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5 Winning Sales Strategies from Distribution Executives

Last week CEOs Jack Campbell (Jackrabbit Media) and Barrett Dungy (Urban Home Entertainment) joined Arjun Mendhi (MOLTEN) to share their tips for success at markets like AFM. Here are five strategies they shared with us, to succeed as a seller at AFM and in your general sales and marketing operations. 

View the full webinar.

1. Pay it forward

Several times in our pre-panel preparation session with Barrett and Jack they touched on the concept of buying dinner (or drinks) once at the market, and eating for years afterwards. 

Perhaps even more than buying or selling, your primary goal at the market should be to build relationships. Even on a shoestring budget, you should leave some money for the bar. The ROI of drinks or meals at popular market hangouts may even be greater than your attendance at the market itself. The connections you make at the market are the foundation of your business for years to come. 

Markets are also an invaluable opportunity to build your brand. Establishing yourself as a trustworthy will pay off in dividends. Both of our panelists shared that if a buyer approaches them with specific content in mind, and they know someone with a better fit, they won’t hesitate to send a buyer to another distributor. Why send business to your competitors? In Barrett’s words “I wouldn't give them a circle if they're looking for a square.” He explains that doing the groundwork to build trust with buyers was key to building the solid business that Urban Home Entertainment is today. 

Kindness and trust go a long way. Take the loss today and reap the benefits in the long run. 

2. Make the buyer’s job as easy as possible

Jack shares that his main goal when it comes to market operations is to make the buyer’s job as easy as possible by removing any barriers between his content and his buyers. Time is everything in a competitive marketplace, and any additional work or waiting time could lead to opportunity wasted. 

When you send your avails, if your buyer has to email you back to ask for screeners, and then wait for your reply, you might be losing out. Jack and Barrett use MOLTEN to send filtered avails with screeners, to make life easier for themselves and their buyers at AFM. 

3. Don’t share everything all at once

At the market, Barrett tends not to share more than ten titles with a buyer at one time. Rather than overwhelm a buyer with his entire catalog, he’ll share a small handful of avails, filtered down to the exact specifications his buyer is looking for. You only want to show your buyer exactly what they’re looking for. 

Not only does this help avoid buyer overwhelm, but touches on an even deeper psychological principle. Your buyer might feel comfortable walking away with four titles. Later in the market, another one of your sales reps might sell the same buyer another four titles from another avails sheet. By the end of the market, you’ve sold eight titles to the same buyer. It’s much easier to sell a buyer four titles two times, than it is to sell eight all at once. 

The trick is narrowing down your avails to a hyper specific degree of granularity, and the patience to play the long game.

4. Prepare and follow up

Though it may be obvious, preparation and follow up are key to driving business at AFM. Buyers come to the market with specific goals. Once they get the content they’re looking for, their business is done. It’s crucial to move quickly to get in front of buyers, and close deals. Our panelists both recommend booking your meetings in advance of the market, preparing your printed material, and filtering your avails sheets so that you have everything you need at the market. 

Jack Campbell shares a few specifics from his market strategy. Beforehand he’ll run an email marketing campaign to buyers at the market and set up meetings in advance using a calendar tool. Day one and two are carved out for his buyer meetings, but later in the market he may speak to sales agents or allow producers to stop by. Following the market he tracks his follow up activity on to stay organized and move quickly to close deals. 

5. Leave room for a wild card

While both panelists agree that you should arrive in Santa Monica with your important meetings scheduled, Barrett brought up an interesting strategy. Barrett recommends arriving with a calendar scheduled half-full. The other half, he recommends leaving open to the serendipity of the market. In his words, 

“The most important thing about these markets is having a strategy but also being fluid enough so you can receive things that you didn't even know that you needed in your future. 

The more markets you go to the more resources you get to actually win. It’s not just for making money, but actually building a foundation so you can survive in this market. That’s really what your goal should be.”

The Takeaway

There are two sides to preparing for the market. On one hand, you have physical preparedness: your documents, materials, avails, screeners, and content. This is where a state of the art platform like MOLTEN can be incredibly helpful. On the other hand, you have your personality, your mentality, your brand, your readiness to build relationships, and your being present at the right place at the right time at the market. 

Whether you’re interested in learning more about how Jack and Barrett leverage MOLTEN to win more business at markets like AFM, or simply in opening a conversation and building a relationship with MOLTEN in case there’s any time we can be helpful to you down the road, you’re more than welcome to schedule an introduction with us here. Like Barrett and Jack, we’re always open to new connections.