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6 Easy Steps To Helping Clients Succeed

by Wayne Ens

Success coach Anthony Robbins often tells the story about a major shopping center that experienced a failure in their elevators. It was costing them thousands of dollars a minute in lost sales. The mall manager was panicking. She had called several service companies, but none of them seemed to be able to fix the problem. Finally, she called someone who was able to fix the problem in 60 seconds flat by simply pressing a few buttons…. Then he invoiced her a whopping $10,000 fee “for services rendered."

The outraged mall manager asked the service man “How can you charge $10,000 for pushing a couple of buttons and one minute’s work?” The service man replied by re-writing the invoice to say “service charge for pressing buttons, $1. Investment for knowing which buttons to press; $9,999.”  Your clients can purchase quantifiable spots, space, reach and frequency from an ever growing list of cheaper suppliers today. It’s the knowledge you bring to the table in your total value bundle that will separate you from your low-price competitors. One of the ways to improve and demonstrate your knowledge for your key accounts and key prospects, is to conduct a marketing audit for them.

The simplest and easiest way to gain credibility for your ‘audit’ is to examine all of your prospect’s advertising from their web site to their yellow pages and from their radio script to their newspaper ad or a brochure for inconsistencies. Very often you’ll quickly reveal the advertiser is using different slogans in different media, or does not use slogans consistently at all. This simple exercise will open the door for you to conduct a more in-depth audit, increasing your knowledge and demonstrating your expertise.
1. Customer Perception Audits
Design and post a survey on your website to  measure share of mind levels and customer perceptions of your client. If you uncover a poor perception of a particular aspect of their business discuss whether that perception is a reality or not. If it is reality, encourage the advertiser to make the necessary changes immediately. If the public perception is not in line with reality, develop an advertising and communications plan to change that perception.

2. Mystery Shopper Reports
Construct a list of the ten things your client wants their customers to experience when they do business with them.(i.e.; they might choose staff greeting, product knowledge, cleanliness of store, prompt telephone pick-up etc.) Your mystery shopper then reports how each experience compares to the business owner’s expectations .Try having a couple of your fellow account executives be the mystery shoppers on an account, then return the favor by serving as the mystery shopper on their accounts.

3. Competitor Audits
Produce a short written overview of your client’s competitors’ marketing. Visit competitors’ locations, check out their websites and compare their ads to your clients. Look for weaknesses you can exploit, or a competitive strength you can build upon.

4. Supplier Audits and Interviews
Suppliers can make excellent marketing allies and can tell you about successful marketing efforts in other markets they serve. They’ll often have vendor funds above and beyond co-op that they can contribute to your campaign.

5. Communications Audits.
Check out your client’s blogs, phone their company with an inquiry, and email a question to them. Report how quickly and accurately their people handle these communications and help them find ways to continually improve every customer touch point.

6. Internal SWOT Analysis
Offer to chair or facilitate a staff SWOT (strengths, weaknesses and opportunities) Analysis for the advertiser. Your facilitation will not only be sincerely appreciated, it will result in a more candid and objective overview than one hosted by the client. If your audit uncovers some unpleasant surprises, have the confidence to present those shortfalls, but do so very tactfully. Make certain that any criticisms are not expressed as your  personal criticisms or opinions, but rather, they are presented as the finding of your research and audit.
When you build and establish your knowledge as the go-to expert to help with your clients’ marketing and planning processes, your stations will play a major role in their advertising campaigns. Your advertisers can buy spots or space from any commodity sales person. It’s the knowledge you bring to the party to increase their return on investment that makes what you sell worth more than just your simple spot rates. The knowledge you gain from your marketing audit will help you push the right buttons, and justify stronger spot rates.

 Wayne Ens is President of ENS Media Inc and can be reached via e-mail Wayne Ens

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