Selling digital media is different than selling other kinds of business services because agencies are involved and the final decision is public: all your competitors see you won the business when the ads will run.
Selling digital media, also, is more than a one-time sale; successful sales are repeated and the relationship grown year after year.
We will try to explain some suggestions for better selling digital media that aren’t very well addressed in most advertising sales training courses about selling digital media persuasion.
Whom shall I better get appointments with, for better selling digital media?
Buyers and planners are the decision makers, but they tend to decide to recommend what they think their boss or client wants. For this reason, if you make your first call to the Senior Managers, they are likely to refer you down to a lower manager. In this way, you’ll be making your first call to that lower manager as a “warm call” using the Senior Manager’s name as a reference. And you’ll have established a tenuous relationship you can nurture to keep the Senior Manager
informed of your progress, supply them with industry information, and eventually get them into the room when you make a presentation.
Deliver Value while calling for selling digital media, not propaganda
Senior executives require subordinates filling out comparative spreadsheets, not to see or hear a presentation claiming why one media would be any better than the competition. To engage and persuade them, you’ll then need to bring truly valuable information and perspective when calling on senior management of your customers and prospects. You will have to understand your prospects’ industry, the needs and competitive worries of your potential clients, so that you can make a presentation or open a discussion that leads to the top executives leaving the meeting feeling glad they took the time to meet. If you can discuss the “purchase process” or the “path to purchase” of your client’s customers and show where your medium fits into influencing that purchase process to increase sales, advertisers will be very interested in this non-selfish information, as it contributes to their market knowledge.
If you are selling digital media with Logic, your persuasion will be difficult to deny
In his authoritative book Influence: Science and Practice, Robert Cialdini, the foremost authority who has written about persuasion, lists 6 forms of persuasion, calling Logic, “commitment and consistency“.
When a sales presentation starts with easy-to-agree-with facts about the client’s market or customers, this provides an immediate engagement point in which you can ask the customer what he has to add: once the prospect has agreed to your “situation and needs” you have achieved the “commitment” that comes before “consistency”. The logic of “commitment and consistency” is the most powerful when trying to influence the spending on advertising. “Liking,’ and “reciprocation” work only temporarily and they aren’t portable: a media planner can’t tell his client or boss “I recommend this media because I like the rep,” nor can he point out that “I owe them a favour” because they brought gifts or entertainment, but they can communicate the logic of your argument, if it starts from an agreed upon set of assumptions.
Seek and welcome objections selling digital media, knowing how to handle them
During a sales call or a presentation, most clients and prospects listen politely, while thinking that they already have their opinion about this. They may wish to get you out of the office (or the line) as quickly and politely as possible and they know that if they tell you what they truly think, you’ll just argue with them and they will be delayed getting back to their work. So they nod, smile and say “thank you very much”, not telling you what they really think.
If you are reluctant to “raise a disadvantage”, you won’t ask for any objections from them and you won’t be able to handle them. You may even come back from calls telling thinking that it went well”, but then nothing happens, your prospect won’t get back on the phone, or even an answer to an email query.
The courage and ability to invite and handle objections are vital for effectively selling digital media. Objections are an opportunity, not a problem. If your prospect doesn’t express his/her worries about price, functionality or results, it means that he/she isn’t engaged in seriously evaluating the opportunity for purchase! Welcome Show your prospects’ questions or objections, take them very seriously in a way that makes them feel comfortable, not “wrong” or dumb.
Close your selling digital media on the Possible
Advertising purchase decisions are made in committees, at some point after the sales calls have occurred, maybe after RFPs have been issued and answered. Closing a sale requires a different set of skills. For this reason, knowing what to ask for to advance the sale is vital: if you can’t ask for the business, you can ask for action.
In the famous series of SPIN®-Selling sales books, you can find a detailed break-through understanding of what is required for selling success in a multi-step
sales process, like selling digital media advertising, large scale technology solutions or business services: in all these cases you have to sell first to a point person,
perhaps even a gatekeeper, then to others in the organisation, and possibly to a committee.
In SPIN®-Selling you’ll learn how to distinguish between “good calls” where the prospect agrees to keep talking, to “stay in touch,” and the ones in which he/she may invite you to “check back,” which merely puts you in the same boat as all the other competitors.
You should know to “close on” a promise from your contact to commit to something that is within their power and that represents an advancement toward a sale, not asking for a commitment the prospect can’t give. To assure an advancement towards a sale, your prospect contact should either provide some valuable information, not shared with other competitors, or set up another meeting that will offer you an opportunity to keep selling at a higher level or to the entire decision-committee or get your contact to tell you exactly what needs to be in the RFP response to assure winning the business.
If you’d like to challenge your techniques for selling digital media with a new job, check all digital media sales jobs and apply: your new career may be just around the corner!