Do You Have a Recession Sales Strategy? You'd better ...
Making a sale during an economic slump can be tricky -- but not impossible -- provided you're asking your clients the right questions.
Josh Gordon, president of SmarterMediaSales.com, offered his tips on how to deal with clients during a recession to Publishing Executive Inbox. Gordon will also be leading a session on this topic at the 2009 Publishing Business Conference & Expo on March 23-25 at the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square.
Inbox: What are one or two ways to get clients interested in buying ads during a recession?
Josh Gordon: The best way to get your clients to buy an ad is to find out how they are changing their business model. The worst thing you can do is sell them an ad at a discount.
… Ask questions. Find out how they are changing their business model in the face of a recession. Are they eliminating products, adding a lower cost product line, extending credit lines, offering different buying terms like month-to-month or pay-as-you-go programs, or do they have any special offers this month? Find out, and then build an ad proposal against that.
Inbox: Can you offer any examples? What if your client did add a lower-cost product line?
Gordon: Come up with a plan that helps them get the word out to customers. If you approach it this way, the recession is the motivator to get the sale. Maybe the proposal needs to include different options -- an ad on a newsletter, a webcast, an e-mail blast.
… Maybe this lower-cost option is cheaper but more complicated to implement. Then, a webinar may make sense for this client.
Inbox: How do you propose selling the benefits of an advertiser going on the offensive during a poor economy?
Gordon: Cite historical examples. An example I like to use is the one of Kellogg's Corn Flakes and Post cereals during the Great Depression. Those companies were neck and neck when the Depression hit. Kellogg's kept the ads going through the 1930s. Post didn't. They cut most of them. When the Depression was over, Kellogg's was way ahead and Kellogg's has maintained that lead. Post never regained what it lost.