With years of experience in media sales, we have learned a lot. We wanted a way to quickly and easily share some of our top secret media sales tricks with you! We hope that in using these strategies you will be able to experience more success in your day to day sales!

The Management Maniacal Commitments Part Two: Weekly Training

What is your sales management training plan? We ask sales people to make plans for their weeks to be successful. We ask them to make a plan for whom they will ask and what activities they will do. As a sales manager, what is you sales skill improvement plan? Some managers love to train and love to teach, others do not. Either way, you need a plan to help your sales people improve each week. The second maniacal commitment of superhero sales management is a weekly training meeting. Housekeeping and planning meetings do not count, and should never be mixed or combined with a training meeting. Our meetings are a lot like the ads we run, the people who consume the ads can really only walk away with these 3 things “what do I think about the ad I just heard, what do I feel about the ad, and what am I going to do now”. Meetings are the same, housekeeping is important, but when combined with training meetings, either the housekeeping or the training will get lost. Let them leave your training meeting with a focus on “what do I think about that training, what do I feel, and what can I do right now to improve on the skill I just learned?”

These meetings should be viewed as a time to practice and receive valuable coaching. Reading an article and assuming the team understood and can apply what was read is naïve at best. Imagine if sports teams “practiced” that way. They met with their coach and team and read an article about how to be a great player… it wouldn’t work. Our teams need practice, and practice in the sales world is called role-playing. I know, I know, role-playing is a nasty word in advertising sales. What’s interesting to me, is that almost every other industry makes “practicing” a regular activity. I’ve heard all the excuses from advertising salespeople, “it’s not real, it feels forced, I am much better in front of a client then in front of my peers”, and the list goes on… but the reality is that skills are only learned when practiced, and I assure you, they are being practiced, but most likely they are being practiced on our clients and prospects.

So, a more appropriate question is what's your practice schedule and plan for this week? Regardless of your salesperson’s skill level, they need to practice. If you want training that actually changes behavior, and increases sales, it doesn’t need to be flashy, it doesn’t need to be lengthy, but it does need to reach and teach your team. Here is an outline to follow for more powerful sales training.

1. Introduce the Topic (10-15 minutes)

Outline the skill and the need for it (this is what would be considered traditional lecture and discussion training. For example if the skill I wanted to have my team improve on was their elevator speech, I would discuss that salespeople’s ability to increase sales and new business on my list is completely related to a sales person’s ability to persuade new business to meet with them. Their elevator speech, or personal 30-second introductory commercial, should communicate what the client gets if they accept a meeting with the salesperson. It should always be benefit focused, memorable, and geared to get the first appointment. Ask the group what things should or could be included in a powerful elevator speech and write them on the white board.

2. Break into Small Groups and Refine the Brainstorm (5-7 minutes)

Break into groups of 2 or 3 and ask the group to decide which of all the ideas written on the board are most important and why. Let them, as a smaller group, decide which things are most important to them. At the end of the time, let each group report back.

3. Ask Each Rep to Individually Write Out their Elevator Speech (10 minutes)

They will probably complain and try to avoid doing this, reassure them that this is practice and that any attempt will be successful. Have each rep write out their speech and take turns giving their speech to the group. (As a side note expect the loudest and most aggressive antagonists to be your veterans, these are the skills most of your veterans have let go of and have become a bit lethargic in, but don’t relent, ask everyone to give their speech).

The Management Maniacal Commitments Part One: Weekly One on Ones

In my experience, when I ask sales managers if they meet with their sales people every week in a one on one they usually tell me yes, but, when I ask their sales people the same question, the answer tends to vary. One on ones are something that sales people find helpful and meaningful. It is understandable that the sales manager, with so many duties and responsibilities, may not be maniacally consistent in having weekly one on ones. However, this is a sales management super power that must never be missed.I have discovered a secret formula to making these weekly meet ups powerful enough to create change in your sales team.

Here is the formula:
1. Review what happened last week.
2. Talk about what is going to happen this week.
3. Project where they will end the month.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “That seems pretty obvious!”, but beneath the obvious is where the magic happens. While you may have known all the ingredients of a successful one on one, the order of the ingredients is just as important. Just as bread will not rise, unless left in the proper conditions, if you get them out of order, the one on one loses it’s focus and power. Let’s look at each step in more detail.

The Attribution Radio Advertising Deserves

If you’ve spent any amount of time in radio, you know first hand how deeply radio can impact the business of your clients and customers. It can create incredible amounts of success and a high return on their advertising investments, and yet, even our best clients can sometimes question if radio really works.

