Summer is a tough time for sales professionals. Clients can be incredibly hard to get onto. Media sales expert Ryan Dohrn gives 9 tips to maximise your summer sales outreach.
It’s that time of year when you’re looking out the window and it’s nice outside. Maybe you’ve got a pool or a garden. Or you’re in a corporate building, and you’re looking out and seeing people outside enjoying the day. It can be tempting to give in to the summer media sales slump. It happens with a lot of companies — because advertisers just go dark over the summer. They’re on vacation or they’re doing stuff with the kiddos.
So let me share with you nine things from an ad sales training perspective I do to avoid that media sales slump. These ad sales training tips are things you can put into play now to take you through the sunshine months and wind up a better media salesperson on the other side.
1. Rethink your sales math
This is about getting intimate with your call-to-close ratio.
To do this, I go back to my sales math. Here’s what that looks like:
- You need to know how many phone calls and emails you’ll need to send to a new prospect to get a meeting with them.
- And then once you get a meeting with them, how many meetings do you have to have to get to a deal?
- And then how many deals do you need until you get to goal?
That’s your sales math. That’s your call-to-close ratio.
I know I need to work at least 40 people to get 20 meetings a month. And out of those I might close about half and get about 10 deals.
So when I look out the window and I see that lake…I have to think, “Ryan, get back to your sales math. You have calls to make.” Media sales training is about taking what you hear and putting it into action.
2. Understand that persistence is the catalyst for luck
I’ve heard people say, “You know, the more you golf, the luckier you get.” Well, you know what? The more calls you make, the more emails you send, typically that’s the catalyst for sales luck.
So first you have to know your sales math. And then you’ll be in a position to understand what level of persistence you’ve got to bring to the table to get a sales meeting set.
I suggest in my book I’m working on, “Sales Trifecta,” that I find success when I operate on patterns of three.
I also stress the power of three in all my ad sales training efforts. So I’m reaching out to people — by voicemail, by email — every three business days. This pattern of three works, and I use it in my approach to persistence.
3. Focus on value-based selling
A lot of times people will sell based on the features, advantages and benefits of their product or service. Not me. I’m focused on value-based selling. Always focus on value-based selling.
Every conversation I’m lucky enough to have with an advertiser, I’m thinking:
- What value do I bring to the conversation?
- Am I researched, am I ready to go, what value do I bring to this client, just in general?
- What value do I bring from a CPM perspective?
My media sales conversations are always based around value-based selling.
4. Find a need and you’re guaranteed a sale
I’m not talking about asking a bunch of old questions, like, “Can you tell me about your business?” Or “What keeps you up at night?”
- “If we could help you bring in that perfect customer, what would that customer look like?”
- “What’s the lifetime value of a new customer to you?”
- “If I could bring in just one new customer, what would they look like and what would their value be to you?”
I might ask: “When you think about advertising in this industry, do you want a ‘presence,’ do you want to be ‘competitive,’ or do you want to ‘dominate?’”
What I’m trying to do is find a need. If I can figure out a need, I can guarantee a sale. So ask, and sometimes they’ll surprise you…they’ll tell you what they need.
5. Block out time for success
When your calendar doesn’t dictate your day, your inbox will.
I want to fill that calendar with meetings and tasks that are super important to me, and one of the things that’s important is new business development.
So I block out time for that. Everyday, 11am and 4pm, I block it out. Why 11am? Most people don’t book meetings before lunch. Why 4pm? Because most people don’t book meetings before they go home.
So I use 11am and 4pm as my time blocks to avoid the summer media sales slump — and I just get to it. Some days, you’ve just gotta fake it ‘til you feel it.
6. Increase your non-sales touches
What do I mean by that? If you’re a media salesperson, and every time you call on somebody you’re trying to sell them something, then you’re a salesperson — you’re not a consultant.
I want to be a consultant, as well. So about half the time I reach out to people, I offer them some kind of value…some kind of advice or some kind of thought or share a link with them to a video or an article.
Remember, when you’re in a sales slump you need to be reaching out to people not only in selling ways, but in non-sales ways. This fits in well with a tip from my book, “Selling Backwards.” That tip is: I find that the less I sell, the more I sell.
And that’s why non-sales touches are so critically important.
7. Rethink your email subject lines
Maybe there are some new subject lines you should be trying. Be looking at them if you’re trying to get out of a sales slump. I’m continually looking for ways to change around my subject lines, and I track them and test them.
Some of the ones I use on a regular basis are the date of a day that I want to meet with a prospect on the phone or in person. And sometimes I’ll say, “new idea for you,” sometimes I’ll say, “3 things to consider,” and then I’ll list out three things.
Whatever the subject lines are, though, I’m not including the name of my media company. That, to me, is a surefire way to be deleted.
So, I’m trying to spark some interest: “About your Facebook page,” “Saw on your Facebook page,” or “your website“—all these approaches prove relevance. I’m always looking for subject lines that show my relevance to someone.
Now, I don’t like to bait and switch. Nobody likes that. “About those pictures” … “Free lunch?” — unless you’re truly offering a free lunch, it’s not a good subject line.
The name of your media company? Nope. Your name? Probably not needed. Your client’s name, probably not either. Again, your subject lines should prove your relevance.
Now, if you’re dealing with a company that sells a particular serial-numbered product, ZD520, for example, you should make that the name of the subject line. Or use the name of one of their competitors — that will really raise their blood pressure.
In addition to great subject lines, there’s something else I use to get people to respond: I use voicemail to drive people to my emails. Some of us are old-school and we think, “I’m going to leave them a voicemail and they’re gonna call me back.” But c’mon. Let’s be honest. Do advertisers actually call you back? If they do, you’re fortunate and that’s awesome. For me, I use voicemail to drive people to my emails.
8. Ask for referrals — whether you win business or lose business
Whether I win business or lose business, I always ask for a referral. So if someone says, “I’m not interested,” I say, “Oh man, that’s a shame. I really wanted to work with you. Just out of curiosity. do you know of another business owner who’d really like this idea?”
When you ask this, a lot of times they’ll give you a name just to get off the phone with you or get you out of the office.
Now, if you win business from somebody, you need to ask them for a referral as well. Always be asking for a referral. Either way. Period.
9. Make sure you’re always updating your objection scripts
Here’s the idea: you should have a scripted answer to every objection you could potentially ever receive in your industry or market.
So you need to be looking at that objection script and asking yourself if it needs to be updated. Because if you can’t handle the most basic objections that you get on a regular basis, and if you don’t have the answers you’d use written down, odds are you’re going to end up in a media sales slump.
To close, remember, if you’re not growing out there, you’re potentially dying out there (in the hot summer sun). Use this time in the air conditioning to hone your media sales skills — and stay out of a sales slump.
Remember, if ad sales was easy, everyone would be doing it.