I had something entirely different in mind to write about when I woke up this morning. However, late this afternoon, at 4:12pm to be exact, I received an email from a media buyer which made me change my mind about what to write.
“Hello, Dave” it started out. “I am with XXX agency and I am writing on behalf of XXX company, as I would like to get some quick rate information from you for XXX station,” it continued, innocently enough. “This buy could start as early as March and could go as long as through December. We often run 2 weeks per month but could buy up to four. Our primary demo is Adults 25-54 and our secondary demo is Men 25-54. We run 30’s and 15’s and use all day parts except overnights.”
Appreciate the vague information, what else can I do for you?
“Could you please send me rates and ratings for our primary and secondary demos for XXX station as well as any others in your cluster? I will also need you to send me station maps. Please be sure to see the attached information which explains our required added value. I am not yet sure of budget or CPP goals, but they are in the process of determining, so if I can get this information back this afternoon, I would appreciate it.”
Immediately, my mind cut to Wayne Campbell in Wayne’s World, “Exsqueeze me? Baking powder?”
You sent me an email at 4:12pm and expect it back “this afternoon?” Forget the fact that you want me to do all of this without some of the most important information I would need to really put it together, but this is going to take some time to gather with all the various ways you are asking to see it. And then, my favorite, the required added value!
Just once, I’d like to try the “required added value play” with the electric company. “Yes, I’d like to use and pay for electricity, but so you know, I’ll require some added value with that.”
So, what did I do? I did what most all of you would’ve done if in the same situation. I stayed at my desk until 6:30pm putting the numbers together to get them over as soon as I could. But, truthfully, I hate myself for doing it. Mostly because I know darn-well they didn’t need those numbers “this afternoon.” This is a textbook move by a media buyer, but just in case this is the one time out of a thousand that they really are going to make a quick buy, I figured I better not take the chance.
We deal with things like this a lot. Things other companies or industries don’t ever have to deal with. Recently I overheard a client complaining about having to fill out paperwork in order to establish credit and not be cash-in-advance. I wondered what other businesses he was dealing with where he didn’t want to fill out paperwork, but did want to “pay later.” Does he walk in to the bank and say he’d like to take out a loan, but really prefers they just trust him, rather than deal with all of that paperwork?
I had an auto dealer client once who liked to play the “if you don’t trust me to honor my commitment, maybe we shouldn’t do business together” card to avoid signing any agreements. He expected to pay on credit and expected to not have to sign a commitment whenever he bought from us.
Oh, the irony of a person in the auto business not wanting to sign anything.
In a lot of these cases, we’ve become our own worst enemy by always replying quickly to the rate requests, or by going-to-bat for a company to get credit when we really don’t know anything about their business or financial situation (no matter how it may appear) or let the auto dealer think our business should run any differently than theirs.
Not caving in to things, as a general rule, will always put us in a better position to negotiate and to get full value for what we are selling. Even if we do have to put in a little something extra for the “required added value.”