If you run or work for an owner-operated company, chances are you have at least 37 media sales reps calling on your business – offering their partnership. Twenty years of experience have taught me that chances are pretty good only one of those 37 genuinely want to—and know how to—be a true partner in the success of your business, and frankly, it isn’t usually that hard to identify her.
Here’s a tale of two media salespeople in the same market in the same medium who represent different companies.
Our client is deeply passionate about Veterans Day. His company will be closed Monday in observance. For the past several years, he’s recorded radio messages specifically for the holiday.
Because it falls on a Monday this year and our regular schedule doesn’t include weekends, last month we inquired with both media reps about purchasing some additional ads to run this weekend – sending basically the same email to both:
Hi [Media Rep],
[Our Client] is considering running special Veterans Day ads maybe 10x/day on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday the 9th, 10th, and 11th of November on [a station]. What would something like that cost us?
Let me know when you have time. Thanks!
With our client’s permission, I’m sharing their responses (minus names and actual dollar amounts). The first rep responded:
Wxxx with annual discount is $xx mon-Sunday; $xx sat&sun.
If you were to do 10x/day for the 5 days it would be $xxx.
*I think your dates are off (maybe you were looking at the December dates?)
[First Name of Rep #1]
The second rep responded:
I used your annual rate. We usually just add three ads per day to his existing schedule. Since he isn’t on Saturday and Sunday I did 6 ads per day for the two days. Plus, I will match the schedule they purchase and I will run additional mid-6a ads and 7p to mid.
In addition, with your permission I plan to run the entire schedule (both the ones you purchase – including his regular schedule and all my no charge ads) on Wyyy [a station we don’t regularly buy -tm] for this special Veterans flight at no charge. I know this will be a great message and I feel that many of our young veterans listen to Wyyy. I would love for our listeners on Wyyy to hear this message as well.
All details are on the attachment.
Please let me know your thoughts and if there is anything else I can do for you.
[First Name of Rep #2]
Both reps answered my question quickly and respectfully.
However, one simply takes orders while the other sees herself as a partner in our success. The former may forget about us immediately after he presses send. He feels he’s done his job, and that’s fine. Maybe he gets the additional buy, maybe he doesn’t. The latter worries about our success. She thinks about us when we’re not thinking about her. She does not forget.
Neither do we.
Phil Wrzesinski says
This should be a must-read for every sales rep on the planet.
Rodney Rockwell says
Everyday, in every industry, this happens over and over.
But that shouldn’t be new to any of us who are in sales. Or who are in business for that matter.
We can do a pretty good job of guessing the motives of the second rep, but we don’t know the real motives of the first rep. For all we know, his intentions might be good. He might really think he is being helpful. He might be someone with a lot of talent that could become a sales superstar. He might, just not know any better.
Thinking a little deeper, I believe the real question is; Why? Why would he answer like this? To find that out, we have to get to know him and his work environment. To do that we have to spend time with him. How many sales managers do you know, that have time, real time, to spend with their reps? And then, it might just be his sales manager that is the driver behind this type of response. Possibly, the org., the sales manager, or the rep, or maybe all three, might just not be that interested in selling only a couple more ads for a period of only three days.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not advocating nor suggesting this is the correct way to do business.
But if you are looking at this example, as a starting point to/for improving, then you must be willing to look under the hood, and not just settle for kicking the tires.
I just tend to look at everything from the perspective of; ‘if it’s not 100%, then how can we start improving it? …and eventually get it to 100%? …or maybe even 110%!’
Very thought-provoking stuff for a Friday! Thanks, Rodney. Have a great weekend.
I bet I can guess the client and the stations.