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Thursday, May 21, 2015

(DIGITAL) How To Sell More Digital


The unknown is intimidating. It creates anxiety, builds apprehension, and prevents us from taking advantage of opportunities. Advertisers share those same negative emotions, especially when we're presenting our digital assets. To many, digital is still an unknown. Problem is, we're the last to know. They don't want to share that kind of vulnerability. It's no different when we're the prospect.

If an insurance agent wants to talk about annuities and we don't have a deep enough understanding of the pros and cons, we disengage from the conversation because we're uncomfortable asking questions in that setting. We assume we'll hear spin, because the agent will only share the benefits while minimizing the negatives. So we walk away. It's not the agent's fault. It's not our fault. It's human nature. It's a self-protective mechanism inside all of us when we're feeling unsure and intimidated.

Today, thousands of radio marketers are sitting across desks from thousands of advertisers, and they're unable to close new business for their digital properties. It has nothing to do with platform, effectiveness, or cost. It has to do with fear: the fear advertisers still feel today toward digital advertising. It's common practice these days for stations to offer seminars or workshops, or bring in the digital director for a sales call. Success percentage? Minimal.

Most digital workshops and seminars are well put together, but lose credibility when they include that "Special Introductory Digital Package." We may close a handful and call the event a success, but the majority of attendees walk away feeling they were only there for a pitch. It matters little about the great content you shared. If you end the session trying to sell something that day, all your hard work only ends up negatively affecting your future opportunities to persuade advertisers to buy more digital.

Putting a well-meaning digital director in front of an advertiser often isn?t the best plan, either. Unless that digital director understands the nuances of the sales process and can interact with advertisers as a peer, the appointment often results in no new business ? most likely because the prospect was uncomfortable with the setting or was more confused when you left than when you arrived.

All is not lost. But you need to commit to a strategic adjustment.

If you're conducting a digital advertising seminar or workshop, don't pitch the attendees at the end. Instead, put on a first-class show, keep the content to no more than four basic concepts, make the examples you share generic (in other words, not about the station), and leave them with a simple one-page, front-and back summary (on heavy card stock) of what they learned. Then follow up the next week with a couple of e-mails with easy recaps and reinforcements of those four concepts you shared. After all that groundwork, go see your prospect with a pitch limited in scope to just one of the concepts they learned. A couple of weeks later, do another, and a few weeks after that, another and another. It's persuasion through education. That's how a marketing team can reposition themselves as a resource and not just the sales department.

If you're sending your digital director out on appointments, give that a moment of serious consideration. Role-play the scenario with your team, and be brutally honest. Was the time you just spent valuable? Did you learn something new? Are you more confident about digital advertising? Did you feel the meeting branded your team as a resource? Evaluate it all, and then you can adjust the way the information is presented, or scrap the concept altogether. It's better to work on a new approach than it is to leave an advertiser feeling like they just wasted their time.

The final recommendation is the most important, because it permeates every interaction your stations have with advertisers regarding digital advertising.

Unless you're dealing with a media buyer, agency, sophisticated marketing director, or digital-savvy business owner, never use the jargon of digital advertising. Any word, phrase, or topic you discuss that your prospect doesn't understand is the cut of a thousand knives. It will lead them back to fear of the unknown. The feeling of intimidation. The reluctance we feel in business to be transparent and vulnerable.

A confident buyer will always spend more on your digital properties. An uncertain buyer will avoid getting involved. If you're looking to sell more digital assets, keep it simple, use traditional marketing language, and never start selling until they understand what you?re asking them to buy.

Reach Gregg Murray at 724.719.1114 or via or

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