This quarter we interview Neil Kavanaugh, the VP of Afternic Sales and Customer Service.
Q: Neil, please share your story at NameMedia with us! What brought you here?
I worked in Sales Management for nearly 7 years at the search engine Lycos.com during the exciting boom times of the Internet in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. It was a tremendous experience. I had the privilege of developing partnerships with exciting up-and-coming web companies as well as some of the world’s biggest brands.
After leaving Lycos.com, I knew I wanted to continue working within the online space. In late 2005, I received a call from a former colleague, inviting me to join him at NameMedia where he was just named CEO. I jumped at the opportunity, and nearly 8 years later, I’m thrilled to still be here driving our sales efforts.
Q: How does a typical domain broker’s day go at NameMedia?
Every one of our nearly 20 brokers works extremely hard. Our group is split into several teams, managing relationships with our various customers to sell our six million domains in inventory. Additionally, we have our Afternic Agent division, which assists companies who wish to purchase domains not currently listed for sale in the secondary market.
We are fortunate to have the most experienced and knowledgeable sales team in the industry. Our staff size allows for nearly 24/7 phone coverage to capitalize on the impulsive nature of the domain market. Our goal is always to answer every domain inquiry as promptly and aggressively as possible. As a result, being a broker here at NameMedia is not a 9-5 position. In fact, our sales team averages more than 60 hours a week logged into our call center. While it certainly can be a challenging job, the fact that we conduct $50 million+ in domain sales each year can also make it a very lucrative one.
Q: So, what are the main sources of leads your team handles?
Our primary lead source is the “for sale” link on the parked domain landing pages. Most people’s first instinct when looking for a specific domain name is to type it into a browser to see if it is available or being used. By placing a very clear “for sale” link at the top of the page, we make it extremely easy for that prospect to connect with a broker to discuss the availability and pricing on a specific domain.
Of course there are many other ways folks search for domain names, and we try to make certain we have all other channels covered as well. Be it through our extensive registrar and partner network, or our proprietary sales platforms, we try to be everywhere domains are searched for to offer the broadest possible lead funnel. Our strong relationships with small business focused registrars place us in front of the coveted end-user domain buyers. Combine this with our talented and experienced brokers, and it’s easy to see why we have a median sales price nearly double that of our nearest competitor.
Q: How exactly can the NameMedia brokerage team support an Afternic partner?
We have dedicated sales resources to service each of our partners, as well as those in our reseller network, to help our partners maximize premium domain revenue. If a reseller partner has a lead on a premium domain sale, one of our brokers can help them negotiate and close the sale. We can even provide premium domain sales for our partners by taking calls from their customers directly, either specifically for premium domains or during non-business hours. Every partner gets a dedicated domain sales account representative to ensure that they have a contact person at NameMedia.
Q: And what if the partner wishes to handles all inquiries in house?
We provide on-going training programs for our partners to teach them how to educate their customers and negotiate the sale of premium domains. We’ve trained reseller sales and customer service teams, and both typically experience double-digit sales increases when they train their internal teams using our best practices for premium domain sales.
Q: What’s your one crucial piece of advice for new partners and distributors getting into premium domains?
First and most important, use best practices when you add premium domains to your web site. Customers who use best practices sell on average 10-times more premium domains than customers who do not. Second, leverage your customer-facing teams, which should know how to talk with their customers about premium domains to improve user experience and increase revenue and profits. And lastly, talk with your NameMedia account manager to make sure you’re taking advantage of all the premium domains services that are available to you.