Commentary

Be A Change Agent

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." -- Charles Darwin

Why Love Change?

I have worked in the media business, funded primarily by advertisers, for more than 30 years. Not once have I had a client say to me, "Last year you worked really hard to get my attention and made a really well-thought-out proposal for my business. We were wrong last year to not buy you, so we're doing it this year."

What clients and agencies have said, after I worked my butt off to win their business, is: "Things have changed, so we're adding you to the schedule."

The Face of Change Today

IPads, apps, real-time-optimized-behavioral targeting, privacy limitations -- these are merely the face of change today. The OMMA Publish conference this coming week is themed "Rewiring the Media Model." It is all about how things are changing, how publishers are adapting to changes, and where the changes will come from next. I will be there testing my own ideas about how the media business is changing and to see how my expectations for change fit with the new evidence on what is working. And I'll be looking for new signs of change I need to integrate into my thinking and recommendations to my clients.

If you have been wondering what to do this summer while you soak up the sun, think about your fundamental approach to change. Do you welcome change and thirst for new ideas and possibilities? Or do you find it frustrating that as soon as you get comfortable, things change again? Can you develop your own mental framework for how the changes you see are affecting your customers -- and how you can develop your own skills and attitudes to understand and embrace change and profit from it?

Use Change as Your Tool

When a client or agency agrees that things are changing, they are opening themselves up psychologically to changing their own thinking. When you focus on change in your sales conversation or sales presentation -- change that relates directly to the client's market or selling hurdles -- you will be engaging the client in a conversation that they want and need to have.

If you are in advertising sales, you should be learning to love change. When you can get your customers to agree that important things are changing in their market, they'll agree more easily to seriously consider changing their media choices and open up to considering your proposal that offers an intelligent answer to marketing in a changed world.

Not Only for Others

The economy has changed. Consumers have changed. Your customers are struggling to change their advertising and marketing to keep up with, or to lead, the change. The advertising agencies and buying services that serve your customers are changing. How are you changing?

Can you explain to your customers how your media property is responding to or leading the changes? Have you thought about how you can change yourself and your business practices to use new tools or tactics to better serve the advertisers and agencies with whom you work? When was the last time you thought about changing your approach to getting appointments and to what you present on sales calls? Are you responding to the changing demands on your contacts' time? How are you helping them get their own changing job done?

If you are not relating your proposals to how things are changing, you are missing the single most powerful sales tool that gets clients and agencies to consider making a change by adding your property to their schedule or increasing their spending with you!

"When you're finished changing, you're finished." -- Benjamin Franklin

3 comments about "Be A Change Agent".
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  1. Jonathan Mirow from BroadbandVideo, Inc., June 10, 2010 at 6:43 p.m.

    "Use Change as Your Tool" - or become a tool of change. This article is more pablum from yet another "sales trainer". Gag me with change.

  2. Daniel Ambrose from ambro.com, corp., June 11, 2010 at 10:52 a.m.

    thank you Jonathan, for not calling my column "another sign of the decline of Western Civilization" like you commented on another story recently. :-)

    In an earlier post you said "My company doesn't do today what it did two years ago and most certainly doesn't do what it SET OUT to do 10 years ago." So I guess all the change has you tired and cynical rather than energized.

    I think for the rest of my audience, who looks for a sales edge every dat...perhaps using "change" as a tool can work for a few. Dan

  3. Jonathan Mirow from BroadbandVideo, Inc., June 15, 2010 at 12:20 p.m.

    There's a difference between being cynical and being realistic - and trust me, motivational-man, you won't find a more energized "change agent" than me. That's why I'm moving live, streaming video to the next level - don't bother looking on the web site, you won't find a mention of it there. It has been my personal experience that those who bandy about the term "change" are the same folks who's "out of the box" mantra keeps them stuck in that slimy, corporate mud. And thanks for keeping track of all the stuff I say in posts - I'm impressed that you've read my work...

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