(By Loyd Ford) Sales is difficult, and it isn’t often that you control the outcome of individual sales. So, how can a local radio seller stack the deck so that the odds of success shift in their favor consistently?
1. Try to see your job as that of a really shrewd detective. Detectives know not to expect people to be straight with them. They know their job is to be curious, observe, to look for the real reasons that people do things. They know that objections are often never what they seem, and they know it is their job to solve the puzzle, come up with the solution, and they know it often takes creativity to be successful in their job. Like a great detective’s dog, they don’t take an easy no as an answer, either.
2. Working to become known as a servant who solves the problems of others will shift how you are seen by local advertisers so that you become an essential part of their inside team. The greatest sellers are seen by their clients as solutionists (not sellers). They bring consistent ideas that make the lives of those they interact with better and easier. They bring ideas that turn clients on and make them want to act. They make clients want things by building in valuable solutions and creative ideas so that the client sees what they want.
3. See your job as aggressive and offensive. This doesn’t mean pushy, confrontational and hostile; it means constantly developing prospecting opportunities and living ‘the more people you see, the more people you sell.’ You won’t ever control every sale. However, focusing your daily sales activities to be aggressive in terms of how many clients and potential clients you are seeing consistently and putting solutions in front of busy business owners who usually see sellers as having their hand out will absolutely tilt the deck in your favor regularly.
4. Work to control your time so that you are prospecting 35 – 42% of the time you work. It’s easy to have your time taken up with other non-prospecting energies, but only protecting the amount of time you spend prospecting will give you the consistency you need to grow your sales.
5. Balance your sales between prospecting existing clients and developing new clients. While it is always easier to sell existing relationships because they know you and often know your value, focusing a corresponding number of hours on potential new business will help you with inevitable loss from business because of situations and difficulties that will absolutely develop across time. Things constantly change in business; that’s life. Clients come and go. Great salespeople are prepared by developing new business consistently.
6. Bring variety timing to your A game. Consider making yourself available early mornings for early rising business owners and in late afternoon when your competition has likely ‘hit-the-door.’ Develop experimentation lanes regularly in terms of times you see potential clients just to find the sweet spot with potential new clients.
7. Prepare before you see or even have contact with existing clients or prospective clients. As the saying goes, “The more you know.” Make certain you educate yourself about your clients, their challenges and the challenges in their industry constantly. Be creative in thinking about how to solve problems and bring new ideas to meetings, phone calls, emails. I often say, “When is the battle usually won? Before the first shot is fired.” It’s true. The best pros you’ve ever seen do more prep than their competitors. Be that best pro and you simply will win more often than anyone else in your market.
8. Practice problem-solving on your boss, their boss, and the people inside the company where you work. Consider this to be a practice that leads to higher sales because it will be. Having a servants’ heart starts in how you deal with your own team and being the problem-solver that makes their lives easier. Being that person will help you sharpen your skills so you elevate your service game in front of clients and potential clients almost without even knowing you’re doing it.
9. Don’t let your boss set your most aggressive goals. You take control of goal-setting. Consistently set out to grow your sales beyond the vision of your boss. Make yourself into the sales VIP.
10. Become a study of human behavior and do your homework consistently. The more value you place in learning psychology of selling, psychology of buying and creating positive purchase experiences, the more successful you will become in radio sales.
11. Develop your skills at encouraging clients to get you referrals. This may seem compromising and uncomfortable at first. However, once you consistently behave in a way that triggers your clients to give you leads, you will open an ever-freshening river of new business for yourself.
No one says selling it easy. Master this list and selling will come more naturally and more often than you can imagine.
Loyd Ford is president and chief strategic officer at the branding consulting practice Rainmaker Pathway Consulting Works (RPC). Reach him anytime at 864.448.4169 or [email protected].