The other day during one of my sales calls about our performing arts program book management system I was asked a rather intriguing question. It kind of caught me off guard only because I guess I sometimes take our program book ad sales process and production department for granted. But as I thought about it more, it was a great question.
The call was with a fairly large organization. They have a large print run for several performing arts organizations all under one roof. I’m still in my fact finding stage with this organization so we’re still finding out about each other. But the question (or concern) they had was this—if we got the performing arts program book publishing business, would our current sales force and production department be able to handle the influx of additional work that would be needed to make sure they get their program books on time and as promised? Basically, did we have enough people for this large project?
And this is where I guess I take our program book advertising sales and production department for granted. You see, as I’ve mentioned before in some of my previous posts, everything we do here at Onstage Publications is based on systems. One of the greatest books I’ve ever read when starting my first company was the E-Myth by Michael Gerber. The concept of the book is that if you don’t set your business up with systems, similar to a franchised restaurant like McDonald’s has for everything they do, you will always be working IN your business and not ON your business. In other words, if you don’t have a system in place for everything your company does, you will always be in the weeds doing it yourself, even if you hire someone to help you. And on top of this, you will never grow the business. I followed the E-Myth method and we implemented a system for everything we did at that company, and now everything we do here at Onstage Publications.
A System For Everything
Just like McDonald’s has a french fry scoop to get the perfect amount of french fries every time, we have a program book management system to get the perfect amount of sales, the perfect amount of ad pages vs. content pages, and the perfect production line to get the perfect program book every time.
By implementing a system for our program book ad sales for example, we know exactly how many calls need to be made and how many proposals need to be sent, to get the exact target sales number that we’re looking for in any one of our markets.
On the flip side, our production department has a system that is followed methodically for every market so they know exactly when a publication needs to end sales, when it needs to be proofed out to the client, and when every ad sold needs to be collected so that it can get to the printer on time.
And we implement this same system across all our markets be it New York or California.
For example, when I walk in every morning, I can look at either our production department’s flat screen hanging on the wall to see what program books are going out that day and what’s coming up. I can then look over at our sales department’s flat screen hanging on the wall and see what markets we are selling in for that day, who’s working it, and everyone’s goal for the day. It’s a beautiful thing!
So, I can only imagine the vision that this person, or any new prospect for that matter, has about our performing arts program book advertising sales force and production department without ever stepping foot in our offices. They’re probably conjuring up an image in their head about the last time they were approached by a sales rep. Maybe they’re thinking about the local magazine or newspaper rep that called on them to see if their performing arts organization wanted to advertise in that particular publication. And if it’s anything like the calls I get, I have a pretty good idea how it went. Then perhaps they were thinking about the customer service part of it when they had to get their ad to that publisher and maybe what a nightmare that was. And this would certainly leave me skeptical as well!
As mentioned above, I’m just in my fact finding stage with this particular prospect right now. It might not go anywhere or it might convert, and I certainly hope it does. But because I’m also following a system for my own performing arts program book management system sales calls, I know exactly how many more of these conversations I need to have, how many more proposals I need to send out so that I too can achieve my goals I’ve set for myself. Good selling!