How to Sell Value — and Win Business

How to Sell Value — and Win Business

The art of successful media sales simply looks different in 2024. But it can be different in a good way if you truly understand what it is you’re selling.

Consider this: there’s value in every single sales interaction you attempt. You might be thinking, “Is there?” – because maybe you’re not getting replies to emails, not getting your connection requests accepted on LinkedIn, not hearing back from people about proposals you sent.

So what do you do? Let me share some invaluable ad sales training advice here.

Stop and think about another question: What value am I, as a salesperson, giving to the person on the other end that would cause them to reply?

Now there’s a reason that hundreds of you in any given week will watch my media sales training videos and listen to the podcast. In some cases, thousands of you are tuning in to various episodes. And here’s why I think that is so: I believe that I’m putting out content of value for you. If there wasn’t value in the content, you wouldn’t subscribe to the newsletter, listen to the podcast or watch the videos.

You must be tuning in because you’re finding value – because I’m a little bit funny and hopefully entertaining, but not that funny. I do, however, have information that’s of value to you … information that can help you succeed in your media sales journey.

So, as you work to get your clients’ ad sales business in 2024, you’ve got to be asking yourself things like, “What value is in this email that would cause someone to reply?”

The initial meeting request

Let’s take a look at what may typically happen when you want to book a meeting with a prospect or client. Maybe you reach out to them and say, “Hey, Bob, I’d love to talk with you about your 2024 marketing plans and to discuss planning, creative and those types of things. Email me back.”

Now, if Bob knows you, great, your approach could potentially work. But if Bob doesn’t know you, there’s really no value to him in replying to your meeting request.

So instead, in my media sales training, I suggest approaching it from this angle: stop and ask yourself what value someone will get by replying to a meeting request like this.

I suggest something like this instead: “Hey, Bob. I’ve got some marketing research and a competitive analysis that will really help you in planning your marketing for 2024. Love to chat about that.”

So when I put myself in Bob’s shoes, I would be thinking, “You’ve got marketing research. You’ve got a competitive analysis. Heck, yeah.” And then if I’m Bob I’d reply, because I want to see that information.

When you send a LinkedIn connection request – same thing. Ask yourself: What value will come to my prospect from accepting this LinkedIn connection request?

If you’re going to a trade show, same thing. What value will they receive in connecting with me after the trade show?

Sometimes I think all of us in the sales business believe we bring value to the equation just by showing up. Not so. We’ve got to ask ourselves what value our prospect will receive from engaging with us. What value will they receive from the interaction?

These are the types of vital questions I teach people to ask in my ad sales training — so that they can work smarter. Because if we want to be successful, we have to change the dynamic from a focus on price, potentially, to a focus on VALUE. And we have to lead our prospects or customers there.

Think through the customer needs assessment

Let’s talk about customer needs assessments, good old CNA’s.

What value will the customer receive from answering questions through a customer needs assessment?

If a customer needs assessment is designed for you as a salesperson, for your value, why would someone want to walk through it? After all, customer needs assessments should be valuable. And they should guide your client towards what they need to do, not what they want to do.

So there needs to be value in your customer or prospect sitting down and going through a customer needs assessment, just as there needs to be value in sitting through a meeting with you. There needs to be value in them calling you back. There needs to be value in the email that you’re sending.

Ask yourself: what value will this client receive? When they call me back, what value will they receive? If they reply to an email, accept or return a phone call, or reply to a meeting request – what value will they receive?

Value wins

When you sincerely ask yourself this question in each circumstance, it will help you wrap your head around how to get your customers and prospects to respond to your communications and meeting requests. And you’ll recognize that there’s value — or there should be value — in every sales connection.

A problem I’ve identified in my ad sales training with others is that a lot of times we are looking so intently at how to work smarter, not harder.

But what we really need to do is flip that thinking. We need to work really, really hard and be ridiculously smart in the process. Because we have to show our customers the value we can deliver to them by doing business with us.

At the end of the day, what we’re selling is value.

Friends, never forget. If sales was easy everybody would be doing it. Remember to ask yourself what value your customers are going to receive from engaging in a conversation with you.

Because once this question becomes a working part of your makeup and your strategy, guess what?

You’ll go further, faster, always.

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Ryan Dohrn is the creator of the 360 Ad Sales Training system and is a globally recognized media revenue consultant. Ryan actively sells print, digital, broadcast, event sponsorships, exhibit space and radio.