By Buff Parham
Once a month, or perhaps more often, you can count on this space to talk about various aspects of creating value. Creating value for your clients, your company and you too! The good news is that it’s indeed possible to do all three at once—the ultimate win/win/win. Possible, but not necessarily easy or fast.
In the world of ad sales, what exactly does “creating value” mean and why is it important? It’s the process of providing something that is quite tangible that does one or more of the following:
• Generates revenue growth
• Increases share of market
• Reduces costs
• Transfers costs
• Enhances or secures brand attributes
These are the key “value objectives.” You may be able to come up with more, but chances are they are just re-statements of one of these five. In any case, concentrating on this quintet will give us plenty to work on!
Now why are these value objectives important? Because they drive the core of any compelling value proposition. And the compelling value proposition is the heart of any serious sales presentation. If you have not focused on developing compelling value propositions, chances are pretty good that you’re not making your sales goals. It’s the “why” of selling. Far too often, salespeople spend too much time and energy on the “what” of selling, assuming that simply conveying information about their product/service will get the deal done. It’s simply not so. Either the seller or the buyer has to come up with the “why” before a sale occurs…wouldn’t it be better if that came from the seller? I hope that you agree!
Think seriously about using this menu of value objectives to drive better and more compelling value propositions. We assume that you’ve done your homework regarding the client’s hopes and dreams, and more importantly the client’s problems and obstacles. The very best value propositions address the hard stuff that clients are facing, which runs the gamut in today’s competitive and rapidly changing landscape. Clients are also far more appreciative (and respect) salespeople who demonstrate a genuine concern for the state of their respective business. After all, if you want their ad money, shouldn’t you be giving them something in return besides a media schedule?
The internet has leveled the playing field when it comes to access to vital information between buyers and sellers. More than likely, your client either knows or can find out a lot of important stuff about what you’re selling without ever asking you! So how do you look sitting there in a meeting reciting facts that the client already knows? You look terribly small and irrelevant. Can that lead to a sale? Sure, but it won’t be the one you had in mind. What do we call a salesperson who has no compelling value proposition? A speed bump. Yup, just a minor obstacle as the client proceeds to figure out what he/she wants to buy and how much to pay for it. I’m reasonably certain that no one reading this piece wants to be perceived as a speed bump by their clients!
We’ll be spending a lot of time focusing on creating value over the coming months here. Over the next month, take some time to a do a value proposition “inventory.” Pull out your last five or ten sales presentations and evaluate the quality of the value proposition in each one. Was each one as good as it could have been? What’s the correlation between the quality of the value proposition and the quality of the contract that was generated? If it’s a new business pitch, did it generate any new business? The more honest and objective you can be in this process, the better the results.
Thanks for spending time here. Hopefully we gave you some value!
About the Author:
Digital Media Training is excited to announce the addition of Buff Parham, a widely recognized thought leader and outstanding coach in the media sales and sales management field. With 35 years of sales experience, Buff has worked at Univision, FOX, Belo, ABC and CBS. He started in the mailroom at CBS, but quickly moved on to selling locally at KABC/Los Angeles and nationally for ABC Spot Sales in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York. Buff then continued on to spend almost 12 years with Univision, first as General Sales Manager at KUVN/KSTR in Dallas, and then 5 years in New York as SVP/Sales.
Buff believes that hard work matters and that raising the bar and having greater expectations tend to generate greater results. In his spare time, Buff finds cooking and playing golf to be two of the best therapies for a somewhat hectic existence!
Buff will be contributing a new blog article to Digital Media Training once per month about various sales and sale management topics. Stay tuned!