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Paul Weyland

When To Get Up And Leave The Client Meeting


A friend of mine forwarded a post that someone wrote about a big buy that went south, even after the client had initially said Yes. The problem was that one of the salespeople on the call wouldnt shut up. She got so excited about what she was selling that she extended the length of the meeting by nearly an hour. She was so wrapped up in details that she never noticed the panicked expressions on the faces of her teammates. In the end, the client, besieged with too much information, declined the offer.

I have found myself in a similar situation on more than one occasion. In one case, I was pitching the media buyer for a large soft-drink account. He said yes to my proposals to buy all of our stations. I got up to shake his hand and leave, but my sales manager who accompanied me on the call, insisted on showing the client reams of additional ratings data and color graphs. Again I tried to leave, but the manager wouldnt stop talking (he had spent a lot of time on his presentation and he wanted to pontificate on every page). Suddenly, he showed a graph that illustrated a demographic weakness with one of our stations. The client changed his mind and decided not to buy that station. I was livid, as it cost me 30 percent of the original buy.

Another time, as a very new seller, I was pitching the owner of a local office products business. I showed him three proposals: high, medium, and low. To my surprise, he opted for the biggest schedule. I remember thinking that I should leave now, but instead I engaged him in further conversation. In the middle of a story, he cut me off and said hed feel more comfortable with the medium-sized package. Instead of leaving at that point, I stayed, thinking that perhaps I could get him to change his mind. Well, he did. While I was talking, he talked himself into taking the smallest proposal. Geez! I finally got out with what was left of my original proposal and with my tail between my legs. Had I stayed longer, I would have probably wound up owing him make-goods and a free remote.

Those two very expensive lessons taught me this. When the client says yes, its time to get up and leave, because buyers remorse sets in quickly. To heck with the rest of your proposal. GET UP AND LEAVE. Ill stand up and say, Thank you, Im going back to the station now so I can lock these dates and production times in for you. And you leave. Right then. Im out like a fat kid in dodge ball. No sticking around. No joking, no long goodbyes, BAM, youre gone. Or, you might say, I know how busy you are. Thank you for your time and thank you for your business. Im headed back to the station so I can take care of this for you immediately. And then, you leave. As quickly as possible. As they say, Quitting while youre ahead isnt quitting.

Paul Weyland is the local direct broadcast sales trainer. He helps radio and television sales staffs (and their clients) increase their revenues. Paul can be reached at 512 236 1222 or at buy books and compact discs at or on

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