To understand why clients may question radio’s effectiveness from time to time, let’s consider their typical experience in advertising. When they invest in a digital advertising product, the digital world sends them a monthly report that tells them what changes happened in their business, because of their investment. Many times these reports are helpful but other times these reports are just a bunch of useless data that hasn’t resulted in increased sales, which is the reason they advertised in the first place. In radio we also send them a monthly report, we call it their statement or invoice. The problem is that the report we give them simply says what we did, we ran your ad X number of times, we ran them at these times of the day and we are owed X number of dollars. In order to match up with our competitors, we need to show not only what we did, but the effect that radio advertising had on business. But how can we honestly take credit for the traffic that radio drives?

Compare advertising to the human body, when we want to see if the body is healthy, the first thing we do is check the vitals (heart beat, blood pressure, temperature, clear breathing, etc.) from there we get a basic direction to determine what to test and where to go.

Advertising has vital signs as well, here is what I believe they are:
Increased visits to their location, increased calls, emails and leads.
- Increased web traffic to their site, more visitors, more views, more time spent on their site.
- Increased name and brand searches from Google and other search engines.

If the adverting campaign increases every one of these areas or increases the areas most likely to result in additional sales for the client, then, assuming the client has a good business, product and customer service (none of which we can affect with advertising) increased sales are almost guaranteed.

These vital signs are also the things we, as advertising sales people, should work to have a good reputation for. That is the outline of the conversation that every radio sales should adopt and fearlessly have with their clients before the schedule runs, and a report driven recap afterwards. If we do this we will find closer relationships, bigger budgets, more long term business and the ability to bring clients new and emerging digital products.

Obviously, some of those things we can’t track by ourselves, the client must. But this is yet another moment where we can position ourselves as the “advertising and marketing experts”, where we get to work with our clients on a candid evaluation of their marketing. This conversation differentiates us and sets us apart in a different role than just that of a “sales person”, but an advisor, consultant, and a strategic partner. Teach them what to track and how to evaluate. This is a monthly conversation and evaluation not just a sterile report we send them to evaluate on their own.

Some of that data we can provide and should, that’s why we created the Media Driven Traffic tool. Monthly, it interacts with your traffic system, their schedule and their Google analytics giving them a report that helps them understand which ads are getting the best instant response but also is the radio campaign growing their online presence, growing the number of name searches, increasing their web traffic month over month and increasing pages viewed and time on the site. This report in and of itself does wonders for the clients ability to see how radio is working, but our Media Driven report added to this accountability conversation will weld to you the clients trust and loyalty in advertising for a long time to come.

With the Right Game Plan, Your Budget Will Always Score

In a nutshell, there are three things we need from our sales people and sales managers. Year over year increase in sales, new business growth and achieving monthly goals. The problem with this list is that these are all outcomes not activities. They are the result of actions, not the actions in and of themselves. It’s like in football, we need to score points and stop the other team from scoring points to win the game, but it’s getting the right yardage, a good defense strategy and touchdowns, among other things, that bring the victory.

In our industry, I believe achieving these three outcomes are the direct result of three different skill sets.

1. Year Over Year Increase

Why are you growing over last year? Or why are you not? These questions can be answered by looking at how many proposals your sales people are presenting on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. What is your team’s speed? What does your team’s speed need to be? How many asks do your sales people need to ask each week to give your company the best shot at growing over last year? Do you really know how many asks your sales people are making each week, not stop by’s or follow ups, but real unique asks that present a worthy idea and solve a problem?

Speed is important in all areas of our lives, let’s go back to football. If all we worried about was running in the right direction and not picking up the enough yardage between plays, would we be able to win the game? Probably not! When weekly asks are effectively tracked, revenue always goes up, always!

Year over year growth is a result of your sales team’s speed. If you get the results you want, congrats! You’re going the right speed, measure that speed and maintain it. If you don’t like your current results, increase your speed.

2. Account Management

New business growth has a direct correlation with account management, or the lack thereof. Most lists I see are big, really big. How many accounts (including clients, prospects, current and past customers) should a sales person be allowed to protect on their list? My answer is always as many as they are willing to take on the responsibility for.

If you don’t have the right defense strategy, you won’t be able to keep the other team within your control. It’s the same with account management, if you have too many accounts to watch over, you won’t be able to win the game. Every account on a sales person’s list (excluding seasonal accounts) should be currently doing business with your company or have been presented an opportunity do business with you, every month. Yes, there is room for the long play exception, but only 1 or 2 of those at any given time. Otherwise every account on their list should be asked every month.

That is the price a sales person should be expected to pay to protect that account, an ask each month.

What’s the Magic Number? 10 Asks Per Week

There is a pattern to success these days, and I know what you’re thinking… you think I am crazy! How could I say there is a pattern to success, in the middle of what feels like a mad chaotic run to make our goals and budgets along with scrambling to keep up with change?

But, when we look at the 3,000 plus sales people that are using Rumple there is a magic number when it comes to how many written proposals (otherwise known as asks) a sales person needs to do each week to be successful.

