What is “client-centric selling?” And why should you care? I know you are reading this because you want to become a more persuasive ad-sales person. Being client-centric leads to more and bigger sales. Being client centric means seeing the world through the clients’ eyes and understanding their objectives. It means bringing them information and opportunities that help them achieve their objectives, not yours.
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?
Achieving agreement on assumptions is the reason why many sales training approaches start with a needs analysis. The sales person is trained to ask questions about the prospect’s business situation in order to arrive at a list of marketing needs that can be agreed to, before making a proposal that meets those needs.
Too many advertising sales people short-cut or even skip the needs analysis because the are so excited about telling their prospect about the greatness of their media property. “We’re the biggest,” they say, or “We’re the most loved,” ad-sales presentations proclaim. This sales call is like a bad blind date. After extolling their media’s virtues, sales people finally ask, “What do you think about my property?”
We can learn how important it is to start with agreed assumptions by observing the impasse of political debate. Liberals fail to convince conservatives and visa versa. Conservatives are shocked that liberals can be so naive. And Liberals who pride themselves in logical agreement find it shocking that conservatives don’t agree with something so logical. But both are applying logic starting with differing assumptions. The New York Times published a story covering this phenomenon in 2015 referring to recent research published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin that documents the value of starting with assumptions your subject will agree upon.
So 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, your prospect will be impressed with your knowledge and listen more attentively. Then, on your shared agreement to assumptions — to your prospect’s needs — you can build your persuasion and your winning proposal.