To stay abreast of the latest in ad sales training, I often listen in on other sales coaches to learn and observe. It seems to me that there sometimes seems to be a lack of common sense in what is being taught today.
For example, the entire idea that you need the perfect pitch or you need to perfect your pitch is so misguided that I am amazed that people still try and teach this approach to selling.
Pitching the product? Huh?
Ask yourself this… do you like it when a sales person pitches to YOU? If your answer is yes… seek help. If your answer is no (!), then you are pretty darn normal.
Advertisers are just normal people who are often confused by the blizzard of advertising options being presented. And often these options are presented by poorly trained ad sales people wanting to talk about the product features, advantages, benefits of their media offerings, then get to the soft close, then get to the hard close, blah, blah, blah. Don’t do this!
Most advertisers are information seekers. Sometimes they are not even sure exactly what they want. Plus they may not really know you or trust you enough to buy any of the media ideas you present.
Even the “no-brainer” ideas can seem complex and full of risk. So consider this… how about having a good old-fashioned (now novel again) face-to-face conversation with someone? Does that seem odd? Awkward compared to the comfortable canned sales pitch? It should NOT be. Having a quality conversation can be pretty simple and bring even better ad sales results.
First step: Put away your iPad sales presentation, cell phone and your media kit. Let’s just talk. Start by asking good questions.
Here are 3 great questions to ask that I teach in my sales training classes:
1. What advertising have you done in the past that worked for you? Why did it work? Why did it not work?
2. How many times do you think that a new customer of yours needs to see your marketing message before they decide to do business with you?
3. If you could paint a picture of the perfect customer, what would they look like? Be specific.
Good, thoughtful questions lead to good answers. Answers lead to follow-up questions. You need to listen carefully and respond accordingly.
But most sales people do not really listen, they just wait to pounce. Don’t do this!
Instead, weave in your product offerings as you have the conversation, when appropriate. Be genuine, be sincere and just talk. And what if you have a great conversation with a client and don’t close them?
Here’s my key point: When you engage in a great conversation filled with desired information and quality feedback, you ARE actually selling. You are providing a valuable service to your advertisers.
Here’s some homework…
-Come up with 10 critical questions to ask on every sales call.
-ALWAYS do some research beforehand so you can tailor your questions to the specific advertiser.
-STOP pitching and start hosting some great conversations.
Better conversations = Better relationships with your advertisers = Better ad sales
About this blogger: Ryan Dohrn is an award wining ad sales training coach, a nationally recognized internet sales consultant, international business speaker and is the President and founder of 360 Ad Sales Training, a boutique internet revenue consulting firm with a detailed focus on ad sales training, internet consulting and media revenue generation. Ryan teaches media sales training classes and offers detailed coaching help to business owners and media companies looking to make money online.
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