I think we are inadvertently shooting our new business efforts in the foot by making the purchase decision more confusing. The result? Closing percentages on new biz that are way too low.
How have we complicated the effort with new clients? By adding too many different elements for a potential client to decide upon. We make the decision overly complicated and that causes confusion for our potential new business clients. And confusion costs us sales.
Think about a typical new business presentation today:
We think we’re providing a full marketing solution. That might be true. But the more things an AE puts in front of a client, the more likely they are to create confusion. And confusion leads to indecision.
So, how do we fix that? Simplify the decision-making process for new business presentations.
Here’s what we suggest:
– 4X weekly Early Morning News
– 4X weekly Noon News
– 125,000 Impressions WXXX.com
I can hear some of the Digital Sales leaders howling in protest as they read this. Does this approach de-value our digital products? My answer is absolutely NO. In fact, it will increase your digital sales, and I have proof.
A few years ago, a station where I was a partner launched a full digital services agency. We had it all. So between a great Digital Sales leader and our management pressure to grow this part of our business, we’d put 2-3 digital services products into every new business presentation we made. Guess what? We watched our closing % on our new business presentations plunge.
We started to figure out what was going wrong and quickly adopted the “plus one” approach. We would sell a TV schedule that included branded digital (our call letters), plus one digital services component that we thought made great sense for the client. What happened? Our closing percentages immediately went back up.
Plus, our digital business soared. Because “plus one” almost always turned into “plus many” once our very talented Digital Sales leader got involved with the client’s business. It turned out that the most effective way to add digital services revenue from new clients was to simplify the process. Our Digital Sales leader would quickly get the trust of the client as she helped them implement the first thing we suggested. Then, as she built trust, she could easily expand the number of digital products they used.
We built a significant digital business in a very short time by having an aggressive new business effort and simplifying the buying process.
One note: I have used the words new business client multiple times in this article. The most complicated sales presentations we make are to new clients. That’s where simplifying is required the most. You don’t need to be as mindful of the “plus one” when you have a long-term relationship. That client deserves your best thinking on the digital piece of their marketing program. However, when a client is new, think about how you can make the buying process simpler.
One of my earliest sales jobs was working summers and holidays selling jewelry for a small chain. There was a very quick way to get in trouble with the bosses. That was to keep too many choices on the counter. They taught us that if a customer looked at a new engagement ring, we were to make sure that the one they had seen went back in the counter. They realized that if the customer had too many choices, it would make the decision-making process harder.
Everyone reading this is making new business more and more of a priority, and that effort will only intensify in the next few years. We’ll be making significantly more new business presentations. Let’s not screw things up by over-complicating our sales process. Don’t have too many diamond rings on the counter!!!! Keep it simple!!! Then watch your closing % go up!
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