When you were growing up, you may have heard the expression, “Some things are just better left unsaid”. It was another way of saying hold your tongue because if you say it out loud, it could land you in trouble, or it may cause unpleasantness.
In advertising sales, one of those “things” better left unsaid until the appropriate time is…rates!
However, oftentimes it’s one of the first things new prospects want to talk about. When this happens, how we reply can set the stage and determine what type of relationship we will have with this client far into the future.
So, while we are better off not talking about rates, especially early in the relationship, the topic, especially when asked, needs to be addressed.
When one of your prospect’s first questions is, “What are your rates?”, you must be prepared. Answering the question directly and with as much confidence as possible is extremely important. The worst possible thing you can do is try to skirt the question and give them a song and dance reply!
Here is a suggested reply: “Our rates are great. I can assure you of one thing, we don’t gouge people and we don’t give it away.” Our rates are determined by several factors that include what station and/or how many stations you are on, the time frame in which your ads air, how much frequency you choose to run, the length of the agreement, and the length of the message. With that said, your rates will be somewhere between $__ and $__.”
If you choose to use something like this, make sure the rates you provide are fairly broad, allowing you room to explain the rates you present based on the reasons stated above, i.e. a 30-sec ROS schedule compared to 60-sec drive- times on one or multiple stations.
What we don’t want to have happen is to get into a discussion about our rates vs. the other radio station(s), or comparing the cost of radio to other mediums. The deeper you go with your reply, the more rate will be an issue.
As quickly as possible you want the conversation to turn to how we can help them grow their business with strategies, ideas, solutions, and results!
The right time to discuss rates is after you have presented your ideas and proven that you are there to help them, not just sell them. Then, regardless of what your rates are, they will always appear lower.
Do you want to be known as the media rep with the best rates or the media rep with the best ideas? Having a pre-planned and rehearsed response to this question can determine what your relationship will look like far into the future.
Some things are better left unsaid, or at least said in the appropriate manner, at the appropriate time!
My dad had a lot of little sayings that had far greater meanings than just the few words spoken. Things like, “Can’t never could do anything”, “Do as I say, not as I do”, “Believe only half of what you see and none of what you hear”, and this one, “It’s best to keep a couple in your pocket”.
I think the saying “keep a couple in your pocket” originally meant to always keep a couple of coins or dollars on you, and more than once it referenced keeping a few pieces of candy for later in the day! But I also recall him saying, “You don’t need to tell them everything up front. Hold back some of your questions, thoughts, and knowledge for a more appropriate time. Sometimes, timing is everything”.
Others might say something like, “hold your cards close to your chest/vest” or “don’t show all your cards until it’s time to play”.
Regardless of how you express it, using this wisdom in sales at the appropriate time can have a powerful impact.
One of the areas in which I used this wisdom was when conducting CNAs. I would ask all of the normal questions, but, in many cases, I would intentionally hold back two or three questions. Then, at the end of the meeting, I would say to the prospect, “We’ll go back to the office, prepare our ideas and put our recommendations together for you. In the meantime, if I have a few additional questions, do you mind if I call you or set up another appointment to discuss?”
In addition to asking better and deeper questions upfront, this is where we start to separate ourselves from our competition. In a few days or a week, we would call the prospect back and either ask the questions or set up another appointment. I would say something like, “Mr./Mrs. Prospect, I believe we have some really good ideas put together for you, but I do have a few additional questions before preparing our final suggestions. Do you have 10-15 minutes to sit down and discuss?”, or if they don’t have time to meet face-to-face, ask them, “Do you have time to answer a few questions?”
The reason, and goal, for doing this is that subconsciously, we are going above and beyond what other media reps might be doing by putting additional thought into their business, and going the extra mile by thinking the process completely through.
This little tactic is not necessarily a game-changer. You’ll still need to have a great idea, but by keeping a “couple of questions in your pockets” and asking them at an appropriate time, you can certainly capture their attention enough to help position yourself differently from your competitors!
…and in the case of candy, you will never be disappointed that you kept a couple in your pocket!
If you’ve worked in media sales for any time, the formula SOV = SOM = SOM is not new to you.
For those of you that have not seen this before, let me explain and then discuss why we should make sure every business owner understands it and why it is still relevant in today’s new media world.
Share of Voice (SOV) is the percentage of media spending by a company compared to the total media expenditure for the product, service, or category in the market. Share of Mind (SOM) is the level of Brand Identity or TOMA/Top of Mind Awareness that a business has amongst its competitors in the market. Share of Market (SOM) is the percentage of the total amount of business being done in a specific category within their market.
In simple terms, the greater the amount of SOV a specific business has the greater the amount of SOM, or TOMA, they have, and then ultimately the greater amount of SOM they have. Of course, there are underlying factors that can cause Share of Market to be swayed one way or another, but that is for another article.
Having this conversation with your clients and prospects is important for two main reasons:
Most business owners do not equate their share of the market like this. At best, they simply know “which competitors” have “what share” of the business within their market. They don’t necessarily know “how” they got it.
Getting them to understand that having a greater Share of Mind is the end goal to having a greater Share of Market.