In this, our final article in our Selling to Agencies series, we’re going to address the fine art of “selling” to creatives and agency executives.
Why the quotation marks? Because the cardinal rule for these folks is that you never try to sell to them. Or at least not in the sense of trying to get them to commit to a buy on your site as a result of your meeting.
So, if you’re not there to pitch, what should you try to accomplish with creatives and suits? Once again, we come back to the need to understand their world and their day-to-day concerns.
The creative team is thinking about crafting messages that resonate with their target audience. To that end, they’re always looking for new and fresh information about what their audience cares about and how they respond. Especially in traditional agencies, they are not necessarily experts in what’s happening online, yet they are charged with developing creative that both brands and gets great click-through rates. Not an easy task.
What can you do to help? Provide them with up-to-the-minute, relevant information that is backed up by real data. Did your site just finish a great piece of research on how your market behaves online? Do you have an inside track on how various types of online ad vehicles impact brand awareness or click-through rates? These would be great reasons to suggest a meeting with the creative team.
Come armed with specific data to back up your conclusions. Bring samples of how your site has worked with similar clients to get great results (just to illustrate your points, of course no selling allowed!). You’ll establish yourself as a knowledgeable, professional resource.
And, while you are at it, make sure you make the media department look great. Make sure they know about the meeting and are invited to attend. Tell the creatives how helpful the media department has been in furthering your understanding of the client’s marketing objectives. Use the meeting as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with the people who make the day-to-day buying decisions.
The same is true and even more so when you are trying to get access to agency management and executives. This is best done when you truly have something of importance to share that could impact their ability to serve a major client effectively. As they do not often take meetings with reps, your chances of getting a hearing depends on your ability to offer them something of real value.
If you are able to get a meeting with these people, consider it a long-term investment in your relationship with the agency, as well as an opportunity to practice your best consultative selling skills. By focusing on their interests rather than on your short-term need to close some business, you’ll set yourself up effectively for the future.