Friday, October 23, 2009

No, It's Not Your Client, It's Ours!

Most sales guys, not you of course, experience a good deal of anxiety every time their manager says, "Take it to the Client, you'll never get anywhere with the Buyer." That's because one of the unspoken learnings of advertising sales is that a "good relationship" with ad agency buyers, all but assures one of a more than decent living and a nice work environment that includes lunches and golf outings, all "on the company." Not that there's anything wrong with that. And that is, by and large, the career life of the average sales executive; Good relationships borne of a memory for wedding anniversary dates and childrens' birth dates, twice a season golf days and quarterly if not monthly lunches. So when the manager says, "forget the Buyer" (substitute your own familiar directive), the average sales guy says "Great idea Boss" and immediately heads for his desk drawer with the Maalox.

The more subtle cause of the angst is that the visit to a client will be like taking a knife to a gunfight, in the fantasy world of the average seller. ("I know all about CPP's, Ratings and can hold my own with respect to the strengths and weaknesses of competition within and without my media sector, but that client guy is going to want to talk about marketing and stuff, Jeez").

But again, the top of consciousness concern of the Seller is , "this will really piss my Buyer off, and destroy all the hard work I've done to develop a good relationship which mostly gets me my fair share of all his/her buys."

Hey, relax, remember, we're not talking about you. We're talking about the common, average seller.

Now the concern regarding the Buyer's feelings are well placed. After all, this is the Agency's Client, isn't it? Uh, Not Really. Not in my world anyway. Both you and your Buyer are in the business of helping the Client further his business interests. In fact, if the truth be known, the Client has no shot at building his business without you and your other media channel "friends," but if he had to, he could "stumble" along without an agency. However, because the transaction world's practice is for you to bill and and collect from the agency, you understandably mistake it, the Agency, for your client. In truth the Clients' best interests are met if you and the Agency partner are treating them as your mutual beneficiaries, your shared Clients, whose interests you work together toward meeting.

So, if you effectively and honestly communicate to the Buyer, that your only interest is to serve both him and your mutual Client and to help each of them be more successful, and that you would love to have him join you in a brainstorming session with the Client, or in the alternative, if he's unavailable, will make sure to keep him in the loop on all Client interactions--he'd have to be a real (insert your pejorative here) to object.


Great Selling!

Love Your Work and Work Tirelessly
Communicate Honestly and Fearlessly
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