36 “No"s Can Still Make a Right for Ad Agency New Business

Consultative selling at its best
by Todd Knutson

prospectorI was told a story a few month ago about a salesman and his son. They're not involved with ad agency new business, but their story and the lessons learned are 100% applicable to a successful hunter.

Howard Weisnberg is a master salesman of the old school - he believes sales is a numbers game. His approach is simple: make as many calls as possible while offering solutions in a consultative way to creatively get to the buyers' needs and budget. He often surprises his customers with packages and prices they never thought of. His deals range from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars; on average he sells $50,000-$80,000 per month. His profit margin is the highest in the company's history.

Both of Howard's sons are gifted salesman. Last year his son, Adam, took a job selling B2B training courses that average about $1,500 each. At his company, all new hires are given "proving leads". Each of these leads has already been called 30-40 times by past new hires.

Adam closed three deals in his first week.

Okay, let's consider what's going on here:

  • You have a talented father who passed on his skills to his son.
  • You have a company that knows there is value in "old, dead leads" and recognizes that good sales people will find it.
  • You have a son who is clearly able to find a buyer's need where others were not.

New Business lessons:

  • Does your agency have a group of prospects that you consistently work over the long-term?
  • Do you abandon efforts after the first rejection?
  • Are you consistently working to improve your sales skills - to practice identifying needs and establishing value?

As Guy Kawasaki (former Apples exec and founder and managing director of Garage Technology Ventures) said in a NYT interview some months ago:

Success in business comes from a willingness to grind it out...

 

 

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