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Selling to the Sunday Morning CEO, Part 2Second of a three-part series
This is Part 2 of a 3-part series. To read Part 1, please click here.
Recognize the Passion
Historically, evangelical assemblies have been the quickest to accept multimedia technology for enhancing the worship experience. They often view giant screens and contemporary music as the key to drawing in youth and un-churched singles and families. If you can help them get their message out in a way that speaks clearly to the masses, they will find the funds to make it happen. Yet as with an avid home theater shopper, you are dealing with their personal money. Church buying is not like some faceless corporation making a capital expenditure or a school spending its educational budget using taxpayer dollars. It may be as personal an experience for the church as for you buying your next new car. After all, the media funds are likely coming from the same pockets of those making the decision to use your firm.
When a church finally decides to launch or expand its media ministry, it is probably with much thought, discussion, and prayer. Being sensitive to this and recognizing the passion and personal convictions behind the purchase will help you appreciate some of the twists, turns, and delays on this proverbial road to fruitfulness.
Buying Cycles and Seasons
Two factors characterizing any vertical market are the buying cycle and seasonal trends. Churches can take these to the extreme. I have seen more than a few projects drag across a couple of years. One friend made the analogy of planting seeds and waiting for the harvest, and waiting, and waiting. The gestation period for your typical church order is easily 6 to 12 months, or much longer when new construction is involved. This takes me back to the previously mentioned prerequisites of persistence and patience. Be sure everyone in your organization understands this reality before delving deeper into the market. Without a long-term approach and commitment to your prospects, you may be wasting more than time.
As for the seasons with Christianity-based denominations, there are mainly two: Christmas and Easter. There are exceptions, of course, especially with new construction or a church school program. However, the majority of church planning revolves around those two high holidays. The key dates to get things done are before Thanksgiving, mid-January through early March, and possibly during early summer. Because church staff members tend to be overstretched during the holiday periods, plan accordingly.
Coming soon: Part 3 ? Create a Plan.
Kevin C. Barlow is a regional sales manager with Sharp Electronics. He has been involved with professional sales, marketing, training, and systems design in the AV industry since 1985.
Related Keywords:evangelical assemblies, multimedia technology, worship, giant screens, Sunday morning CEO