Salespeople often talk about the importance of establishing great customer relationships, but often drive a wedge between themselves and their ‘internal customers.’
What’s an internal customer?
An internal customer is anyone in your station who can have an impact upon your sales and your advertisers. It’s the creative, production, programming, promotions and traffic people whom you depend upon to deliver the promises and the results that you promised your external customers.
One of the most common disrupters to harmonious internal customer relationships is deadlines that are too tight, or worse yet, deadlines that are not adhered to.
I hate to say it, but with few exceptions, there are no “emergency” broadcast orders.
Broadcast entities are not a hospital or accident scene, and no one dies if the order starts Tuesday instead of Monday.
Our ’emergencies’ are self-created when we don’t educate the client about the necessity of our deadlines, or when we’re just plain negligent and simply wait until the deadline to get our butts in gear.
Short or missed deadlines increase your margin for error, show a total lack of respect for the work of others. If you can’t say ‘no’ to late orders you are not really an account ‘manager’ at all.
Some clients will push the envelope as far as you have educated them that they can get away with. The irony is, they’ll get better creative, fewer errors, and better results if you managed their campaigns further in advance.
The most productive sales forces I see across the continent are the ones where sales is not a ‘department’ but is a harmonious part of the entire station team where everyone has fun and fosters respect for each other.
As we near the Christmas season, I’m reminded of stations I’ve seen where traffic and production people had to work late into the afternoon of Christmas Eve to process ‘late’ orders, while the sales people are out doing their last-minute shopping.
If you are one of those stations, I can promise you your sales are suffering because you’re fighting an uphill battle with your internal customers all year long. On the other hand, creating longer, firmer, deadlines will produce better internal customer relationships, which in turn produce better campaigns, better results and merrier Christmases and happier weekends for everyone.