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Selling By Seminar

7-25-2012

By Wayne Ens

Old business-to-consumer sales tactics no longer work in the business-to-business sales arena.

Gone are the days of "tricky closes" for example. Your prospects have taken those same tricky-close sales courses, or have had other sales reps try those tricky closing tactics on them, and they see through them as just that…sales tactics.

The good old days of "dropping in" or cold-calling are gone too. Today, cold calls without an appointment are simply rude interruptions to a busy business professional's day.

Your prospects today are confused by too many media salespeople "selling" too many media, in person, online, by phone, email, and voicemail. Business decision-makers need a consultant they can trust to teach them how to sort through all of the new and evolving media choices.

They just heard about MySpace when Twitter came along, and were starting to think about marketing via Twitter when Facebook became the rage…then Pinterest, LivingSocial, and so on and so on.

In addition to a wide range of social media sites, and mobile media salespeople, your prospects hear from daily deal sites, various online directories and "malls," web designers, search-engine-optimization consultants, and, of course, a long line of traditional media all claiming to be number one.

Enough already!

Never since its development in the late 1800s has consultative selling been so important.

Confused and bewildered business owners are desperately seeking a genuine media consultant who can teach them how to sort through all of the hype from a rapidly growing list of media.

One sure way to teach your prospects about radio's fit in the new media landscape, and to make it easier for advertisers to understand and buy your stations, is to facilitate educational seminars.

Legitimate educational marketing seminars are proven to result in more revenue for radio. I emphasize "legitimate" because some broadcasters and consultants try to disguise their sales pitches as seminars, a tactic which always backfires in the long run.

What is it about legitimate educational seminars that can make them powerful revenue generators?

1. Attendees are pre-qualified buyers. Everyone who takes time out of their busy schedules to learn more about marketing, advertising, or sales is searching for help to chart a new and better course to gain a competitive edge.

2. Your staff become "experts" by association. Stations which educate buyers or present new or helpful information on contemporary marketing topics are considered to be experts themselves, and are turned to for help in making future advertising decisions.

3. Your staff learns too! Invariably, the techniques and tactics unveiled at your  seminars become incorporated into the professional presentations of your account executives.

4. Psychological reciprocity kicks in. If your presenter gives your audience one good idea they can use to grow their businesses they feel an indebtedness to do business with you in the future.

5. Your "message" becomes more credible. There is an old joke that an expert is someone with a laptop who is from 10 miles away. It is true that an outside expert can make points that are viewed skeptically when a local salesperson tries to make those same points.

So, how do you create a seminar to build stronger advertiser relationships and generate more revenue for your stations ?

1. Have a clearly defined goal. Do you want to convince your advertisers to focus on better creative, more consistent buys, or where your station fits in the new media world? Whatever your objective, make sure it will help you increase your sales and your advertisers' sales.

2. Find out what questions your prospects and customers are asking about media, radio, or marketing. Select a presenter who will answer those questions with new or cutting-edge insights into the topic that will help them grow their business or make better media-buying decisions.

3. Never mislead your audience by trying to disguises a sales presentation as a seminar. Legitimate seminars can be great relationship builders. Disguised sales presentations are equally-effective at destroying trust.

4. Check out the credentials and reputation of your presenter. Are they trying to sell books and CDs or are they recognized as a helpful expert on their topic?

5. You will always uncover new prospects by advertising your seminars on your stations. The easiest person to sell is someone who listens to your station. You don't have to convince them you have an audience, they know first hand that you reach and influence people.

6. Sell one or two co-sponsors. There are business-to-business marketers in your market who want to talk to the same decision-makers you'll be talking to. Mention your sponsors in your promos, and give them a few minutes at the seminar to welcome your audience. Having credible co-sponsors, like a Chamber of Commerce or a financial institution sponsor your event, also alleviates the fear that your "seminar" is only a station sales pitch in disguise.

7. Facilitate pre- and post-seminar sales meetings to help your salespeople talk the talk. If possible, have your presenter preview his presentation with your staff to achieve buy-in as they work to attract their customers and prospects to your event. A post seminar wrap-up to develop follow-up presentations and tactics will always yield results.

8. Consider facilitating an ongoing series of seminars, focusing on one topic at each event. Presenting a series of different topics at regular intervals will result in attendance or participation growing over time.

Seminars require an investment of time, money, and effort; an investment which will set you apart from a long list of package-peddling sellers in your market, and build stronger relationships and higher revenues for you.

Having seen one our Winning in the New Media Economy seminars recently, the president of one broadcast group said, "I was very impressed with Wayne's message, particularly in light of the new digital media we face. It is a presentation on radio that inspires and positions us correctly against the newspaper, yellow pages, and search media. It is information and positioning that every seller and advertiser should be aware of."

If your stations or broadcast association are interested in teaching advertisers about radio's fit in the new media mix, contact wayne@wensmedia.com.

For more articles from Wayne Ens go HERE
Wayne Ens is President of ENS Media Inc.




(10/25/2013 9:25:17 AM)
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(7/26/2012 3:40:48 PM)
Thats interesting because Ive been using the same closing techniques for 30 years and they still work.

- Dan

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