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Seven Ways To Become a Source of Business Advantage to Your Local Advertisers

"Good Morning Mr. Hausauer, my name is Jeff Schmidt and I'm calling from Magic 104 WMGV radio in Oshkosh. We have developed a six-minute video that we are sharing with area businesses. The video provides great information about how to improve the marketing of your business no matter what kind of marketing you do. Whether you choose to do business with us or not, the video will provide you with valuable information that you can use immediately. Mr. Hausauer, I promise to not ask for your business unless I can first come up with a plan for improving it. Would Thursday at 9:15 or Friday at 11:45 work best for you?"

Thirty years ago, I considered that a "great" prospect call to a local car dealer.

Things have changed.

In Jeff Thull's book, Mastering the Complex Sale: How to Compete and Win When the Stakes Are High!, he identifies the three "eras" of selling that we"ve come through.

Persuasion - This was the era of the three-martini lunch, the feature benefit analysis and the "feel, felt, found" exercise. If you're not familiar with any of those things, consider yourself lucky.

Consultant sell - This is when we had to "ask questions" to determine needs.

Source of business advantage - Today, you not only have to come up with the right questions, but you also must bring to your prospects information of value without ever having met them before.

Today, your prospects have Twitter feeds, Facebook, LinkedIn updates, Pinterest pins and the list goes on and on. Your prospects are inundated with information. They have more than enough places to spend marketing dollars. They are tired of people calling to "learn about your business." They don't need more information or more conversation; they need help.

Here are seven more things you can do to become a source of business advantage for your prospects:

Read industry trade publications. (Automotive News, Restaurant News, Funeral Directors Weekly, etc.) These are a valuable source of the problems AND solutions specific to your client's industry.

LinkedIn groups. Identify the groups related to your client's industry and read the discussions.

Handle the creative. If you control the content of the ads, you control the account.

Sign up for Google alerts for your client's specific business and for their category of business.

Look for related industry trends and information. What does a car dealer need to know about banking? How about a restaurant about farming? Etc.

Research and provide information on topics of interest to them. (Social media, etc.)

Read books, attend seminars and webinars. Learn about broad business concepts and new trends.

What these seven have in common: the sincere desire to want to learn about your client's business and business in general so that you can be a valuable resource.

Mr. Hausauer became "George" to me that day, and we connected. I was a source of business advantage for George. What George bought from me was advertising. What George got from me was a partnership that we both valued. It was a partnership that started very successful careers for both of us.

What can you do today to make yourself a source of business advantage to your clients and prospects?

Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB