, prospect generously for new business and manage client expectations all while moving things through a system that isn’t always cooperative to your goals.
Sales is hard.
Many people call The Wall Street Journal “the Bible of money,” “the Bible of business” or the real news about the economy, politics and what runs the U.S. Say what you want, but when you see it in The Wall Street Journal, there is a lot of credibility to what is being reported. So what better place to take a snapshot view at what a major CEO is saying about his business and the impact of Covid-19 along with what business people think about in a crisis.
On Saturday, December 5th, Thomas Gryta wrote an article profiling the life in motion of the CEO of a $45 billion dollar company and how that company is making it through the pandemic. Interestingly, some of the quotes from this CEO provide engaging encouragement about how radio sales reps should be thinking about business and clients in the pandemic and as we recover. It isn’t just about the objection.
The CEO in the article was David Farr from Emerson Electric Company. They are a global company with factories all around the world, including China and Italy. You think your local client has complex problems; this guy sees a lot regularly in different countries with a wide variety of variables impacting his business in real time since last March.
Here are some of his quotes and some thoughts about how the pandemic experiences he has had and his mindset. This directly relates to the mindset of business owners and people managing assets for owners in your local market:
- “We have a company to run.” No matter what objections you receive on a sales call, they are often not the real objections. There are a lot of wheels turning behind what is happening, but one thing is true: It doesn’t matter if there is a pandemic, an earthquake, a war. Businesses have to keep going, run their business to continue to exist and the goal remains the same: Get ahead and provide the future of the company. Your job is to make certain the solutions you offer show value and can you do an excellent job to place your brands in the story of success for local business people today.
- He often tells people, “World War II wasn’t won by hiding.” Sure, local and regional business owners can ‘pull the flaps in,’ but they really can’t hide from business challenges and they can’t run away from the crisis. No matter what happens, they have to take care of customers, support and grow their brands (and we provide efficient support for a wide variety of businesses and sublime local connectivity). They also still have to get new customers. If local business owners pull back too much, they make their businesses even more vulnerable to competitors and losing market share.
- “As you hear someone say ‘the new normal,’ plug your ears, and say ‘bull—-!” Basically, the CEO is saying he’s run the business for a long time and is always seeing the new normal. He is going to be active, make decisions and heavily communicate changes and advantages to getting things done so the company continues to survive and do well. Radio is great at communicating rapidly. Business people in any crisis have to keep their business moving no matter how conditions change. Radio is great at propelling consumers to sample products and services. Your local businesses still need customers; they need to communicate. Radio is excellent at both of these things. Use that to your advantage with local clients.
- “I like competitors that are still sitting at home. They’ll miss the trains when they go by.” If you think about your clients, your potential clients and how you problem-solve for them, you know nothing replaces constant communication of creativity, ideas and proof that radio is part of the solution that will help them move ahead. And if you are spending more time connecting with clients than your competitors, you will win.
It’s very interesting to think about the CEOs advice about leading through a pandemic to try to understand what important (surviving) business owners may be thinking in your market. This is important to help encourage local business owners that they are in charge of how they react to crisis and that the smart business owners will grab market share during a crisis.
- Keep moving forward.
- Don’t believe conventional wisdom.
- Break down problems into smaller choices.
- Remote work has its limits.
- Over-communicate and be more transparent.
- Pay attention to who came through for you in a crisis and don’t forget it.
It’s powerfully important to stay positive, keep moving as a seller and to uncover information that can help specific clients move ahead by using your products. Money moves in a crisis. It doesn’t stand still. Our job is to think differently than we have in the past and use what we know about radio:
- We have highly mobile audiences with spendable dollars
- We connect with local listeners and our endorsements influence consumer behavior rapidly
- Frequency with radio works
- We reach more people more often and especially when they are moving to purchase products and services
- It’s often not just that we reach more people; it’s the kind of people we reach – actionable, mobile, moving
We often focus on what people tell us. If you are in sales, you get a lot of “No’s.” That’s a given, but it doesn’t make it easier. What’s behind the no? We simply must be encouraged on the local level to review what is happening in any crisis and watch where the money is being spent, where the opportunities are showing up.
Don’t always think about only one specific business owner; think about the whole category and review what the major competitors are doing in that category. Try to inspire opportunity with more than one to business or competitor in a category and always tell the story where your brand or brands are important in mix of keeping their business moving forward.
Just keep moving, keep communicating, keep connecting with clients and being the positive and encouraging person they see so they think of you when they want to be moving with positivity. That will make you the real winner coming out of Covid-19.
Loyd Ford consults radio stations, coaches personalities, and provides behavioral and strategic programming to radio with RPC. Reach him anytime. 864.448.4169 or [email protected]