Love it when someone I greatly admire writes a piece that reflects what I have been saying for years.
Harvey Mackay wrote “It’s a Brave New World for Sales” describing how consumers are doing research well before you walk in the door. By the time a salesperson gets to the customer there are only two differentiators – price and YOU! And that is true in TV Sales as well.
Jill Konrath (another one of my favorites) says, “Salespeople need to be business analysts and idea providers.” If you have spent five minutes with me you have heard me say those exact words!
So what can Sales Managers do to support the Television Sales team? Coach, coach and then coach some more!
AEs only have about five seconds to make a positive impression on the prospect. During those five seconds the prospect will decide if the AE is worth their time. If the AE sounds like a salesperson they are out. If they sound like a resource they have a good chance.
Are the AEs doing the necessary preparation and research? Do they understand their advertisers’ businesses and trends? Do they know their specific advertiser’s objectives? Can they speak the advertiser’s language? Do they have ideas to help stimulate their business (and buying TV and providing a script is NOT an idea!)? Do they know all this BEFORE they contact the prospect?
The days of Television Sales Managers spending their time on spreadsheets and putting out fires must be over.
Sales Managers MUST be provided coaching training. Sales Managers MUST go out on calls with their AEs. Sales Managers MUST establish the customer-focused culture and have a zero-tolerance policy for anything else.
As Mr. Mackay says, “You can’t expect to meet challenges of today with yesterday’s tools and expect to be in business tomorrow.”
To be remark-able Sales Managers must be Coaches who train and instruct rather than Managers who handle and control.