When selling a new prospect advertising on your station, how long should it take to make the sale?
The correct answer is… as long as it takes, to do it right! Too fast or too slow can both have adverse effects. But in most cases, moving too fast can have greater long-term adverse effects than moving too slow. Patience, more often than not, is a virtue!
Keep in mind that media sales are different from automotive, furniture, or insurance sales. Advertising sales are business-to-business sales; if we lose the sale to a competitor or don’t make the sale today, there will nearly always be another opportunity in the near future. The automotive, furniture, insurance, and other like categories are business-to-consumer sales and the urgency is much greater. They understand that if they don’t get the sale today, the prospect may well be out of the market tomorrow. However, even with that said, the best salespeople, regardless of what they are selling, nearly always have patience.
In media sales, two factors determine how long you should take:
1) The value of the client. Is it a long-term client or a short-term client? The more potential value the client has, the more patience you should have. Don’t rush in with ideas and plans that aren’t well-thought-out. Make sure you play your cards correctly.
2) How much time does the client/prospect need to trust you? Building “trust” takes time, and if they trust you at the point when they say yes to your plan, the chances are much greater that they will give your plan the time it needs to work.
Even if they don’t trust you, they may buy from you once or twice, but without trust, the chances of them becoming long-term clients are very slim.
In our experience, a majority of the medium to large long-term contracts our team wrote took at least 3 months to close, and some took 6 months or more. The key is, once they bought into the ideas and plans that we had taken our time to create for them, they were committed and stayed with the program.
18th-century Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau said it best, “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet”. It takes time to reap the rewards.
When you find a potential client that has value, be patient with them. Take the time to come up with great ideas. Ask deeper questions. Show a keener interest in their business and use that time to build trust and rapport. Once they say yes, you’ll have them for a lifetime.
Patience is a virtue and patience pays!