Better ad sales calls add up to more revenue for your niche magazine, but why do so many calls end in disaster? Recently I endured the Worst Sales Call of My Life, one so bad it drove me away from the company. It was for a service that I was really interested in checking out from a company I had done business with before – the perfect prospect, right? So how did it all go so wrong?
Now, I am not a sales person at all and don’t pretend to be (just ask the Niche Grand Poobah). But after the pain ended I realized that the call was so bad that it was a perfect example of what not to do and contained valuable lessons. Speaking for the sales prospects of the world, just follow these guidelines and we won’t run and hide when you call. (Want to see them in action? Check out the awesome little ad sales movie The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful!)
1. Do your client research and be prepared before you call. I know it sounds basic, but you can’t build a house without a solid foundation. Know the history of an existing client with your publication, or research a fresh prospect, before a sales call. If you are going to take your prospect/client on a tour of your new digital or print offerings, have everything set up before the call (rates, packages, list of URLs, sites open if doing a screen share, passwords ready, or whatever else you need) and know your product, packages, and examples backward and forward.
2. Ask leading questions to find out what your prospect is looking for or what your existing client would like to add (or what isn’t working). Really listen. Don’t be so eager to give that pitch you’ve been practicing in your head that you miss hearing what you client needs. This will help you to…
3. Focus on how your product will benefit the client, not just that you really want/want to keep them as a customer. If you asked good leading questions and did your homework, then you should be able to adjust your sales pitch on the fly to deliver maximum value to the prospect.
4. Be persistent about new products, but lead with the products that will deliver maximum value for your prospect/client. You don’t want your first impression to be mediocre value! If something is a long shot, save it for a quick pitch at the end. No matter how cool you think your new product is, if a prospect says it isn’t a good fit for their business, then move on to greener pastures.
5. Think about the future with prospect/client relationships! Don’t encourage time wasters who will never commit, but just because someone doesn’t advertise or upgrade to your new product this time around doesn’t mean they won’t in the future (or won’t share how awesome you are to others). If an existing client doesn’t take the upsell but wants to talk about maximizing return from what they already buy, then taking a little time with them goes a long way to building and maintaining your relationship with them for the future.
Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments!