Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Lunch with Mr. Schmooze

The art of making sales lies in the ability to make and cultivate lasting relationships with your advertiser. And Mr. Schmooze shows you how to schmooze your way into advertiser's hearts.

On Day One, self-coined “Mr. Schmooze,” aka Brett Hunsaker, greeted the lunch diners to a presentation on “Three Ways to Develop Business Relationships.” Embracing the philosophy that the key to making sales is building relationships, Hunsaker encouraged everyone to look at their Rolodex, or customer database, and see how strong these relationships are. He suggested looking at each and every customer and asking yourself: “How well do I know them?” “Do I know their birthdays?” “Do they know mine?” “What about family names, personal interests and organizations?” And then, look at their decision-making power and position in the company. Hunsaker urged everyone to go home and create customer profiles, complete with each contact’s personal bio and information on their company.

To build a lasting relationship with your advertisers, you need to create relationships not only with your specific client, but the whole company. Hunsaker suggested going through the receptionist, just like the old days, and creating a good rapport with her and other gatekeepers. You can get a lot of information from gatekeepers so you don’t have to bother the decision maker with too many questions. Also, do you know the next person to take over? The young up-comer? As Hunsaker says, he is probably the one doing all the work with little-to-no credit, and is the next in line, so don’t ignore him. Build a relationship with him as well, and you’ll have a sustainable business after he takes over.

Hunsaker also encouraged the old tradition of gifting your advertiser. In the old days of schmooze, holiday presents were a no-brainer. But now, as the economy is in continual decline, presents are few and far between. Embrace this tradition and you’ll really standout in your advertiser’s mind (adding that everyone always love liquor).

Another way to build relationship and grab an advertiser’s attention is to bring the customer to them. Before calling on your local real estate agent or automotive dealer, survey your colleagues, family and friends and see if anyone is in the market for a new house or car. Approach your advertiser by saying I have a friend who is looking to buy, and they will stop and listen. Bring the client something they want, you’ll get a moment — or more — of their time.

Also, you’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again, find out what your clients are interested in and join them. From associations and charities to college alumni boards. Appealing to an advertiser’s personal interests will endear you to them. Hunsaker encouraged getting involved in a big way — join the boards, these are the “big wigs,” the decision makers.

Converting Marketing to Sales

Hunsaker also cover Mr. Schmooze’s Four P’s, saying find one of these P’s and convert it into a sale:

Profit — Find the profit and bring it to your advertiser.

Problem — Solve your advertiser’s problems; talk to them, ask questions to discover what they perceive as the real issues and offer them a solution.

Power — As Hunsaker said, he just like’s the number 4 and the letter P, so he threw this one in there, but who doesn’t like power? Helping to give power to your advertisers is a great technique to achieve a sale, but not often the best or most common method.

Passion — Connect with your advertiser’s passions

Maximize FDO’s (Food and Drink Opportunities)

Another throwback to the old days of schmooze, but embrace the food and drink opportunities. This is great way to build a personal relationship with your client and gives you the opportunity to really listen to them, their needs. This time is not about selling — don’t mention your product! Just have personal conversations and be sure to follow up with something significant. For instance, if a client mentions they’re planning to travel, send them travel advice or a special deal to help them on their way. If they expressed worry about their kid’s soccer deals — send them a link to local soccer camps. Being involved in your client’s life in a personal way by offering them advice and solutions on all fronts is the key to building strong and lasting relationships. Remember, schmoozing is a lot of work; but the busier you get, the more money you’ll make.