Challenger Selling is simply the re-booted and re-packaged Structured Selling process that made Ziff-Davis famous. By presenting a “challenge” that the customer is facing, like losing market share or missing sales, providing important information about that challenge, the sales person can better capture the attention of any prospect to engage them in a sales conversation that leads from the challenge — read their needs — to the solution being sold.
The time has come for the legitimate digital press and advertisers who want to maximize their ROI on advertising to organize the 21st century’s digital version of the Alliance for Audited Media.
Client-centric selling means building your sales argument from an agreed upon assumption. If the client or prospect doesn’t agree with the assumption that your persuasion is based upon, then why would they agree with your conclusion?
When you are selling advertising, start your conversation with your prospect by asserting what you know about their business, and what you believe they need. If you are right, they will agree and tell you more. If you are wrong, you need to know that. If you are well-prepared they will be impressed with your knowledge, and listen more attentively.
Research shows that persistence pays. Research targets were more likely to respond to requests affirmatively than expected by the requesters, and being told “no” by a target may increase their likelihood to say “yes” to the same request later.
Ziff-Davis is legendary in the magazine industry for it’s dedication to sales training and in particular for the structured selling approach it demanded of its sales people. Establishing shared agreement to a set of assumptions is the only way to persuade using logic. And logic, not likability, not sincerity, not guilt from accepted favors, is the only portable form of persuasion that allows a sales prospect to persuade their own superiors to support the purchase of media.
Getting ad-sales appointments for in-person or virtual meetings on the phone and/or online is the key first step. Without voice mail we’ll need new tactics.
Woody Allen said 80% of success is showing up. When it comes to successful media selling that is a good place to start. And it’s harder than ever to “show up.” Prospects don’t call back, or say they don’t need to see you. Client-side contacts say to see the agency who you already know hasn’t called back for weeks. How can you “show up” in our fiercely competitive world of media sales?
All this is a preamble to this simple point: You better have a really good message when you ask for an appointment. If it works, you’ll win more appointments and ultimately win more business. If your message is so-so, you and your property will stay in the mental “circular file.”
Attending and utilizing tradeshows for sales is a key skill for almost every kind of advertising sales person. If you sell national trade advertising, the trade shows in your industry are a key source of content and of leads, as well as a place to meet your prospects. If you sell local TV or radio or newspaper advertising attending the local “home-show” will be a source of leads and a great place to chat up potential customers.
Preparing and proposing an agenda at the beginning of the ad-sales conversation has many positive uses. Proposing an agenda for your meeting or conversation can be done on the phone or in person, and works in informal situations as well as in formal presentations.