By Tanya Henderson, Advertising & Membership Relations Director, Local Media Association
As many you are springing into deals action, you may want to take note of a new strategy by GateHouse’s Canton Repository as they recently held a Demystifying Deals workshop with nearly 50 local businesses participating.
Mike Blinder of The Blinder Group stepped out of his more traditional selling role and educated business decision makers on how to get into the deals space with the local newspaper. Canton’s goal: 50 deals in two weeks. The idea is to fill the pipeline so you are always ahead of the curve by having a deal scheduled. According to Blinder the “deals process needs extra hand holding.” Chris White, General Manager of The Repository agreed. “We’re not selling anything. We’re asking for a cut on the back end” which is new for sales reps. Canton has recruited a deals specialist to work with the sales reps at closing the sales. According to White “There’s a natural close if we can engage the prospect with a concept.” Both the specialist and the sales rep are commissioned at the close of the deal.
Blinder prepped the sales force with a webinar two weeks prior to the face-to-face meetings. The Repository assigned and qualified leads for the reps and the idea was to have some rapport with these prospects prior to the workshop. At the workshop the reps sat at table-rounds with their clients so they would be answering questions from their potential clients. According to Blinder “they are buying expertise from the speaker but they are buying local advertising from the sales reps.”
The sell to the advertisers is the $5,000 in advertising and promotion that these businesses receive. Canton also has a strong email database of 28,000 which is critically important. “It’s the circulation of our deal product,” said White.
The goal wasn’t to sell them on the spot as deals are a bit more complex and require more time with the client. Their measure of success was to set appointments with hot leads. Of the 48 attended they confirmed 22 appointments with 19 closed to date and several of these are multi-deal closes. And yes – they’ve exceeded their 50 deals goal.
Looking back what could be done better? White says investing more time in the front end by prescreening and qualifying prospects as much as possible.
The Local Media Innovation Alliance has released a comprehensive report on Deals. Click here to purchase this report. For more information on the LMIA membership and how you can receive a report like Deals each month, contact Tanya Henderson, Advertising & Membership Relations Director at 804.262.3341 or email Tanya.Henderson@localmedia.org You can also see recent presentations on Deal from the Mega Conference in San Antonio by visiting this link: http://www.localmedia.org/Conferences/Presentations/2012Presentations.aspx.