10 Ways to Close 2020 Sales Strong (Part One)

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What a crazy year it’s been. It seems like it was March just yesterday, and we were talking about helping our advertisers survive the first COVID lockdown.

But we’re moving into that time of year when we need to close out 2020 sales in as strong of a way as possible. And we also need to be looking at 2021. So what are we going to do in the remainder of 2020 to close more media sales deals as we roll into the New Year, and close them faster?

Here are 10 time-tested ideas I teach to my ad sales training clients that work for me.


1. Present Options and Recommendations in the First Sales Meeting

I’ve said this before, but I want to reinforce this simple fact: the conversion rate is 70% higher when you recommend a product. But Ryan, how do I show them a proposal when I don’t know that they want? Easy. They want new customers. Stop making it so complex.

Now, in some instances, I get it, you might have 40+ options for them to choose from. It’s hard enough to get a meeting as it is – much less have to schedule a meeting, go to discovery, leave to create a proposal, track the person down, come back, and present the proposal.

So when I’m on that first sales call, I’m ready to present options based on my knowledge of others before them in their category. I’m ready to make recommendations and show some proposed pricing options on the spot. After hearing the client, I can always modify what I brought to the meeting. But being prepared to offer recommendations at that first meeting is a core piece of my media sales training classes that is often overlooked.


2. Use Research to Your Advantage

If you want to move from ‘transactional selling’ that has been necessary during COVID to ‘relational selling’, you’ve got to use research to connect more deeply with customers. I use a few different tools to do this.

LinkedIn is one obvious example, especially combined with LinkedIn Sales Navigator. I’m also using a Chrome extension called Crystal Knows (www.crystalknows.com). With this extension, the website does virtual personality profiling. Synching with LinkedIn when you’re in Chrome, the extension pulls up personality profiles and traits of the people you’re looking at. This tool is not free, but it’s not expensive, either. And I use it all the time.

Connecting more deeply with media clients is called building “quick trust.” And “quick trust” must be built within the first 5-10 seconds. You’re going to do that most effectively by having more information on the customer, their company, etc. While I realize this is kind of 101, are you actually doing it? Professionals prepare for every sales call and connection. Amateurs wing it.


3. Ask Better Questions

Your questions simply have to be better. Some of the main questions I hear you ask drive me nuts: “Tell me more about your business,” “What keeps you up at night?” or “What’s your budget?” C’mon, you’re better than that. We DO need to ask those questions, but set yourself apart from other salespeople by asking them in a more vibrant way.

  • “When you agreed to meet with me, what business challenge or problem were you hoping that I could help you solve?”
  • “If I could give you a magic wand that you wave, what business challenge could I help you solve?”
  • “When you think about competing here in our community or others in your competitive set, do you want to be seen as having some sort of a presence out there? Do you want to be competitive? Or do you want to be dominant?”
  • “If everything went perfectly with your marketing campaign with me, what would the perfect end result be for you?” Or, more simply, “If I’m going to keep you for a lifetime as a customer, what do I need to do?”

These simple changes to my ad sales training program has really helped my clients. I think those are all better questions than just, “What keeps you up at night?”


4. Prepare Yourself to Talk About COVID Delays

Delays are happening a lot right now. People are delaying, so you need to be prepared to talk about it. What I’d recommend is this: think about the most common objections you’re going to get on one side of a piece of paper. Then, on the other side jot down what your answers are going to be. Be prepared for delays. Ad sales training is a constant pursuit that you must work on every day.


5. Revamp Your Proposal

You’ve got to think about revamping your proposal based upon the research I hit on before. Let me give you two tidbits that might help motivate you to do this.

From our 360 Ad Sales research, when we looked at 100 different proposals, we found that 79% of our test users simply scanned the proposal — and only 16% actually read it. So I think we media sales pros need to remove about 50% of the text from our proposals.

Another telling find in our research is that nearly all of the most successful businesses we looked at had proposals that presented three pricing options. In addition, all of these successful businesses used proposals that were full of pictures and a wealth of examples shown in pictorial format.


Make sure to come back next week for sales tips #6-10. Find out how you can do things differently and stand out among others in your field. See how you can close out 2020 with a BANG!

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Ryan Dohrn is an award-winning ad sales training coach, a nationally recognized internet sales consultant and in international motivational speaker. He is the author of the best-selling ad sales book, Selling Backwards.  He is the President and founder of Brain Swell Media and 360 Ad Sales Training, a boutique ad sales training and sales coaching firm with a detailed focus on ad sales training, internet consulting and media revenue generation. Ryan is also the Publisher of Sales Training World.