I recently had a conversation with a media rep who has been successfully selling radio for a little over two years. She indicated that she was renewing nearly 100% of her annual contracts, however, she was not having any luck at all in upselling her clients.
After probing with a few more questions, I asked her the ultimate question, “When and how are you starting the renewal process?” In this week’s topic, we will focus on the “when”. Like many reps, she explained that she makes her renewal presentations two to three weeks prior to the contract “end date”.
I then asked her why she had decided on this two to three-week time frame. Her answer, which matches many other reps that I’ve had this same conversation with, was “I don’t want to come across as being too pushy”.
I can understand her stance on this. I too will go to extra lengths to not come across as being pushy. However, I really cannot think of a situation where the timing of making a presentation will come across as being too pushy.
So, when should the renewal and upsell process begin? I would suggest that you “start” the process a maximum of 3 months out and a minimum of 2 months out. Why so far out? Let’s be honest, how many times have you approached your client saying you’d like to present next year’s plan and the first thing they say is, “I’m too busy. Let’s look at it in a few weeks”. They’ll say this or provide some other objection whether it’s three weeks or three months prior to the end of the contract.
When you started the process only weeks in advance of the contract date, how many times did the client ultimately end up saying, “Let’s just do what we did last year.”?
The fact is, if approached correctly, starting 2 to 3 months out will allow you to be less pushy than if you start only weeks in advance.
There is much more to the proper process of getting renewals signed on time, especially when asking for an upsell. We will save that for next week.
Until then, as you approach renewals of your current contracts, keep in mind, the early bird has a much better chance of catching the worm!