(By Rick Fink) I like quotes, and for me, many have profound in-depth meanings, usually in just a few short words. Here are a few quotes to help make my point for this week’s topic:
“Better to be three hours too soon, rather than a minute too late.”
~ William Shakespeare
“If you are five minutes early, you’re already ten minutes late.”
~ Vince Lombardi
“Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable.”
But my favorite is…
“It gets late early out there.”
~ Yogi Berra
This “Yogi-ism” was inspired when World Series games were still played during the daylight. In the late afternoons of fall, the direct sun and deep shadows would cast over left field in old Yankee Stadium. When a reporter asked Yogi about how difficult it was for left fielders to play that position, he replied, “It gets late early out there”.
With the recent change of our clocks this past Sunday, it really is getting late early out there, but this article has nothing to do with Daylight Saving Time or baseball. It does however have everything to do with one of the most important steps in the advertising sales cycle, and that is Renewals!
While January seems to be the most popular month for renewals, regardless of the contract date and therefore renewal date, the lesson is the same. It’s better to be early than too late! Or, to rephrase William Shakespeare’s quote, “It’s better to be three months too early than one month too late”.
My experience suggests that most sellers start about one month out, sometimes less, which both are “too late”.
When I have a conversation about renewals with reps and ask them why they start the process when they do, the most common reply is that they don’t want to come across as too pushy, or the client said they didn’t want to talk about it until then.
I can understand this thought. I too will go to extra lengths to not come across as being pushy. However, I really cannot think of a situation where the timing of making a presentation will come across as being too pushy.
So, when should the renewal and upsell process begin? I suggest that you “start” the process a maximum of 3 months out and a minimum of 2 months out. Why so far out? Let’s be honest, how many times have you approached your client saying you’d like to present next year’s plan and the first thing they say is, “I’m too busy. Let’s look at it in a few weeks”? They’ll say this or provide some other objection whether it’s three weeks or three months before the end of the contract.
When you started the process only weeks in advance of the contract date, how many times did the client ultimately end up saying, “Let’s just do what we did last year.”? The fact is, if approached correctly, starting 2 to 3 months out will allow you to be less pushy than if you start only weeks in advance.
There is much more to the proper process of getting renewals signed on time, especially when asking for an upsell. We will save that for next week.
Until then, as you approach renewals of your current contracts, keep in mind that there is a lot of competition out there and they are all trying to get some or all of your budget. So, remember, regardless of what month your client’s renewals are up, if you wait too long, “it gets late early out there”.
Now, if you’re thinking that you’ve blown it because you haven’t started the renewal process and the contract is up in less than a month, remember Yogi’s most famous quote… “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Keep on Selling!
NEVER Stop Learning – Get Better Every Day!