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What Winning Account Executives Know


The top-producing account executives we work with always know the answers to these 10 questions about every client:

1. Who is the real decision maker? Not to be confused with the decision-allocator. In the case of a car dealership, for example, the sales manager might decide which stations or what media they choose, but only the real decision maker, the dealer principal, can increase the budget. Top producers develop valid business reasons to connect with the ultimate decision maker. Organizational changes might displace the decision allocator, but the real decision maker will always be able to invest with you. Ad agencies are only decision allocators.

2. When is the planning cycle? Many know the buying cycle, or fiscal year end, but its more critical to know the planning cycle. The top account executives will be a sustaining resource prior to and during the planning process. If the plan is struck to the exclusion of radio, you have an uphill battle. But if the plan includes radio, you only have to fight for your share.

3. Who are the key influencers? With tough competition and pressures on profit margins, every decision is critical and seldom made unilaterally. The best owners and managers minimize their risk by consulting their staff, trusted advisors, and perhaps even industry gurus before making major decisions. Who are they and what can you do to win them over?

4. What is the value you deliver? What is it the advertiser really wants from you, and what do they believe its worth? Consulting? Creative? Reach? Traffic? Sales? It might be a combination of benefits. The top account executives know how much they will add to the bottom line and what that is worth to the client.

5. What is the budget? Budgets can always be increased with the right understanding of client needs and your value proposition. The best account executives know what the current budget is, and what share they capture.

6. How will they measure? Web hits? Gross sales? New faces? Mentions? Traffic? Sales? You need to know up front how you will be measured, and how to measure up.

7. Why would the advertiser cancel? What would be the most likely reason they would cancel or not renew? And what steps can we take to prevent that from happening?

8. Whats the next step? What is the next good thing or valid business reason we are preparing for our next call? Pre-call customer-focused planning is the hallmark of the best reps.

9. What is the advertisers competitive advantage?  Why should your audience abandon their current provider/supplier in favor of this client, and how can you validate that competitive advantage in your campaigns?

10.  Where does my client want his business to be five years from now? Rookie account executives only focus on short-term solutions-selling. The top reps know their clients long-term dreams and visions and how to fit into those plans.

Wayne Ens is president of ENS Media Inc. ENS Medias Selling in the New Media Economy sales training program trains radio salespeople how to position and sell radio as a relevant key player in the new media mix.