My eleven-year-old son is blowing up a balloon. I can see what is going to happen. I know there is an explosion looming. I have heard balloons pop hundreds of times in my life yet, as the balloon nears the verge of popping, I cannot help but cringe at the thought of the inescapable pop. My eyes tighten a bit. I slightly turn my head and then…
POP! Don’t you hate it? I sure do. Think of this example when visualizing a sales call and lets explore how you can stop the pop! No matter the length of your sales career, you need this type of ad sales training to maximize your potential.
So you get a sales call booked with a prospect. Awesome. You show up. You exchange some pleasantries about the weather or a national news event. Then you take a deep breath and present all you have to offer. This happens every day in the media business. What is interesting to me as a sales coach is to watch an advertiser start out on the edge of their chair and then sit back further and further as the sales person rambles on and on about the great marketing options they have to grow the advertiser’s business. The expression on the advertiser’s face almost looks like the face that would be made by a person watching a balloon about to explode.
Here is the problem… most sales reps go through some type of ad sales training. Armed with their new pitch, they show up and then blow up! Some sales trainers call this showing up and throwing up. I am trying to not only remove vomit from the equation but also bring the point across that “presenting” or “pitching” is much like blowing up a balloon. How much hot air can you put out on a sales call before the sales balloon pops? I teach “How To Stop the P.O.P.” to illustrate a point.
The first “P” stands for prepare. Even if you have been selling 25 years, preparation is critical to your success. Did you research the prospect via Google, LinkedIn or Facebook? What do you know about them personally and professionally? You have exactly 7.5 seconds to connect with your prospect. I look for “non-creepy” information in many places online before I make a sales call. I want to find points of interest we share. I am looking for past business connections. Or, I am looking for new products and services that they offer. My goal is to be VERY relevant! Generic sales people are quick to be dismissed. Advertisers seek the expertise of their sales representative.
The “O” in the acronym P.O.P. stands for opportunity. You need to quickly identify what problems your advertiser has, and then determine what marketing opportunities you can offer that will solve their problems. The only way to do this is to ask great questions; not questions to start a conversation, but questions with a purpose. Questions like, “If I could bring you even one new client, what would that mean to you?” It is only after you identify their problems that you can present solutions that help them. I call these my 10 Critical Sales Questions. What are yours? The worst question ever on a sales call is “Can you tell me about your goals?” This question is too vague. You want to be more relevant. Ask about specific products, promotions or ideas.
The last “P” stands for patience. There are two points here: first, in a world where advertisers have more options than ever before, you need to be patient and find out what you have in your tool kit that will solve their problem or bring them the happiness they desire as a business owner. In addition, after you present the proposal, you need to understand that you are not a priority to them. It’s not that what you have to offer is bad, irrelevant or insignificant; it’s just not a priority to the advertiser. So, on the sales call, it is imperative that you identify their “pain points” and you work hard to make those points of pain go away. This may even take more than one sales call.
Second, be patience once you have presented the proposal. If possible, I would try to use a package approach on the sales call to eliminate the post-sales call proposal. But that is not always an option. Due to peoples’ hectic schedule, it may take as many as 10 follow-up touches to get them to sign on the dotted line. One way to avoid this is to set a time to review the proposal before you leave the sales call. But, even if you do that, it often happens that a client will say, “Oh yeah, sorry. I have been so busy this week, I forgot to get back with you.” No sales trick in the book will help you be a higher priority than your clients’ actual business. So, having patience and being persistent will almost always win out.
Ok, lets bring this ad sales training full circle and to the final points. Rather than just show up for a client meeting and blow up the proverbial balloon to a Pop! you need to do the following:
1. Prepare so that you can be relevant. Don’t be generic. 2. Seek to find out the clients’ problems and offer marketing solutions to fix them. 3. Be patient and persistent in the final steps of the sales process.
Stop the POP!
About this blogger: Ryan Dohrn is an award winning ad sales training coach, a nationally recognized internet sales consultant, international business speaker and is the President and founder of 360 Ad Sales Training, a boutique internet revenue consulting firm with a detailed focus on ad sales training, internet consulting and media revenue generation. Internet consultant and business speaker Ryan Dohrn travels the globe teaching media sales training classes and offers detailed coaching help to business owners and media companies looking to make money online.
Ryan R. Dohrn
360 Ad Sales Training and Strategy
Brain Swell Media LLC
Follow him on Twitter.com/ryandohrn