I was on a call with Rick Murphy, Murphy Broadcasting, last week. The subject was how his group of stations managed to survive and thrive during the lockdowns last year from COVID. I appreciated his “I’m not going to let a little thing like a pandemic prevent my success” attitude. He responded to the challenge by finding new clients, clients that WOULD and SHOULD advertise in those trying times. His secret? Great prospecting. His sellers prospect from a list of 4000 businesses. He has a sophisticated phone system to fuel calling for appointments. Most of us do not have his setup, but we can still be successful in contacting potential new clients.
- Make an appointment with yourself. Discipline is required for successful prospecting. Since it is so easy to put if off, set aside time to prospect for one hour each and every day. (Rick’s sellers set aside 2 hours each Wednesday to phone for appointments)
- Make as many calls as possible. Research your target to be sure you reach the best prospects. This will insure that each call will be a high-quality call: and when you are dealing with quality, more is always better than less. (Because Rick’s sellers work off a list of 4000 business names, they call the next name that pops up with no knowledge except the name and number. This has given them success with some unusual categories of business.)
- Make your calls brief. It is your objective to introduce yourself and to get an appointment. It should just take two or three minutes to do so.
- Be prepared with a list of names. Don’t waste your prospecting hour attempting to find out the names you need. That might make you feel busy, but you won’t be as productive. (See Number 2 above for Rick’s solution to this.)
- Work without interruption. Prospecting, just as with any repetitive task, improves the more you do it. Take advantage of your momentum.
- Call during off-peak hours. Conventional wisdom says, “Call between 9AM and 5PM”. That doesn’t always work. Switch or supplement your calling hours and try calling between 7:30 AM and 9AM or between 5PM and 6PM. (Rick’s time is 3PM-5PM. His numbers show this to be a peak time to call in his market.)
- Vary your call times. Everyone is a creature of habit, so prospects probably attend the same meetings every week. If you cannot reach a prospect, learn from your lack of success and call at some other time or on another day. (Rick’s people simply move on.)
- Be organized. Keep a record of whom you have called and when, and the subject you discussed. It will help when you finally get an appointment, and it will also help keep track of whom you’re supposed to call back and when.(Rick’s system recycles names)
- Establish your goals, then develop a plan to get there. If your goal is to set the appointment, your cold-call scrip should be designed and redesigned to help you achieve your goal.
- Don’t stop. Persistence is the key skill every successful salesperson shares. Remember that most sales are closed after the fifth call. Most salespeople quit after the first call!
Pat has a New Book
What will broadcast sales look like in the future? What new skills will we need to be successful? How has the world-wide business interruption in 2020 changed how we will do business in the next year
- A sales system designed to accelerate success for both new recruits and seasoned professionals
- Understanding the internal motivations that move clients to buy from you
- New ways to prospect, new categories of business, that will keep your sales pipeline full
- Questions to uncover what clients are thinking and planning for the next years
- Presentations designed to craft high-dollar, long-term campaigns
- Strategies to reduce attrition
- New ways to hone your creative skills to produce relevant messages for businesses
- Ways to integrate radio and digital advertising to achieve greater results for clients
- Wisdom from managers around the world regarding how to manage teams remotely