Objections are a natural part of the sales process
This is particularly true in the media industry where there is so much competition. Sales people focused on driving new business and cold calling will experience even more objections, as they will be just one of many calling clients. Inundated by calls and emails from different media companies, clients are often very adept at cutting phone conversations short – it’s easy to become disheartened and confidence levels can suffer.
I work with many media sales people who are focused on small to medium sized companies. Typical objections that they report hearing every day during cold calls include:
- “I have no budget right now”
- “I am moving all my budget to social”
- “I only do Google Ad Words”
- “I don’t believe advertising works”
- “My focus is on events”
Yes, it can become wearing but let’s look at how you can turn things around.
Try these top tips to counter objections:
1 Be friendly
Some objections, particularly those around budget, are often not real, they are simply an effective way to close down the conversation. If this objection arises early in the call, focus instead on trying to build rapport with the client based on their business.
Some objections, of course, are genuine, including those based on opinions about different media and their effectiveness. This is particularly true for sales people in traditional media such as magazines, newspapers, out-of-home and radio where instant metrics on effectiveness are harder to get.
2. Take your time!
An immediate counter to an objection can give the impression that you aren’t really listening. Take a breath and gather your thoughts before responding.
3. Don’t argue
Handling objections should be about understanding the client’s response and then positioning your solution in a more compelling way to reassure and create the desire and willingness to learn more about what you’re offering. So, imagine talking to a client who loves social media. Your response could be: “Yes, I understand the importance of social media to clients – it’s an essential marketing tool for most businesses.”
4. Be curious
Clarify and develop your understanding of the client’s situation and current approach by asking questions. That call to the client who likes social media, for instance, might include questions such as:
- What is it about social media you like?
- Who are you reaching on it?
- Who is your target audience?
- What else are you doing to raise awareness of your brand?
- What are the goals for the company?
Open-ended questions will encourage the client to share information that might prove useful. You may not be able to ask every question during an initial call, but one or two will help build that all-important rapport and gradually create the opportunity to pitch your proposition.
5. Demonstrate value
The more you can learn about the client, their opinions and their preferences, the more you will be equipped to respond positively and show how your media compares to what they currently use. Perhaps you can reach a different audience that they are chasing and have yet to capture – think on your toes and use the information they share to your advantage.
6. Challenge without being aggressive
There will be situations when you need to tackle misconceptions and educate a client on your medium or brand. A good example is: ‘No one watches linear TV anymore’, a frequent objection that is clearly not true, yet some people believe it to be the case.
7. Shout success!
Explaining how some of your existing clients have had success with your particular form of media is a very compelling way to respond to an objection. If those clients were reluctant or dubious before agreeing to go ahead, it will make an even stronger story when you then describe the advertising options they went for and the results achieved. In a marketing world driven by ROI this can reassure clients and reduce the perceived risk of working with you.
8. Make a final check
Have you answered the client’s concerns? Do they have any others that you may not have covered?
Good media sales isn’t about being pushy. Be friendly, be patient, show that you genuinely want to understand the client’s perspective – take this approach and you will be able to overcome any objections raised, generate more constructive conversations and positive outcomes.