The doorbell rings. A tiny princess is at my door, beaming as she looks up at me. She has no hesitation about holding up her sack, expecting me to give her something, with only my delight in her cuteness given in return. “Trick or Treat!,” Cinderella with the missing two front teeth demands.
The princess is followed by Tinkerbell, various action heroes, clowns, lions and tigers and bears (oh my!). The smallest Spiderman boldly asks for candy from me, while the medium-sized mouse rifles through the mini Snickers and Butterfingers to get just what she wants. I do get a return on my candy investment, as neighborhood kids are happy and an evening filled with smiles is good for the soul.
These kids have no hesitation about asking complete strangers for treats each Halloween. So why do we in media sales struggle so much with asking for the order? It may come from a lack of preparation, or confidence in ourselves and/or our products. Here are a few thoughts that may make your closing process less tricky:
- Find a need. During your CNA, ask probing questions to uncover the client’s real problems. Simply put, the little trick-or-treaters are filling the need for holiday cheer and neighborhood camaraderie. In media sales, you are finding and filling the need for more customers during lunch, or more customers making car-buying decisions this weekend.
- Develop a marketing solution that can solve that need. The October 31 visitors work to be extra cute on that day so that they are welcomed as they hold out their plastic buckets. In media, it may be more than just running some spots. Placement, length of time, copy, and additional integrated solutions such as the web or an event should be evaluated and may be necessary.
- Feel confident – both in yourself and in your product and its ability to solve that need. Even the shyest kid confidently sings out “trick or treat” when they are dressed like Minnie Mouse or Woody because they know they are supposed to and because this costume is awesome! Your stations have a lot of listeners/viewers who want to know about a good product or service. Your stations have many clients who swear by advertising with you. If you have found a need and a solid answer for that need, feel confident that you are helping them.
- Exhibit Integrity. When my mother wasn't home on Halloween, she would leave a huge bowl of candy out on her steps with a sign saying “Please help yourself but just take ONE so others may enjoy Halloween.” I would love to think that many black cats and Supermen were served. But if just one Dracula emptied the bowl into their bag, it ruined it for the others. Don’t be the media salesperson who says whatever it takes to get the order, leaving a bad taste for others in media sales who are honest.
- Analyze your wins. Remember how you used to sort your bounty when you got home, putting aside the apples and dental floss and focusing on the candy bars you really liked? Use your CRM system to focus on those wins and those big accounts, and let someone else who (the equivalent of your little brother) have the licorice that they like. Once you know what works for you – what account categories, programs, etc. – focus on doing more of the same.
Asking for the order will be natural if you have done your homework and are confident. You don't have to be Batman – even lady bugs and tiny pink bunnies can come away with wins!
By Kitty Malone, Efficio Solutions Manager of Client Services
Need some pointers about how to ask the right questions during a CNA - those that will help you solve your client's advertising problems?