It happens nearly every day. You meet someone for the first time and the common question asked is, “What do you do for a living?”
How do you reply?
Do you offer the common boring response, “I sell advertising”, or, “I sell advertising for (your station/group name)”? Or, do you give a much more profound, creative, and exciting answer?
We are in a creative profession so start with a creative response to this mundane question. While this little reply (your “elevator speech”) isn’t necessarily going to make or break you, it can mean the world of difference in how the person asking perceives you. We only get so many chances to tell the world what we do, and this is one of those opportunities. Be prepared to take advantage of it!
So, what do you do?
As a media rep, I would say, “I work with small to medium-sized businesses helping them create strategies and ideas so they get a better return on their advertising dollar”.
As a manager, it would be something like, “I manage a group of media reps and help train them, give them ideas, and keep them motivated so they can, in turn, help their clients get a better return on their advertising dollar”.
As a media and sales consultant, I say, “We work with small to medium-sized media markets, mostly radio, helping train their managers and media reps so they can help their clients get a better return on their advertising dollar. In return, they ultimately generate more local revenue”.
Each of these statements is just the beginning of the conversation and hopefully it leads to more discussion.
Whether a sales rep or a manager, draft a short, creative statement that you are comfortable with, that will make the person asking the question say, “Wow, that’s interesting!”
Write it down, memorize it, and be prepared to use it the next time someone asks, “What do you do?”
You’ve heard the expression that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. While that may be true when it comes to meeting people, it’s not necessarily the case when it comes to B2B (business to business) sales. In fact, in the B2B sales world, if you play your cards right, not only may you get a second chance, but you could get a third, fourth, fifth, and even beyond.
There is a reason that those selling vehicles, appliances, furniture, and other B2C (business to consumer) products come off a bit pushy, and by doing so, often lose the opportunity for a second chance. It’s because once the customer has made the purchase, they are out of the market for an extended period of time. It’s Risk versus Reward. They push because they know that it may be years before those customers are in the market to purchase again.
In media sales, if you make a presentation to a prospect or client today and they say no, you can always reload and present again tomorrow or in the very near future, IF…
The “IF” is… If, you play your cards right and take the “no” professionally. No pouting, no arguing, no trying to make them feel guilty or stupid because they didn’t accept your ideas or didn’t want to do business with you.
Accept the “no” politely and professionally and be ready to reply with a few well-prepared statements and questions, such as, “Mr./Mrs. Prospect, I really appreciate your time and consideration of our proposal or plan. Can I ask you a question or two? Is there a specific reason that you have decided not to move forward with this plan? If I were to re-tool this plan or go back to the drawing board, what changes, things added or subtracted, would you like to see?”
Find out what the possible reasons may be and re-think your proposal. A warning though; business owners do lie and how they respond to these questions may not necessarily be the truth. Be prepared to dig a little deeper to uncover the real reasons.
By being professional, you will always leave the door open to present again. Anything less is unacceptable. In media sales, there is always a second, third, fourth chance to make that first time sale.