We’re happy to bring back guest contributor, Bob “Z” Zuroweste for a third week! With 30+ years in the media industry, you may know Z from his time as VP/Market Manager Clear Channel, Sr. VP/Director of Sales for CBS Radio, VP/Market Manager for Entercom and Shamrock.
This week we are going to talk about PROSPECTING!
I know what you’re saying… prospecting now? During a pandemic? Yep! But first, I want to share a story that will hopefully convince you that prospecting is a full-time job, especially now.
I was managing a cluster of radio stations in a major market (no mention of city or company to protect the innocent). We had 50 team members in our sales department, and we were performing well by all metrics as measured by our corporate folks. Revenue growth, market share… it was all humming along. However, I felt we were missing our mark in new business. So, I conducted a little experiment. For the next few weeks I was going to no longer feed my team “call-in” leads and see how they would do on their own. In short, I wanted them to PROSPECT their own leads.
The next morning, on the way into the office, I noticed a series of ads on billboards and bench signs that promoted that “ZIP!” (again, the names have been changed) is coming” These boards and bench signs were very prevalent all-around town, literally surrounding our office all emblazoned with the same message. “ZIP! is coming!” I wasn’t sure who “ZIP!” was, or what the heck they did for a living, but their name was impossible to miss, and we knew that they would be here soon.
I waited for one of our 50 reps to put in a request to handle “ZIP!”. Important note here, we had a three-day protection policy that gave the first rep protection to cover an account with just a name and during that period they needed to get full contact information on their prospect. “ZIP!” was everywhere, this was going to be way too easy for them.
At the end of week one, after being exposed to a major outdoor campaign, with messages all around our office, no one had put in a request for the account. Really?
I decided to call the sign company and ask who the ads were for. The rep at the sign company shared that “ZIP!” was a new line the bus company was introducing that was to be a direct line to the area our offices were to downtown.
Another week went by and no one requested the account. So, at the end of two full weeks of this bus line heavily promoting this new line… with just a single name, I figured it was time to share the information on the account. On Mondays, we had a full meeting with all 50 sellers. I asked who had seen the signs promoting “ZIP!”. Everyone raised their hands. Then I asked (knowing the answer) who had put in a request for this future account. The entire team looked at each other and of course no hands came up. I then shared the account and who had purchased the advertising. The silence was as they say was deafening.
The point to this rather long story (sorry) is that opportunity is everywhere around you. But you can’t wait for the lead to come to you. You’ve got to take action and grab that lead. Even now, new product categories are emerging, stores are re-opening. So, keep your eyes and ears open. Keep your prospecting antenna up when you are on the internet, radio, TV, outdoor, collecting your mail, and yes driving around in your car to that next appointment. PROSPECTING is a full-time job, and there are great leads all around you. It’s up to you to go get them.
Until next time!
– Bob “Z” Zuroweste
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