The sales proposal even an agency can love
Groan. A radio sales rep is dropping by my office with a proposal for one of our clients. I really happen to like this guy and the groan is not directed toward him; it’s his damn sales proposals—they’re train wrecks! Maybe you’ll recognize the said proposal: It begins with the title page that reads “outstanding partnership with KXXX-FM and (here’s my favorite part) either my agency’s logo or the logo of the client (in either case, lifted and cut from the Internet, and pasted in a distorted fashion on the cover of the document). Nice touch. Turn the page and you’ll find the name of the event in search of a title sponsor that could be yours for $6 million and some trade! By this point, the sales assistant or NTR director has misspelled at least six words and substituted “it’s” instead of “its” at least once. Love the clip art, by the way—classy.
Perhaps I’m being a tad sharp here, but isn’t image everything? Your sales reps arrive early, are energetic, and are ready to produce; why do you let them out of your building with second-rate proposals? Your second-rate proposal is circulated around the agency and often provided to the client. How would you like to be perceived?
A few thoughts on creating sales proposals for agencies and clients:
a). Client’s logos are part of their brands. They spend enormous amounts of money to perfect these logos. Try not to cut and paste a grainy, low-res version of a logo that’s not yours onto your proposal. Use a sharper image or no image at all. And, don’t distort it!
b). Spell check? Grammar?
c). Every proposal that comes across my desk includes the same picture of crowds enjoying last year’s event. Change it up a bit. Find a really compelling image to use. Since pictures speak louder than words, make sure your station photographer is taking the “money shot.”
d). Don’t just sell your NTR inventory, present a package that will be meaningful to the client (or agency). And remember, agencies love to look good in front of clients. Bring your best, most creative idea to the table—it will make everyone involved look good.
e). Show value and you’ll win. Please don’t ask my client to drop $20,000 to have their name associated with five others in a promo that will rotate 40 times the week prior to the event. And please use “cost:” rather than “investment:” $20,000. (Everyone sees through that one!)
f). Not everything needs to be italicized OR WRITTEN IN
ALL CAPS! (WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT ME???) And, it’s really cool that you have this particular font, but it blows. And nobody likes this typeface either!
Just for fun, I’ve made a few grammatical errors throughout today’s post for your reading pleasure. But, I really hope this advice helps you close a sale this week. Just know that I’m rooting for you.
As always, I welcome your thoughts. Please e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter @BobKnightAdMan
Next week: The agency’s love/hate relationship with the PPM
Bob Knight is Vice President, Advertising and Digital Media with Harrison Edwards PR & Marketing in New York and oversees the company’s advertising and HEdigital divisions, which include podcasting, webcasting, blogging; and print, electronic, and broadcast advertising and media buying. Prior to joining Harrison Edwards in 2005, Bob worked for some of the nation’s largest broadcasting companies, successfully developing programming in some of the most competitive markets including Chicago and San Francisco; his stations and shows were consistently top-rated. In addition to Bob’s work as program director and on-air personality at AMFM, Inc., Clear Channel Communications, Citadel Broadcasting, Entercom, and NextMedia Group, he served as a consultant to Internet radio stations during the dot com boom. Bob’s national and regional radio commercials have won a Gold Clarion Award (
AWC) and Gold “Big W” Awards (Ad Club) for commercials he produced. In 2008, Bob was named a “Rising Star Forty Under Forty” by the Business Council of Westchester and is a graduate of Leadership Westchester (Class of 2009).