Rep Encounters, Sales

Asking for a proposal should be about the same, right?

Now that I’m on the “dark side” as we call it in the industry, I’ve had some encounters with business owners, marketers, and media planners who are asking me for proposals for outdoor boards for them to advertise on.I’m actually surprised about how hard it is to get information from people to help me build strong proposals for them.  Well, I’m not surprised by the small business owners who haven’t done a lot of advertising before, and are uncertain about how sharing certain information that they don’t even know is important to know.  That I get.  That’s where us going to them and asking a lot of the questions help us.

It’s the marketers and media planners that have already asked their clients the who, what, when, where, how and why questions in order to build a strategic, sound advertising campaign and media plan, but then fail to realize that sharing at least a snippet of that information with each medium would help them in receiving proposals that would match the overarching goals of their campaign.

So next time you ask someone for a proposal for anything (advertising proposal to a leaking roof to a haircut), remember that sharing certain information about your needs and goals will only help you get something back that is more in line with your expectations.

And don’t expect something for nothing!  As a media planner, I was keenly aware of how money gets made and the fact that at some point in hard negotiations you could get to a point where the sales rep is making no commission, the company is losing money because you’re expecting hard costs to be covered, and everyone walks away unhappy with the deal and not looking forward to the next one.  If you are giving someone a large portion of the budget, or even all of it, it’s okay to expect a higher level of service and more added value than the next guy, but be cognizant of the ceiling and remember how frustrated you get when your own clients ask for the same kind of treatment.

Here’s a viral video from awhile back that reminds me of this situation.  It’s funny, but true.  Which is a little sad.

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