Your station probably has only 25-30 accounts that meet two criteria:
#1 – Their spending puts them in the top 20% of all your LOCAL accounts
#2 – There’s an accessible LOCAL decision maker
So, as a top leader—General Manager or General Sales Manager—why not find time before Christmas to personally thank these accessible, important clients for the business they’ve given you in 2018?
Here’s the good news. In my experience, only a small percentage of GM’s ever do something like this… which means this effort can have a huge ROI.
Ideally, some of these meetings would be in person. But, if that’s impossible given your commitments, a simple “thank you” phone call can pay huge dividends. For many years I’ve made thank you calls the week before Christmas. The result has been some of my most meaningful conversations with C-level decision makers, as they often have a few minutes to be more reflective and honest during a slightly calmer week.
Make sure your only message is “thank you.” I’ve seen too many GM’s who can’t miss any opportunity to pitch something or brag about how well their station is doing in the ratings. There’s a time for that, perhaps. But this call/visit is simply to express your gratitude for the chance to work with their business this last year and to ask if there’s anything else you can do for them to help them. That’s it!!!
You might decide to call a few of your largest ad agencies as part of this effort. Nothing wrong with that. But, don’t ever forget that ad agencies are NOT our clients. Your clients are the people who sign the checks to the ad agency, and those are the people on whom you should focus. Expressing thanks for the business they’ve given you in 2018 is a wonderful way to have a conversation with the true economic buyer, without having to worry that you’ll offend the agency.
I mentioned earlier that it’s been my experience that only a very few General Managers do enough of this. Many get bogged down in the details of running a station. Some are not comfortable with clients. One thing I’ve noticed is that many GM’s who come from news are actually quite good at meeting clients. Their well-developed interviewing skills help them a lot when meeting clients. Ironically, too many former sales managers aren’t great at staying in touch with clients. I’ve heard some say they’ve “been there and done that,” which is a frightening statement. Others get so involved with trying to understand other departments that they become too busy to see clients. Misguided priorities for sure.
I believe very strongly that saying thank you is a big deal. Leaders need to say thank you to their people… a lot. And, they should say thank you to their customers. An expression of gratitude is never a wasted effort.
How important are customers to you? Do they know that? We’re in a time when every client is important, and this group of larger clients is REALLY important. Try to take a few minutes to express your gratitude during these next few weeks.
I will as well, including thanking all of you for taking the time to read the thoughts I share in these emails. I’m grateful for your feedback, your sharing them with your team, even your criticism. I hope they make you think. And I hope they occasionally provoke action. Happy Holidays.
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” -Zig Ziglar
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