Bob is a fabulous AE who’s the full package. He manages a big book of business. Leads the team in new business development. Loves digital.
If you had five more Bob’s on your sales staff every budget would probably be exceeded.
But Bob has a problem. He’s 49 years old and is wondering if the TV business that has supported his family for the last 15 years is a business that will continue to be a great place to work as he heads into his 50’s.
Bob is nervous. Very nervous. His fear could very well cause him to leave our business at the exact time we need a lot more people like him. We cannot afford to lose Bob. He’s too important to our success.
What do we say to Bob? It’s an important discussion, maybe very important. My sense is we have a lot of “Bobs” on our sales teams.
Leaders who want to have productive discussions with their Bobs have to strike a balance. They can’t pretend this is an industry that isn’t changing. Bob smells BS. And, he’s pretty smart. You have to tell him the truth. (What’s the truth? Keep reading for more on that.)
But you also have to keep Bob sold on the incredible power of our “tradigital” products. In fact, one of a leader’s top priorities today has to be the ongoing sales effort… with their own teams.
What would I say to Bob?
1. Just because a business is different doesn’t mean it will be worse. Our business is changing, that’s for sure. But we still have more power to make a difference for our clients than anyone else who’s calling on our customers.
2. Offer proof of that by bringing new examples of success stories to Bob and the others on your team every single week. To corporate execs reading this, collecting success stories on your intranet site, which many of you do, is great. But making sure those stories are shared every week will dramatically increase their impact, and will help keep Bob sold.
3. This is important. One of the key motivations of people is that they want to know that they do work that matters. Our greatest AE’s don’t just sell spots. They are difference makers. So it’s critical that they know our ability to make a difference hasn’t diminished at all.
4. In this vein, I love to expose the sales staff to business owners who have seen our products help take their business to new heights. A few years ago, I was in a market and met with a medical practice where the client shared a graph of new patients with us. To say the results were dramatic was an understatement. I am a passionate believer in our products, but hearing it directly from him made me even more incredibly jazzed.
5. A rating point doesn’t buy anything. Make the audiences real! Understanding that your early AM news audience has 2x more people than the biggest stadium in town makes it real.
6. Our new digital tools give us incredible opportunities. I was blown away by a station that used their geo-fencing tool to help a hospital with nurse recruitment by placing a fence around other hospitals in town, activated only during 3rd shifts when the client knew there were lots of nurses who might not be satisfied in their current job. WOW. When an ad works today, customers pick up a device. So, today’s AE’s have the ability to help a client with more parts of their interaction. In my selling days, the help we provided was one dimensional. Today, with our ability to see search, re-targeting, reputation management, and long-form video we really can be full-solution providers. That jazzes me up, big-time.
7. I’d also be telling Bob what kinds of opportunities there will be for stars in the next 10 years. In a period when SELLING will be more important than ever, great salespeople will be in even more demand. The next decade may well be the decade of the salesperson, and people who are great at creating business will be very well-rewarded.
The real issue?
It may not be Bob.
Maybe it’s you. Or all of us. Do we believe it? Are we conveying energy and enthusiasm for our ability to make a difference today. The great motivator, the late Keith Harrell, always said, “You can’t jump a dead battery with a dead battery.” What’s your battery level? Are you on fire about our opportunities or are you lamenting a world that no longer exists?
Leaders need to lead. Our teams want to know we believe in our business and that we have a plan for the future that they can sign up for.
What do you tell Bob? Tell him that if he’s prepared to work and he’s committed to bringing solutions to his clients, your company will make the next decade his best decade ever.
Have a GSM or GM meeting in your future? Why not have Jim Doyle or John Hannon speak to your meeting about how to turn your sales staff into a Sales FORCE? We promise powerful, thought-provoking content customized to your company’s needs. Contact Jim Doyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 941-926-SELL.