We’ve found that a number of publishers and their sales teams struggle with selling digital when they begin working with us. It’s not because they don’t have something of value, although publishers don’t usually appreciate how much value they have to offer even from a modest beginning, and it’s not because their advertisers and local businesses don’t need or want to engage in ‘digital activities’.
The key is Solution Selling, the problem is a lack thereof. Selling a print product isn’t that hard because you have one product with varying sizes but with digital there are many products so guessing at the right one is hard and introducing all of them is overwhelming. There are many books on the topic though Wikipedia gives a great little primer:
Solution selling is a sales methodology. Rather than just promoting an existing product, the salesperson focuses on the customer’s pain(s) and addresses the issue with his or her offerings (product and services). The resolution of the pain is what constitutes a true “solution”.
Local businesses don’t want to buy ads – print, web, TV or otherwise… they want to reach potential customers and grow their business. Ads happen to be one way to do this. We teach our affiliate to understand the business’s objectives and ask questions to come to this understanding – even if the business owner doesn’t fully appreciate it for themselves. From this vantage point we can:
- Ensure we’re considering all options and putting together the right package for each business
- Fully monetize the opportunity and deliver superior value to the advertiser
- Close a higher percentage of sales – after all, if someone says “I have a headache” and you say “take this aspirin it will make your headache go away” they’re pretty likely to agree.
Solution selling is an art that requires more listening than talking, as a sales guy that’s sometimes easier said than done, but it will bear fruit and it will ensure existing advertisers become more loyal and non-advertisers become clients. Both of which are incredibly important amidst the ever changing media landscape and growing ranks of competitors.