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.
You might think that a super-star like Heismen Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers would just go to a meeting and clients would through money at him. But as the group discussed how to break new accounts and build the relationships and trust that leads to business, Johnny pointed out that in his experience it takes 7 “touches” to build a relationship to be ready to do business.
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.”
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.
Your customers have little time for you because they are under so much pressure to be productive. Only if you add value to their day, every time you meet, will you win time with them to build the relationship that gives you a leg up in the competition.
Open the Mind w keyThat is why I loved seeing new research on now b2b buyers separate winners from losers. The research directly supports the ambro.com Strategic Sales Tactics Training for advertising sales that we teach in customized form for media companies and publically through the Masters of Media Selling seminars with MediaPost.
If you are not providing leadership to your customers you will be relegated to the commodity media file. You’ll be the company that occasionally receives business when it suits your customer-base. On the other hand, as a leadership media company you’ll drive new business, win greater market share, and expand your market.
Smart advertising sales managers know that they can’t skip selling to the ad agencies and media buying services, but they must never forget where the power is; at the client. And getting client appointments is harder and more valuable than ever.
What gets the attention of clients? Certainly it’s not your circulation or your demographics. That is what they pay agencies to put in to spreadsheets. In order to be successful working at the highest level of advertising media decision making, at the client, you need to be adding value by contributing to their understanding of how customers make purchase decisions to buy their products. If you bring value to keeping up with the changing habits of buyers you will always be welcome in the executive suites of your advertising media customers.
It is the Path to Purchase that is intriguing to customers. It is not simple, rather it is nuanced. It is not static, but rather is changing with the changing media consumption patterns of consumers and business buyers.
If you view advertising sales as a purely transactional business, you won’t be building competitive advantage. When you invest in the three practices above your competitive advantage will build – one customer and one individual relationship at a time. Then, over time, your sales team will notice that they are more likely to get calls and emails returned and you win the close calls on business that might have gone to your competitor. You’ll win more renewal-business, meaning your new business wins can build the business rather than put you on a treadmill of win-lose-win-lose.
Sales people must seek out the objections, starting with the price objection, to make sure the prospective understands your value proposition. If your customer has a hidden price objection, thinking there are less expensive ways to accomplish what your medium offers, it is often because they don’t properly value the media you are selling. So it is critical that your sales people are trained to probe for objections and to handle objections with all the skill you can help them develop.
The objective for the 10-minute sales call should be clear; to get the client to agree that there is enough interest to schedule more time. You’ll either get the extra time on the spot or get another meeting scheduled with proper time.