As a follow up to an earlier post I wrote on the one thing a senior media sales professional would pass down to a junior seller, I asked some friends on the other side of the desk what they would suggest. What I received back is very interesting and enlightening.
I feel one of the aspects of our industry is a lack of full understanding of how our counterparts on the other side of the sale do what they do – and that’s not a good thing. I’m talking about the real nuts and bolts of the day to day, and how we as sellers not only fit into those days, but what we can do to make their lives better.
You can learn a lot from your mentors on the sell-side, as my previous post explored, but the best sellers understand the needs of their partners, and that helps them develop a plan to suit those needs. Building these relationships and heading this advice is one of the smartest things a media seller can do. As you start to talk more to sellers, you’ll learn things that will make you wish you knew them back when you started. I remember, early on in my media-selling career, a director giving an invaluable piece of advice. He told me “keeping it simple” is one of the things he appreciated most in a seller’s style. He saw too many sellers with top-heavy decks and complicated pitches. I took it to heart and always try to keep it in mind when putting presentations and proposals together.
With that in mind, I approached a few friends and asked each one, “If you could give a new media seller one piece of advice, what would it be?” All of the answers that follow came from buyers, and are shared here anonymously.
“Always be ready to dump the deck. Our partners have great PowerPoint presentations, but sometimes their desire to go through each slide eliminates the opportunity to delve into other areas. Generally when we want to explore additional areas, it's because we have challenges in mind and are interested in the REPs POV and thoughts.”
“If you want to contact me about work, do so on my work email and not via Facebook. It's my personal social networking tool that is not meant to be used for work. I will not answer you regarding work related issues unless I am contacted through the appropriate outlets. “
“Telling me that making a plan is going to get you promoted or a corner office is not going to motivate me to work with you. Awkward somewhat serious comments like those will in fact make me want to work with you less.”
“Your sales pitch shouldn't be that all of my competitors are working with you. That doesn't mean anything to me.”
A lot of this feedback seems to boil down to sellers sometimes letting the pressure they feel trickle into their personal relationships and then trying to leverage those relationships instead of the strength of the proposal. The key, of course, is for us sales professionals to remember that the folks on the other side of the desk have their own pressures and responsibilities. Rather than push a sale, it seems that sellers need to communicate and work in close collaboration with their buyer partners to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship.
Special thanks to my friends from Initiative, Mediavest, OMD and Zenith; all true media professionals.
Marc Mallett has worked in the New York Interactive Media space for 10 plus years, holding sales and sales management positions at Yahoo, ScanScout, VEVO & Silver Chalice