Your station likely has a board of directors or trustees that can greatly help your efforts to bring in underwriting revenue. Who wouldn’t want that kind of help? But, you'll first need to bring them up to speed about underwriting and its importance to your station.
It has happened to all of us at one time or another. You had an underwriting prospect who had agreed to work with you. She even said, “Let’s get started!” Then she disappeared - with no warning - and you never heard from her again.
So what do you do next?
You begin chasing the prospect. But what you may not be aware of is that you’re trying to catch someone who doesn’t have any intention of letting you catch her.
Some salespeople are doing more chasing than catching.
Have you ever tried to set up a meeting with a senior-level executive to discuss underwriting opportunities? It can be tough to connect with these very busy people. It seems as though they’re never in their office, they rarely answer the phone, and seldom reply to your voicemail or email. What makes it a bigger challenge is that their assistants are very effective at being gatekeepers, protecting them from interruptions.
If you want to connect with executives, it likely won't happen easily. To set up a meeting, you first have to get their attention.
- Keep it simple and get to the point. Don't distract or overwhelm with detail.
- Be invaluable. Realize that you are the primary differentiator today.
- Zoom in and align. Focus your message on their key business objectives.
- Raise priorities. Keep your eye on changes that can affect and increase momentum.
You must convey all of this in a 30-second introduction, voicemail, or brief email message.
A common mistake made by many underwriting salespeople is treating all prospects as if they were all the same. The fact is that some prospects just can’t afford underwriting.
That's where qualifying your prospect comes into play. That simply means that you're exploring how likely that prospect is to become an underwriter. A key part of this process is knowing whether or not they have the financial resources.
Qualifying your prospect isn't complicated to do. In fact, making sure you answer five simple questions about your prospects can lead you to increase sales, efficiency, and generate more revenue.
1. Do they have a budget?
It doesn't matter how much a person actually wants or needs to reach your listeners or viewers if they don't have the money to pay for it. If a prospect doesn't have the resources to afford what you're offering, then there's no point moving forward with the sales process.
In a recent post, we pointed out that a common problem encountered by stations that underperform based on their potential for underwriting revenue was small contract size. This is understandable given that small businesses often consider public radio one go-to place to effectively reach a desirable audience. And we all have those “grandfathered in” businesses that have been loyal supporters who just can’t afford to spend more.
We all know that underwriting provides incredible value to our sponsors. Why then, when we’re talking with a prospective underwriter about their on-air message, do we take a position of weakness by saying something such as, “We can’t say that in an underwriting credit”?