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4 Ways to Avoid Ticking Off Advertisers.

by Wayne Ens

Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said “An optimist is someone who goes after Moby Dick in a rowboat and takes a jar of tartar sauce.” While the image that quote conjures up might bring a smile to your lips, you need to approach every sales call totally prepared like Zig’s optimist. In the old days, we were able to differentiate ourselves from our competitors by simply asking a few questions and filling out a standard CNA, Customer Needs Analysis.

Of course, those CNA’s worked so well that they became the industry standard rather than a competitive advantage. Today, virtually all of your competitors in every media use the same CNA. Your prospects have been there, done that and they’re tired of wearing the t-shirt. I recently had one advertiser say to me, “If I have one more media rep ask me who my target demographic is, I’m going to scream! I want to work with account executives who already know who my target demographic is.”

One way to clearly differentiate yourself from your competitors is to prepare for every call. Pre-planning and preparing for every call helps you ask more engaging questions than the generic route taken by your predecessors and competitors. The first step to crafting more meaningful and relevant questions is to become a ‘category expert’, learning as much about your prospect’s industry as you know about your own.

And think beyond generic category profiles that might be available to you and your competitors. Be creative and innovative. To short cut the process, simply do four online searches:

1.# Search “#name industry) advertising tips” or “marketing tips." It may take a while on your first attempt, but if you search deep enough you’ll find an industry expert who will make your case for you. During your search, keep a keen eye for those alleged industry experts who knock advertising or ‘traditional’ media, or preach that there is something ‘new’ that is better than radio. You might as well know the misleading influences you’re prospects may have been exposed to so you can be prepare to prevent objections.

2.) Search “(name industry) trade magazines” or “trade publications." Surf them quickly until you find articles from ‘industry experts’ on marketing and sales which naturally lend themselves to a discussion about radio’s role in branding and increasing sales in the new media mix.

3.) Search “(Name industry) association” or “name industry society." Once on the industry’s association web site, you’ll be able to capture invaluable information about the industry’s trends, problems and objectives.

4.) Search “(Name Industry) news." Look for new products, industry trends or quotes from industry experts that you can use to frame more relevant questions and write more timely and topical customer-focused presentations.   
If you simply embark upon a mission to become a category expert in one new category per month, at the end of twelve months you will be able to open the door to stronger customer relationships with more accounts than you can handle.

Wayne Ens is President of ENS Media Inc and can be reached via e-mail Wayne Ens

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