Be it just a one sheet with your latest sales promotion or a full color brochure, if you haven’t met with a person, why would you ever leave your company’s literature behind? Worse, most sales people will enter this hit and run as a “sales call.” It’s not.
Selling is Personal
The sales process is personal. You can’t phone it in or email it in. You have to get in front of the person you want to tell your story to. And if after you’re finished, if the person would like some more information, you can give them one of your brochures.
I remember the time I returned from a sales call with one of my radio reps. When I entered the building, my receptionist said there had been a copier salesman who wanted to see me stop in. She said, “I told him you were out of the building.” Then she said “he left you his literature.”
I looked at this very expensive full color brochure on copiers and sadly tossed it into the trash can; the “circular file.”
What a waste of money I thought. Only the previous week, we had just signed a new long-term lease on a copier and we were now out of the market for several years.
I wonder how many calls like the one he made on me would be written down on his sales call sheet. That’s not selling.
When you do get in front of a person the words you use matter. David Letterman once asked long-time White House reporter Helen Thomas who she liked in the upcoming election and she replied “I don’t like any of them.”
David was really asking who she thought would be elected president but Helen thought she was being asked who she personally liked.
In Atlantic City, the program director on my music radio station asked if he could ask one question on our survey being sent out by the sales department to our listeners. The question seemed straightforward: “What’s your favorite song?” The program director of this music station was hoping that listeners would give him songs he might consider programming on our beautiful music station. The sales department was seeking qualitative future purchasing information from our listeners.
What my program director got back was a list of songs that could never be programmed on the same radio station, let alone our beautiful music station. The problem was the question didn’t ask what songs you would like hear on our station, but merely what your favorite song was. Taken out of context, the songs people wrote down were quite diverse.
What Are You Really Selling?
If you’re in radio sales and you think you’re selling advertising, you might be wrong.
What do lawyers, doctors and accountants sell? Legal advice, medical care and financial expertise? And how do you know if it’s any good? Most of us can’t answer that question. But what we can tell you is if we feel comfortable in the presence of one of these people. We can sense if the relationship feels good if our questions are answered honestly, our phone calls or emails are returned quickly and if we leave with a feeling that we are valued.
Radio sales are a professional service that is built on relationships.
People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much your care.
And you will never build a relationship with anyone by leaving your literature.