At The End Of The Day
Business is funny. We want to say what we mean, but it is contingent on the relationship we have with the person we're communicating with. As trust develops, conversation becomes more candid. Ultimately, this is the most efficient way to get things accomplished.
When calling on a client, you start from a distance and move closer with each piece of content exchanged. Emails, letters, phone calls and face-to-face conversations plant seeds of trust en route to "making commerce." As sellers, we tend to forget buyers have to spend their client's money. Their biggest fear is looking bad when doing so. So they choose vendors that deliver their desired target audience, and those they can trust.
So why does it feel so hard to win new business? You have the right vehicle and can be trusted. What's blocking that message from being heard?
It has to do with the choices you make before you pick up the phone or send an email. Did you print out an account list of advertisers you have chosen to win? If you don't, then you're hunting in a territory staked by a CRM program. I have never been hunting, so I have less advice to offer, other than to pick five non-running accounts from the pack and write them down.
Now, why are these accounts right for your property? If your answer starts with "our brand," start over. Doug Weaver, a media sales consultant, encourages his students to "lead with needs." If you are going to weave your brand into your pitch, the "why you" answer should start with the problem you are solving for the client.
If your answer to "why you" includes the mention of a competitor, keep it to yourself. If a buyer ran with your competition, it never has to be brought up. Further, like a face card in blackjack, you have to assume a level of trust has grown between this buyer, the client and your competition, so don't toss a single pebble at that decision.
To sell a buyer on why a new advertiser should become an old one, you have to sell yourself on the reason why. Too often, we sell ourselves on the effort needed by focusing on our own needs. (This account will get me to my quota. After all the entertaining I've done, I should get this business. Or, we mistakenly lead with what over why--"our Interstitials can be behaviorally targeted.")
To truly sell yourself, you have to identify what communication issues the advertiser is having and how your property can alleviate them. Arriving at that answer is not easy. It takes deliberation, research and creativity. If you don't do it, someone else will.
Days may end, but conversations don't have to. Spend your efforts establishing trust on accounts you know why you should win. Then, when you encounter a "no," it will seem less like a stop sign and more than a detour to a predetermined destination.