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A Simple CNA Clients Love


Local direct decision-makers often find broadcast sellers Customer Needs Analysis forms awkward, especially if youre the third media rep this week thats asked them to help fill one out. Many business owners would rather snack on wasps than help you fill out a lengthy form. The best way to get the information you need from local direct clients is by asking good questions and then listening very carefully to responses during the course of normal conversation.

Here are seven questions you can ask to get the information you need for a great custom proposal. Even though I may already know the answers to many of these questions, I like to hear the answers from the clients lips. By listening carefully to their responses, I learn a lot about what they know (but maybe arent advertising) about their businessas well as what they know and dont know about our business.

1.   Regarding advertising and marketing, what are you doing or what have you done in the past?
2.   Why are you doing it?
3.   Who are you trying to reach?
4.   What do those people youre trying to reach know now about your business?
5.   What do you want those people to know?
6.   What is your average sale?
7.   What is your gross margin of profit?

Again, even if I believe I already know the answer to any of these questions, I ask it anyway. I ask so I can listen carefully to their responses and determine their level of ignorance or sophistication about marketing, advertising, and my station in particular. I am looking for holes in their perceptions. Im looking for correctable untruths that they may have about advertising, or about my station. Im also digging for the clients true strengths and weaknesses, as well as her perceived notions of the strengths and weaknesses of her competitors. I will use this information to create commercials that will really get consumers attention.

When I ask about her average sale and her gross margin of profit, Im getting information I can use to calculate return on advertising investment and show her that advertising on my station is a good calculated risk, not gambling. Ill also use that same information to manage her expectations about results on my station.

Later, Ill put what Ive learned into a concise one- to two-page proposal that the client will understand and appreciate.

Here is an example of a conversation with a business owner. She owns a gardening center. 

Salesperson: Regarding marketing and advertising, what are you doing?
Client: We use the newspaper and the Yellow Pages.
Salesperson: Why are you using those mediums?
Client: Because they work. Were doing couponing and the people come in with the coupons.
OBSERVATION: All media work. Well deal with that later. And, I wonder how much of her advertising is dedicated to price only? She cant win long-term against her price-slashing national discount competitors. Maybe in the future we can focus her advertising on creating value for her products and services and less on cutting her prices.
Salesperson: Who are you trying to reach when you advertise?
Client: Were trying to reach everybody we can.
OBSERVATION: No medium can reach everybody and we dont have to. Just a percentage of those people who will buy plants and garden supplies this week.
Salesperson: Helen, those people youre trying to reachwhat do they know about your business now? [At this point the client usually begins to open up. I start to observe some of her frustrations.]
Client: We have a good reputation and we sell good stuff but were steadily losing business to Lowes, Home Depot, and Menards. And its hard to compete with all of their advertised low prices.
Salesperson: Helen, what do you want people to know about your business?
Client: Well, our soil in Southwestern Michigan is different. And, we dont sell things that dont grow in Southwestern Michigan. They sell a lot of stuff that just wont do well here with our weather and our soil.
OBSERVATION: Here come some golden nuggets I can use later in commercials.
Client: And we have a horrible unemployment problem in Michigan. Whenever possible, I only buy from Michigan growers and Michigan vendors, so we can keep jobs here in Michigan.
OBSERVATION: What great commercials these statements are going to make. And, we can focus value propositions like these, instead of trolling for bottom-feeders that would only buy her because of price.
Client: And, we dont have one of those great big parking lots. Theres plenty of free parking at the door and we even help load up your car for you.
Salesperson: Whats your average sale?
Client: Considering everything, about sixty dollars per customer.
Salesperson: Whats your gross margin of profit? Is it keystone (50 percent)?
Client: Actually, its a little higher than keystone, about 60 percent.

Great. Now I have the information I need to come up with a custom proposal. It will include a long-term creative strategy as well as a long-term schedule. My budget will be created from real numbers, which include her average sale figure and her gross margin of profit.

Well deal with how to write these proposals next time.

Paul Weyland is a broadcast sales trainer, author, and hired gun. Learn more about bringing Paul into your market by visiting or by calling him at 512 236 1222.

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