A famous proverb says, The more things change, the more they remain the same. But one thing that has not changed is that good selling remains good selling. Data dumps, even sexy looking multi-media ones to media planners and clients, do not an online advertising sale make. Never did. Never will.
In my presentation skill seminars with some of the top online companies, I am often blown away by the disparity in the quality of sales reps’ technical knowledge and their ability to communicate the power of their sites or services to advertisers.
Here are three of the biggest mistakes I see online reps make.
If you were at a party and someone new to you opened a conversation that way, your reaction (snickers aside) would probably be something like, “Whoa! I don’t think so!” Similarly, if you saw someone you wanted to know better, you probably wouldn’t use that line either. Yet, that’s the approach so many reps take with buyers on a sales call.
Too often one hears, “Thanks for having me in today to tell you about ‘X.'” Then, they launch into a description of the wonders of their site or services. For a women’s target for example, they review the growth of the Internet, the number of women on-line, how much they buy, their demographics, the various site buying options, etc. Several times a day, other reps walk in and dump similar facts and figures on the agency or ad director. Result? Buyers are confused and bored, not sold.
Back to that party. If, in fact, you wanted a date with someone new, you would more likely start a conversation that built some common ground and then move to an invitation to continue the relationship. My recommendation is that you do the same with advertisers.
Begin with their stated goal. For instance, “My understanding is that you want a successful product launch for new widget ABC.”
Re-cap their business situation:
“The good news is a) you’re a household name, b) this new product is really state of the art, and c) the potential market for it is huge.”
“However, the challenge is a) that your company is perceived as stodgy, b) your budget is not as big as you would like, and c) your window of opportunity is short before competitors jump in with a similar product.” Check that your assumptions are correct “Is that right?” or “Have I left anything out?” Bridge to your recommendation. “So, how can XYZwomen.com help?”
Now, figuratively speaking, invite them out! Present your answer to that question.
Imagine you’re taking off from Kennedy airport on a flight across country. Which of these two announcements would you prefer to hear from the pilot?
a) “We’re going to try to get you to San Francisco. The weather, we think, will be fine and, if all goes well, hopefully, we’ll arrive on time. Now, sit back and enjoy the ride.”
b) “We’re going to San Francisco this morning. The weather is fine and we expect to arrive on time. Now, sit back and enjoy the ride.”
Internet newbies have enough trouble understanding and getting comfortable with online advertising. Don’t inadvertently make them any more nervous than they already are about committing major bucks to your site.
Okay, now you’re on a three hour flight and you luck out. Instead of sitting next to someone’s grandmother or a screaming kid, you find yourself sitting next to what appears to be the person of your dreams. Yes! Until he/she opens their mouth.
For the next three hours, all they do is talk about themselves, what they do, what they think, what they are all about, what they like – a long three hours.
In selling, every time you say, “We have…,” “I think…,” “I want you to look at…,” “We can…,” you are behaving like that boring seatmate.
Very simply, instead of using “I” phrases, use “you” phrases. “You get…” “When you sponsor this site, you’ll find…” “Clients (like you is implicit) tell us they find this feature particularly useful because it gives them…”
Bottom-line, selling advertising online is not about you and your site. It’s about your advertisers and their needs. Use these tips the next time you are on a call to win big business.
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