8 Pre-call Steps to Successful Integrated Media Sales
Not long ago, I counseled a young salesperson who was preparing for one of his first sales calls. With evident confidence, he rattled off to me all the salient points of his media’s editorial strengths, pricing and competitive benefits. Then I threw him. I asked what he thought of his prospect’s new product line. His blank look showed that he hadn’t done his homework. And he’s not the only one. Given the complexities of multimedia sales today, many salespeople become so caught up in learning the nuances of their own media products, they neglect to learn even the basics about their clients.
That’s a big mistake. Doing client homework is what separates the novice from the veteran salesperson. It’s what enables salespeople to enter a conversation with the client from a learned and sophisticated point of view. It’s what engages the client in critical, probing dialogue, and it’s what keeps salespeople from stumbling when they’re pursuing someone unfamiliar or new.
Like the school variety, sales homework entails research; that is, finding out as much as you can about your clients through Web sites, sales literature, newsletters, blogs and other sources. You want to know what they sell, to whom, who sells against them, what major benefits and features they offer, and how they position themselves in the marketplace.
More than that, though, homework involves analysis. It means looking at every piece of information through the prism of creating a sales opportunity. After all, if you know your client’s business, then you also know exactly what his business can gain from advertising in your media.
Now, here’s the secret about doing client homework: It doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, client research can be very much like reporting, with a bit of detective work thrown in. By sifting through your client’s Web site, you can find almost everything you need for first-rate pre-call planning. But while you’re researching, keep these eight tips in mind: