Use Change as Your Sales Ally
No advertising agency, nor ad director, nor company owner, will ever say to you, “You worked really hard to win our business last year, and we made a mistake by not buying your magazine (or web site or tv station).” Every media plan is presented to management as “the optimum buy.” So how can you go about your renewed selling efforts to win the business this year? Focus on how things are changing.
When you can bring perspective or data to your sales prospects regarding how their market or their competition is changing, you will be bringing them value. But most important, you’ll be giving them psychological cover to change their own minds. They will never say “you were right last year,” but they might say, “things have changed, so I’m going to recommend (or buy) you this year.”
Change is everywhere. You can see it among competitors in any market of your advertisers target audience and in the readers your media serves. Any change you can identify and with which your prospects agree will help spark the conversation and give you an opportunity to initiate a discussion about what other market changes the prospects are seeing and how they are adapting to it. Are the competitors of your prospect introducing new products or altering their products or services? Are the retailers or points of distribution changing? Are customers changing the way they gather information to make purchasing decisions or are they changing what product features or benefits they care about?
In a perfect world, you would have a multi-year study on your market that would allow you to point to the year-to-year or decade-to-decade changes in what, or how, customers are buying. But we don’t sell in a perfect world.
It is more likely you need to find your material the old fashioned way by reading trade publications, on and off-line, and being just plain observant. In the marketing world, here are two interesting sources that continually publish aggregated research that may give you a good places to start: Center for Media Research and Marketing Charts.
Whether you sell local ads to restaurants, multimillion dollar multimedia packages to major national advertisers, or national ads to hobby product companies, every year you are challenged to find new clients and persuade them to change their spending. It rarely works to tell them they have been wrong…however nicely. It frequently works to show them how things have changed, and how they can make that change their opportunity. That will make change your opportunity too.