What Common Mistakes Do Media Sellers Make? Blog Feature
Steve Bookbinder

By: Steve Bookbinder on October 11th, 2013

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What Common Mistakes Do Media Sellers Make?

sales | selling | Digital Media Landscape | Sales Tips | sales manager | media salesperson

Every media seller I meet needs to increase their digital-only and/or multiplatform campaigns that include digital in 2013/2014. To do that, you either need to hope that everyone’s share of the market gets bigger all at the same time… or you need to grow your share by overcoming your competitor’s efforts.digital_handshake

So, while we are all crossing our fingers, let’s focus on not making these 4 common mistakes:

1. Not prospecting enough

Most sellers simply don’t prospect enough. If you are always prospecting, to friends, enemies and strangers over time you will develop lead flow. Do you have leads calling in every day? The proof of prospecting productivity is how often your phone rings, how many RFPs come to you and what portion of these “inbound leads” you close. If you get leads and RFPs that don’t close you may be either prospecting to the wrong people or you are communicating the wrong offering to them. Media Radar reports that 10% of marketing people are changing jobs every 90 days…so, if you are not prospecting enough, you will miss the chance to get an intro before they leave. Or you will think the old person is still in that job even after they left. Obviously, staying connected on LinkedIn helps you know where people are, but the only way to develop and maintain a great relationship with them is to prospect to them. The mistake most sellers make is to reduce any prospecting activity to the, relatively speaking, small circle of people they know. You may already be getting all the business you can from them, but we must keep in mind they also represent up-side potential.

2. Not going to all levels of the brand and agency

Everyone likes to make fun of the 23 year old media buyer (except me, I love you guys---you rock!) but how many people have learned that these people are just doing their job and doing it as well as they can; we don’t really understand the pressure they are under or the limitations they are working under that may prevent them from even considering your media. Therefore what is the right move? Try to improve your relationship with them. Offer to help them which may cause them to pay more attention to your media. Meanwhile, you should be reaching out to the Planning team, Strategy team, Creative team and even consider the Account team. Everyone is looking for a new idea and yours may just fit in with one of team’s plans. If they don’t put you on the plan, don’t be surprised if they end up not buying from you. Apart from the agency, (and with the proper sensitivity to everyone’s instinct to protect themselves), you should also find every opportunity to speak to people on the brand side, CMO down. No one person has the job of buying from you and your advocates may change with each campaign and marketing goal. You never know which new person in your life is the key to closing the next deal.

3. Not preparing for meetings

Digital meetings often turn on one fact, one component, one answer, one idea well presented. Failure to know a simple answer such as the percentage of your audience outside the US can lead to your least favorite line “I don’t know” and their meeting-ender closer “well, why don’t we regroup when you know.” Don’t let that happen to you. Don’t fail to learn the data points that your argument for more money rests on. Make sure you can tell your success stories in a reassuring enough way that they put you on the plan or increase your share. And for goodness sake, you need to be able to deliver a killer answer to: “What makes you different? What makes you better? Why are you worth the money?”

4. Not being familiar with all of your research offerings

I have personally met with dozens of internal research experts who are their company’s central point for syndicated research. They tell me that they are available to answer everyone’s questions. I then meet with the sellers who work in those companies and invariably don’t know what that guy in research does, what research is available or under what conditions you would use each one. Why is this? This is because many sellers need research “just in time” like when they are putting their proposals together at the last minute. For them, they need to know what is available as well as all the tools that are free so that when they need them they can put their hands on the kind of data needed to build a killer presentation. A little planning might help, too.


Have you made any of these common mistakes? Do you have any others to add? Share your comments in the box below.


About Steve Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is the CEO and sales expert at DMTraining. He has delivered more than 5,000 workshops and speeches to clients all over the world and has trained, coached, and managed more than 50,000 salespeople and managers. Steve continuously refreshes his training content to reflect his latest first-hand observations of salespeople across industries and regions. Through him, participants in his workshops and coaching sessions learn the best practices of today’s most successful sellers and managers across industries. Steve understands that sales is a competitive game. To outperform competitors and our own personal best results, we need to out-prospect, out-qualify, out-present and out-negotiate everyone else, not merely know how to sell. Through his specialty programs in Pipeline Management, Personal Marketing, Great First Meetings, 2nd-level Questioning, Sales Negotiating, and Sales Coaching, Steve trains sales teams to master the skills they need to overcome the challenges they face in today’s world… and keep improving results year over year.

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