There is a pattern to those who are consistently hitting their budgets and goals, those sales people and companies who are on the positive side of growth this year and years past. And the magic number is an average of 10 asks per week.

Not 10 stop by’s, call backs, social visits, or “so do you want to advertise this month” calls. I’m not counting the “checking back with” or “following up with”. Nor am I counting most “one sheet” or “packages” that mostly get emailed and rarely get presented as an idea that perfectly matches the client’s goals. Those kind of asks would be great, but the sad truth is most “one sheet” asks are questionable at best.

I am talking about 10 thoughtful asks of clients who haven’t already been asked in the last 30 days. When I tell some salespeople and sales managers the magic number, many of them look at me as though I am asking for the impossible…

Looking For New Business Growth? Clean Up Account Lists

First quarter is a perfect time to focus on account management, frankly anytime is the perfect time to focus on account management, but there is something refreshing about a new year, new opportunity and newly rebuilt focus on success. I know what you may be thinking because I have heard it from many salespeople and sales managers, new business won’t grow if you reduce the number of accounts each sales person calls on. Though it seems paradoxical it works every time. There are two main reasons this works.

1. Unasked Accounts

Here is a common scenario: The sales person has 25 accounts currently running advertising with them (a very generous number) and a list of 85 accounts (most account lists I see are north of 110). If your sales person asks 7 people a week (the real average I see everywhere is 5 but again, let’s be generous), that means at least 32 accounts that could generate revenue for your company, going unasked… they were not even given the opportunity to do business with your company this month.

This means veterans don’t go prospect because they have a huge dusty shelf where neglected accounts can sit until needed (when their “regulars” don’t come through and they turn to the inactive ones). It also means new salespeople are restricted from working with all of those neglected accounts on the lists of your veterans. They struggle with new business because the veterans have “covered” a vast number of prospects that have potential but they never really get to… so new business struggles along at a slow pace.

2. The Inability to Focus

I’ve heard my whole life “survey large acres, develop small fields”. The sales manager surveys the sales person develops. To really work and develop lists that grow year after year they must be reviewed each week. The sales person must be able to ask themselves each week ”Who is currently advertising with me, who have I asked and what is the next step, and what can I ask the accounts on the rest of my list that they likely would say yes to this month?” With a list of 100+ the sales person physically can’t do that full review so they train themselves to skip or avoid looking at the accounts that are their “regulars”. Febreeze calls it being nose blind, they literally can’t smell the decay, because they have only reviewed and focused on a portion of their list for so many weeks it’s habit now to skip and their eyes literally don’t see the entire list.

This review done each week gives the sales person the ability to see which accounts are actually progressing, which accounts are not. They learn to make their lists more liquid, constantly changing, making sure they are using their time and energy with accounts that will return an investment to them in the form of purchased advertising campaigns.

It also creates a team enviornment where account trading and exchanging happens weekly and the right personalities are more often coupled with the accounts who will respond to them best. When it happens weekly the salesperson quickly sees the need to replenish their lists with new opportunities instead of chasing after the accounts that only ever say maybe and so new business flourishes. some salespeople and sales managers the magic number, many of them look at me as though I am asking for the impossible…

Encouraging Veterans to Sharpen the Saw

I know there is a belief that the more veteran the team the less training you need to do on a weekly basis. I would encourage you to rethink this belief.

All of us can improve and sharpen our skills. The training you do with veterans looks different than the training you would do with a newer staff but is far more valuable because with their experience, proper training can take their skill to greater heights. I believe there is a direct correlation between year over year growth and time spent training and learning, aka sharpening the saw.

One of the meetings I encourage with a group of veterans is the “Elevator Speech” meeting. How do they introduce themselves? Even the best of us can and will get caught in old patterns or ruts. Usually veterans lean on products and industry jargon, or the old line of “I just want to find out more about your business” in their introductions, and yet our clients have less time, more competitive sales people hunting them, and less money to spend than ever before. These old lines just don’t work as well as they once did.

Even the ace in the hole “I have an idea for you” seems to have lost its luster after so many have used that line and failed to deliver on the promise. If they will introduce themselves in a powerful way they can stand out above the noise and crowd.

A good elevator speech would identify reasons or benefits for the prospect to engage with the sales person, having a “What do I get out of it?” approach from the perspective of the prospect. Then connect those benefits to the tools the sales person has at their disposal to ensue the outlined benefit can be met, and close with asking for 30 minutes of their time to answer any questions and further discuss options.

I challenge you to gather your veterans around the conference room, and ask them to give the group their best introduction. Even the best athletes in the world need practice, coaching and training to stay on top of their game. We are no different, practicing the basics weekly leads to greater success yearly.