Jobs Media Planning & Buying Opinions

The One Thing: What one piece of advice would you pass down to a seller just getting started?

Posted by Marc Mallett on November 12th, 2012 at 10:20 am

It came up on a recent sales call:  Where are Junior Sellers learning (or not learning) their habits, strategies, basically how they do their job?   It was a casual conversation after the meat of the sales call with a friend who’s a director on the agency side.  She was more than a little surprised at the lack of some sales 101 things – attire, follow up, grammar and spelling in email.  All things that are completely avoidable and should be covered well before the first sales call ever happens.

It got me thinking – what do I tell my team on an ongoing basis, how do I guide my new sellers and what is the one thing I would share with anyone starting out in media sales.  What’s the one nugget?  While answering my own question I thought I’d sample some of my friends and peers on the sales side who have been selling & managing in the space for 7+ years.   I’m glad I did.  Very good sales insight and advice from people who have been doing it since it was banners and text links (over 90 years collective experience in the New York market).

If you could give a new media seller one piece of advice what would it be?

“Be yourself. Don't try and emulate an older executive and how they did it, build relationships that last, building them naturally...Rome was not built in a day."

“When setting up meetings bring ideas and concepts to the table that show you have put time into learning about their prospective client BEFORE the meeting.  Bring something unique that identifies a need and provides a solution or answer to that need.   Make the time spent valuable for those attending and don’t go on meetings just for the sake of hitting a weekly quota/KPI.  If you aren't working for a company that’s capable of producing unique and fresh ideas to share at your meeting then find a new job because wasting people’s time at a meeting will reflect negatively on your own personal brand as a sales person and will jeopardize future meetings when you actually have something worthwhile to share with a client or prospect”

Have a point of view, stand for something. If you are asking for a minute of a busy clients time, come prepared with knowledge of what they do and how you can help. Never start a relationship by asking what they are up to. Know their business in and out before the first meeting.”

“Relationships Matter.  Treat your relationships like gold.  We all 'grow up' together in this industry and you never know who will be the next head of an account or an agency!  Agencies/Clients alike get bombarded with so many calls/emails every day from publishers so being able to separate yourself from that clutter is like gold.  Bottom line is that 99% of us are all selling essentially the same thing and people buy from people they like and trust...”

“Believe In What You're Selling.  Don't just come in with every product offering your company has to offer, bring only those that truly make sense for your client into that meeting.  If you have conviction that what you are presenting absolutely fits in with the strategy they've shared with you, that will shine through and your credibility will go way up (vs the salesperson that somehow has the 'perfect offering' every time he/she comes in).”

After reading these I find myself remembering a recent sales call where I might have veered a little too far in the “everything in the toolbox” pitch.  It’s this type of feedback, knowledge and peer interaction that reminds me just how important it is to build, maintain and grow relationships on both sides of the media business.

A Special thanks to Jordan Grossman, Brian Tucker, Eric Shoicket, Brian Wallace and Keith Hernandez for their input – some of the best in the business.

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