Friday, July 08, 2005

Whoa! Perceptions Indicate
Half of Us are Useless!

When perceptions form, even reality cannot shake them. A recent MediaLife survey has confirmed that marketers who buy advertising media have the perception that only 50% of all media sales reps are useful. Many were even more negative, holding that only 20% of sales reps are useful in helping them make media decisions.

Complaints centered, unsurprisingly, on time wasting, both in the form of over contacting and proving ill-prepared when conversations do take place. Another big complaint proved to be overly hard selling, with some reps seeming to believe that repetition or browbeating may succeed in getting a property on the buy where the numbers won't.

Good sales reps in any industry take the time to prepare and to provide value. They understand the customer's situation and use context to shape their services, and to win the customer's respect, trust and purchase.

What fascinates me here is why any company tolerates incompetent people in any position, but especially in sales and marketing where the company's success or failure become crucial. Context masters are winners and while it is hard work to dig into a customer's situation and needs, wants and expectations, the hard work does pay off.

If only 50% of us in this business produce marketing materials, campaigns or face-to-face conversations that are useful to customers, it is no wonder they turn us off.


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