I wish I could just say I was surprised when I go on an ad sales call with a client and they talk about their media product for the first 20 minutes of the ad sales meeting. I feel like it is a show and blow up moment. It is such a one sided conversation.
Why do sales people talk so much? In most cases it is either poor ad sales training or fear. Fear of silence perhaps? Mostly fear of not knowing what the outcome of the meeting should be before the meeting begins. They just do not have a playbook to follow. It is sort of like placing 11 football players on the field and telling them to simply go out for a pass. Every now and then you will score a touchdown, but most of the time you get beat by a better team with a plan.
I preach a lot about having an ad sales process and holding meetings that win business. Ad sales training is mostly about understanding that there are several ways to win a ball game, but which one will maximize your potential to win. I have found that most meetings that win business are centered around the advertiser and have very little to do with the media you are selling. Sure, that is an important factor, but the meeting must be about the advertiser and their needs. Their desires. The things that are meaningful to them like …. Making money. So, how do you get to that winning moment where you ask for the order? You must first ask some really great questions of the advertiser. You need to ask questions that other media sales people are not asking. You need to lead the advertiser to the point where they realize that they need you more than you need them.
Now, before we go on it is important to note that the questions you ask are not about creating a generic conversation to avoid awkward silence. Asking critical questions allows you to guide a conversation to a natural point where you can use what you learn and present options to fix the advertisers issues.
Here are 5 of my top 10 most critical sales questions every ad sales rep should know and ask on every sales call.
1. If we could create the perfect ad for you what would you want to happen from the ad? Please be specific.
2. How many times does a new customer of yours need to see your advertising message before they make a decision to do business with you?
3. What is one business issue that you are currently facing that you feel I might be able to help you fix?
4. What is the one thing you do better than your competitors?
5. What are the three main goals you are trying to accomplish with your
advertising? Be specific. How long have you been trying to reach these goals?
You can truly tell a lot about a person by the questions that they ask. Do you agree? So, for me, these questions serve a ton of purpose on the sales call. I want to ask questions that other sales reps are NOT asking. I want to ask supremely intelligent questions that guide the conversation to meaning conclusions.
So, what are your critical questions? If one of your go to questions is … “Tell me more about your business.”… try again!
Want to learn the other 5 of my 10 critical questions? Read my book Selling Backwards. It is available online at http://SellingBackwards.com