It’s Time To Put The Needs Back In Your CNAs


(By Pat Bryson) It’s not about US: It’s about THEM. We have given this lip service for years, but do we live it?

I was trained in the radio business by a gentleman who had been in the insurance business. He trained me in the way insurance salespeople were trained, long before there were any organized ways to train radio salespeople. He believed in a “three call, two interview” process. From the beginning of my career, I have always done a “customer needs analysis.” In BBI lingo, that’s “The Phase Two CNA.”

When I first learned to do a CNA, it went something like this:

Who’s your target customer?

How have you advertised?

What’s your budget?

That was about it. It worked then, but it WILL NOT work today. Today we must delve deeply into our client’s needs and goals. It is more difficult to survive in business today. The CNA form I use has categories of information that we must know when we leave our client’s office. It contains questions designed to get that information.

We live in a complex world. Business is complex. We sell multiple platforms. The more we know about our client’s business, the more we can design on-target campaigns that will work for our client.

A good CNA is a conversation, not an inquisition. We guide that conversation by the questions we ask. It is a true art to be able to ask great questions. A great question might be defined by our client saying, “I’ve never had anyone ask me that before. It’s a good question.”

I have a rule when doing a CNA: Talk about the business of the business before you talk about the marketing of the business.

If you don’t have a deep understanding of how your client’s business works, how can you develop a campaign to help them achieve their goals and solve their needs? That’s only logical. But we don’t do it. We come in and begin with questions about their marketing. Yes, that information is important to us, but our client knows who we are.

They know whom we represent. They will lead us to the subject of marketing later in the conversation. I’ve had clients tell me that they have no doubt we can market their business because now we understand their business.

Seek first to understand. Knowledge is the key to unlocking budgets that will allow us to create effective campaigns across all the platforms we sell. I challenge you to try this. You will be amazed!

Happy Selling!

Pat Bryson is the CEO of Bryson Broadcasting International, a consulting firm that works with sales managers and salespeople to raise revenue. She is the author of two books, “A Road Map to Success in High-Dollar Broadcast Sales” and “Successful Broadcast Sales: Thriving in Change” available on her website. Read Pat’s Radio Ink archives here.


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