I’ll Admit it – I’m just not that good at selling advertising.
Now, in my defense and relative to some of my peers in media consulting and ad sales coaching, I’m not that bad either. I guess you could say I’m sort of in the middle of the road on the selling ads scale. But, compared to a lot of ad sales professionals, I’m only average at best.
Fact Is, I just haven’t got the love of selling advertising, nor clocked the hours that a master advertising salesperson has. At best I’m a media consultant, an ad sales leader, and a publisher at heart.
However, I think there are a few things you guys and gals could learn from a seasoned publisher like me…You see, those of us who aren’t naturals at selling advertising, and who haven’t built high degrees of skill at it, have still got to sell potential advertisers. Natural selection has meant that those of us who have prospered have discovered ways of winning customers and advertisers, without relying on great ad selling skills.
Imagine if you guys and gals could use some of the same approaches I use and combine them with your own personal great ad selling skills? Probably a pretty lethal combination…right?
What is it that lets me sell ads without being great at selling? Well, for one thing, I am pretty good at establishing peer level relationships. Most consultants are fearless, they challenge their clients, call out their BS, ask the tough questions, and they manage to do it without being obnoxious.
Peer level relationships with very senior clients are necessary to make consulting work, so we do it kind of naturally. If you spend your life advising publishers and senior advertisers/decision makers, you may think of adopting a subservient role when you’re selling to them. And, it does seem that very many consultants and ad sales pros, even seasoned ones, can often fall into the “I’m here to serve you” mode.
To the publisher or potential advertiser, that makes them sound like “yes men”, not a media consultant they really trust to give them an honest media opinion. And certainly not anyone whose recommendations they are moved to follow.
Media Consultants many times are very effective at using their expertise to become seen as the “go to” person in media advise to publishers or prospective advertisers. Ad reps can just as easily advise potential advertisers as media consultants can. Sometimes, even better as they know the individual market place better.
There is no reason why a smart ad sales guy or gal can’t become just as much of a ‘go to’ ad expert as a media consultant. After all, a consultant is just an ad rep who happens to be selling him or herself. Ad sales reps can write and present as well as consultants. They can sell themselves and their abilities and knowledge just the same, not better.
Good media consultants can sell more ads to the most difficult ad prospects simply by having a unwavering belief in the publication or orginization they are representing. They know the publication will help the potential advertiser grow their business by running ads in it. They use their title as consultant to add weight to their solid belief in their publication. Each of you need to use your title, use your experience, act like a media consultant, and you will be better able to sell like one.
Media Consultants [at least the best ones], are also good at giving. When I work with a lot of my clients, which are mostly publishers or ad directors, and we talk about goals, the first thing they often latch on to isn’t financial goals, it’s about helping more people getting their message out there and having more impact.
Successful consultants are not afraid to give their media advice, their counsel, and their support openly. In fact, most of them feel compelled to do so regularly. It’s in their DNA.
Consultants that give the most, tend to be the ones that gain the most. Isn’t that true in life as well?
I’m sure each of you have your own version of how many contacts you have to make to fill up the old Ad Sales Pipe Line to have a real advertiser leak out of the end. No matter how many numbers you pour into the line these days to get an advertiser out of the back end, it is common knowledge that you have to keep in touch and interacting with all potential advertisers before they become a running ad client.
Unfortunately, what is talked about way too little is that “calling to check in”, or chasing to see if they’ve read your ad proposal just does not really count. That’s not keeping in touch, that’s just pestering!
But, as a media consultant/ad sales rep, if you’re giving each time you keep in touch, it’s a different story. If you are providing useful media info or marketing info to the potential advertiser, inviting them to learn about current trends etc., then your relationship with them is going to grow into a long and mutually beneficial one.
Successful media consultants/ad sales reps do all this stuff so that even with their [or my], mid-level ad selling skills, we can still win over the majority of the potential advertisers.
Just imagine what you could do if you harnessed these approaches and added them with your better than average ad sales skills?
My bet is that you will sell a lot more advertising, and quickly!
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