In 2019, after nine years as a JDA Senior Marketing Consultant, I rejoined iHeartMedia in a Senior Account Executive role.
This meant using “prospecting muscles” for myself, not as a coach. Seeking out new business, cold calling, convincing busy customers to meet with me, and taking the sale to its conclusion. Well, it turns out some of the items I coached to were slightly different when doing them myself.
Here are four things I’ve learned in 18 months back selling on the streets:
- The phone is still a great prospecting tool, but a multichannel approach works better. Prospects may not pick up a phone call from a stranger, but a well-crafted voicemail, followed up immediately by a well-written email, can take you out of the “stranger” category. I know other successful sellers who prefer to combine phone and LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn is now an essential prospecting search engine. In 2021, the vast majority of your clients and potential clients have at least a basic LinkedIn profile. Chances of getting through on a cold call increase if we have a name to ask for—and LinkedIn is a great way to get that name.
Here’s an example of how a search can work: recently I decided to go after recruiters in the manufacturing industry. I used Google to find a list of the 20 biggest manufacturers in Portland. Then I went to LinkedIn and plugged each company into the platform’s search bar. I narrowed the geography to Portland and typed “Human Resources” into the keyword box. This produced names for 18 of the 20 companies, and I started dialing the phone. That afternoon I spoke with six Human Resources Directors and scheduled three diagnosis calls.
- If you want a meeting, you’re going to have to earn it. Your prospects are stretched thin, with less support than ever and no time to waste. If you can’t communicate a good reason to meet—good for them, not for you—you’re not getting in.
I’ve found greater success by making fewer calls and thinking about each one before dialing. I want to have a Valid Business Reason prepared to deliver to each client whether they pick up “live” or with voicemail.
- It’s not about our products, it’s about our ideas for using those products: with some rare exceptions, the tools we sell are not unique. There are other stations in your market, and they reach an audience just as desirable and loyal as yours. Their suite of digital and streaming tactics is probably similar to yours, and anything they don’t have is likely offered by digital agencies in town. Consistently successful sales teams show their customers how to use those tactics to generate results.
The media sales business is more complicated than it used to be, and the tools are changing all the time. But people are still people, and business people still want results from their advertising: a steady stream of customers coming in their physical and virtual doors.
Have your team utilize these 4 tactics I’ve learned, and you’ll have a leg up on the competition in your market.