Do you have businesses in your town that you haven't spoken to about advertising, simply because you don't think they'd be interested? Josh Williams, thrower of the kitchen sink, elaborates on his realization that he'd been doing just that.
Josh Speaks: The Opportunity That Was Right In Front of Him
Josh: Many of us independent online publishers know how to get a scoop, but we struggle with the sale. A recent string of successes is getting me to rethink the process I have been using to develop quality leads.
I run/jog with a group of local small business owners. These runs have been a great opportunity for me to learn about and discuss their business challenges as well as understand what they are doing and how they are thriving in our current economy.
After one group run, a new participant came up to me and told me how much she appreciated our coverage of her son's basketball games and that they had family that was watching them via our live stream. The family runs a spin class studio out of a basement on Main Street.
We were talking more about her business and she said, "You know Josh, we have money to advertise. Why don't you send me a proposal?"
Why Hadn't I Asked Them About Advertising Before?
I had a perfect client right in front of my face and never made a pitch, and I had to ask myself, "Why did I previously pass up this opportunity?" The answer is simple: I talked myself out of it.
I obtain many of my leads from the local Pennysaver (predominantly, a print publication). This spin studio never advertises anywhere. So I figured they wouldn't be interested in online advertising. I had been establishing the quality of my potential client pool based on print industry standards and success — So I am no longer defining my leads by other operations, I am starting from scratch.
Thinking Differently About Potential Customers
As I was figuring this all out, I took a walk down Main Street. I counted the number of businesses that have advertised with me in the past year. Out of approximately 35 businesses, 7 of them have advertised with me. I was now looking down a long row of passed up opportunities. Why did I assume someone was going to tell me "no", and more importantly, why was I afraid of it?
A "no" is as equally as great as a "yes" in many cases. So even if I think they are going to say "no", I am going to search them out. The "no" will now help me define my new sales system. I have to start from scratch.
Why should I let a shrinking print medium define my quality leads? At the end of the day, the best way for me to sell an ad is to start learning about their business and whether their advertisement on my site will help them grow.
It's been a massive error for me to assume the answer before I ask. It's been a greater error to generate my ad leads based on the local Pennysaver.
And I Throw the Kitchen Sink
If I am going to be successful in selling online advertising, I have to quit selling it like my print competitors.
So take a walk down your Main Street or business district, don't ask yourself if they would be a good advertiser, ask them.