I’ve said before that people enjoy doing business with people that they like. Conversely, people will only do business with people that they trust. Your objective as an advertising sales professional is to offer a solution that satisfies an expressed need. However successful you may be doing this, sometimes a prospect will still drag their feet when it comes to signing on the dotted line. Meeting after meeting, you walk away without closing the sale and question whether or not it will ever happen. So, why is this happening? Sadly, it may simply be a matter of trust.
During the course of the sales cycle, in our excitement to close the deal, we find ourselves making promises. Before a prospect will agree to move forward, they need to have confidence in your ability to deliver on those promises. In order to maximize your sales efficiency and minimize the number of meetings required to convert the prospect to a client by having them say “yes” to your recommendation, it’s crucial to establish trust immediately. Here are a few strategies you can use to truncate the timetable:
1. Be prepared: Walk into every meeting armed with information on your prospect (and your prospect’s competitors if possible.) You should be able to predict what questions your prospect will ask you, so be prepared with answers that they will want to hear.
2. Be flexible: One size does not fit all.A prospect wants to be confident that you’re working to satisfy their specific needs, so be prepared to work outside of the box and custom-tailor a solution that will fit. Just be careful that your flexibility is not mistaken as desperation to make a sale.
3. Be positive: Talk about what you and your newspaper do best, not what your media competitors do worse. Demonstrate how you can satisfy your prospect’s needs while avoiding the temptation to talk negatively about other advertising vehicles out there. Negativity is unappealing.
4. Be honest: Your newspaper products and services will never be able to solve all of your prospect’s problems, so don’t try to convince them otherwise. It’s risky to lead a prospect to believe that there will not be bumps in the road, but when done properly you can set expectations without scaring them off. Your prospect simply wants to believe what you’re saying and know that you’ll always have their best interest in mind.
The key to any meeting with a new prospect is to inspire confidence. Without it, most of what you say will not be heard, as your prospect will be spending your time together looking at the clock and waiting for the meeting to end. However, if you’re able to demonstrate your ability to be trusted and do what you say you can do, you’ll increase the likelihood that things will move swiftly towards a mutually beneficial business relationship.
Have a terrific week,
If there are specific topics you’d like to see discussed in a future issue of The Sales Cycle, please contact me at (612) 278-0223 or firstname.lastname@example.org