So this was my Saturday: In the morning I went to to play racquetball. I realized I could beat the college students–who are faster and quicker than I am–because they are always trying to rush the ball, running wildly all over the court, instead of paying attention to where the ball is headed.
Later that day, I settled in to watched my favorite baseball team, the SF Giants. The batter from the opposing team popped the ball high into the air, but our outfielder didn’t rush the ball as you might expect. Instead, he focused on the route of the ball, ultimately catching it. Any baseball pro will tell you that tracking fly balls is about getting a good read on the ball first, then choosing the best route, then moving efficiently in order to position yourself correctly for the throw.
So why am I telling you all this? Because these two examples reminded me that in media ad sales, we get that one positive call from a prospect and just rush into it, often without a clear protocol in place to successfully make the deal.
Here’s my 5 tips to winning in the sales game:
1. First, slow down and focus when you get a prospect coming your way. Get that initial read.
2. Have a protocol in place, then determine the approach you want to take with this client, this time. How big is this client, for example? How much time do you want to devote to this one deal? Do they know what you can do for them for the long-term? After you have the answers, move forward in a way that best serves both your magazine and your client.
3. Integrate, integrate, integrate. Customize your ad clients’ media packages based on their current and possible future needs. You also need to anticipate and resolve their pain points–even ones they may not know they have. Here’s some tips from sales expert Nancy O’Brien: Putting it all together: Integrated ad proposal perfection
4. Avoid being reactive. Instead, develop detailed action steps for each stage of the sale. It’s so tempting to just jump on a proposal quickly when you receive initial interest from a prospect because your have your monthly sales goals to hit and a deadline to make. But you lose control of the whole sales process that way. Plus there may be other big proposals you should be working on.
5. Recognize that as an ad salesperson, you may not have control of a lot of things, but you do have control over your own approach and process. It all starts with you.
So next time you get a hot lead, take the practiced approach instead of the pounce!
More about Carl: Carl Landau is Grand Poobah of Niche Media. He is a media/event guru, SF Giants fan and part-time blogger. His 15 minutes of fame took place in the mid-eighties when he launched his famous, “Buy an Ad, Get a Cat” ad campaign. He has long since patched things up with the SPCA.
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! Check out the Niche Digital Conference in Denver, Sept. 19-21!