Strength Weakness Opportunity Threat

Note: This is the final article in five week series explaining SWOT analysis and how it can be a useful tool for you to help both you and your clients understand their business. Keep in mind, SWOT cannot and should not replace the initial client needs analysis. A needs analysis helps you and your client understand IF there is a need that you can provide a solution for.

Congratulations! You’ve now proven to your client that you are a trusted business advisor who thinks strategically about what’s going to happen after what happens next. You’re not only concerned about what’s impacting their business today, but what needs to be done to ensure future success. And most importantly, you’ve helped your client realize that taking time to complete a SWOT analysis is crucial when it comes to identifying what’s working and what’s not – and which items need continued focus and improvement.

It’s true that in many aspects this is really NOT part of an ordinary salesperson’s primary job responsibility. Then again, how many of us really want to be considered “ordinary?” I certainly do not. Sales is becoming less about selling and more about building relationships. It’s about trust. You need to instill confidence in your clients that you understand their business and can offer solutions to their needs by making tactical recommendations.

SWOT is an advanced analysis tool. I’m certain that very few of your competing media counterparts are taking the time to sit down with their clients and evaluating their business via SWOT. Why? Because radio/television/outdoor reps are all about making a sale today and moving onto the next customer tomorrow. While this may work for some, I’m willing to bet these salespeople experience huge client churn every year. Constantly focusing on short-term gain and failing to think strategically about long-term sales success no longer cuts it. Don’t be one of the sheep…be a Sheppard.

Ok, so I promised to share what you can do with the findings of the SWOT analysis to assist you in making more sales and generating more revenue. Here it is — take the lists of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats you’ve generated with your client back to your office and use them to create a S.M.A.R.T Advertising Recommendation. Yup, another acronym – but this one is definitely worth remembering. Whenever you propose anything to any client, ask yourself – “Is this SMART?” Specific.Measurable. Achievable. Realistic. Time-bound.

Create a recommendation for your client to consider – something that will help them meet their business objectives – using the following guidelines:

1.      Define SPECIFIC objectives. Your objectives must produce tangible results. And one business goal may have multiple objectives.

2.      Decide how to MEASURE your objectives. Without consistent measurement standards, there’s no way to demonstrate success or failure.

3.      Discuss whether each objective is ACHIEVABLE and how it will be achieved. Each objective needs to have its own action plan.

4.      Do yourself a favor and be REALISTIC! As salespeople, we tend to sugarcoat things – but look at each objective to ensure it’s actually realistic.

5.      Develop a TIMELINE. Objectives should be time-bound with start and end dates to keep the plan on track.

When creating your proposal, each objective should take into consideration all of the SMART components. For example, if the mutually agreed upon goal of your local retail client is to “Increase store traffic for our monthly Clearance Sale” then you should transform this into the SMART objective of “Develop a newspaper marketing campaign, featuring creative with a specific call-to-action, targeting preferred customers within a 5-mile radius of the location, to run on the Wed/Thurs prior to the Clearance Sale kick-off on Saturday morning.” This ties in each of the SMART elements and demonstrates your ability to bring the recommendation full-circle to maximize results.

The Sales Cycle will be on hiatus next week. In the meantime I challenge you to call one of your closest clients and ask them if they’d consider sitting down with you to complete a SWOT analysis of their business. The ultimate goal is a better understanding of how the business operates and what changes could potentially take place to adapt to threats and capitalize on opportunities. In return, you gain a deeper relationship of trust and confidence with your customer, which can only lead to the reward of additional sales revenue in the future.

Have a terrific week,

If there are specific topics you’d like to see discussed in a future issue of The Sales Cycle, please contact me at 612-278-0223 or dan@mna.org