Why Salespeople Need to Think Like Digital Marketers Blog Feature
Steve Bookbinder

By: Steve Bookbinder on February 12th, 2014

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Why Salespeople Need to Think Like Digital Marketers

sales | Digital Media Landscape | Sales Training | salespeople

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What does it take to get someone’s attention? Think like a digital ad unit.

In digital marketing, each ad unit, whether it’s “intrusive” or subtle, is competing with everything else on the page to get the user’s attention. When you look at the ad against a blank piece of paper, the ad may stand out, but in the context of a crowded web page and in the mind of a distracted user, the ad may disappear into white noise. Put the right ad in front of the right person at the right time - with a message that is right for them works best. The more the ad combines the qualities of surprise with insight and relevance into what the user was thinking right before they saw the ad, the better the impact.

Your sales pitch, practiced in the privacy of your room, might seem impactful. But what happens in real life when you’re in the heat of the moment, in the context of your buyer’s busy day? Does the buyer remember your pitch a week and 10 sellers later? Probably not. Any seller who is now selling something new, for example, the “legacy” media seller who is now attempting to sell a digital 360° campaign to a buyer they thought was their friend may be experiencing this problem. They’ve been meeting with the same TV/Radio/Outdoor, etc., buyer for years and now that buyer has actually stopped listening to this seller. This is like a person ignoring an ad they’ve seen before. The buyer may not mean to be rude but they think they already know what that seller has to say. To make an impactful multi-platform presentation the seller must first get the buyers attention and hold it long enough to deliver their new, well-rehearsed (but natural sounding) pitch. All salespeople, especially ones who are selling to the same people in the same industry for years, need to consider this.

Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink describes how easily, and unconsciously, people adopt a first impression and how hard it is for them to unlearn what they thought they knew in order to be open to new information.

Salespeople need to go beyond simply adding a few new words to their opening pitch. They need to consider how locked-tight the buyer’s mind may already be. What’s already in the buyer’s mind? They need to consider the parade of other salespeople that have visited this same customer. Does the customer remember each and every seller or has that parade quickly turned into a blur? To get the buyer to pay attention think like an engaging advertisement and shape your message in order to be eye-catching without being annoyingly disruptive. Like a good ad, the seller needs to be relevant to the changing needs of the buyer. If meeting with legacy buyers, consider beginning your pitch with a question in order to learn that buyer’s intention, such as “by the way, Joe, do you know what we are now doing that is different/new/exciting?” before launching into the new pitch. Remember that the biggest proof that your products work is that someone else is buying it. Remember that people forget facts and figures but remember stories—especially if they are relevant and well told. So, be prepared to add those example stories into your pitch.

You will make the greatest impact by getting in front of the buyer, getting their attention, and then positioning your offering in the form of a story with great imagery. If all of your competitor’s are using a static banner ad style of presenting, make yours rich-media-with-video!


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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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