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Sell Yourself … Not Just Your Station

Sell Yourself … Not Just Your Station

Historically this column has focused on ways to increase sales by positioning your stations and/or your audience as the ideal outlet for that particular advertiser. However, before you position your station as the advertiser’s best choice, it’s important to sell yourself as the person your prospect wants to deal with.

So what does that mean?

When dealing with a new account, you need to build a bond. While that’s easy to say, early actions will set the tone for a future, hopefully long-term, relationship.

Don’t let your first meeting be via email. Email is fine for setting up a meeting, but it won’t build a bond. While in-person meetings are most effective, sometimes it is necessary to rely on web-based communication for your first meeting. Either way, be prepared to present yourself in a professional manner.

In the first meeting, share your credentials. Beyond the organization you represent, why should this potential client want to work with you?

  • What makes you a unique partner?
  • What is your experience?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What can you offer that someone selling the same inventory can’t?

This shouldn’t be off the cuff. Going back to the old Head & Shoulders commercial, remember that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Some experts even suggest creating a one-page sales resume with the benefits of working with you. If you do this, include a professional picture.

This will separate you from the dozens of other sales reps trying to pitch their wares. It’s also a great leave behind. This is especially important if your meeting is canceled or is cut short.

While some like to start the first meeting with a CNA, I believe you need to establish your credibility before you can talk about the prospect’s business. That improves the odds that the prospect will open up and properly communicate his or her needs.

Many stations changed the title of their front-line people from account executive to marketing consultant. However, is that title change a real change in their role or just simple window dressing? Selling yourself at the onset will pave the way for a stronger and more successful partnership.

Starting this way also differentiates you from programmatic ad buying. Personal sales take more time and are sometimes more expensive than buying through a website. You need to make sure the client gets value out of that first interaction. If not, there may not be a second.

Finally, whatever you tout in this introduction, be ready to back it up with actions. Failure to live up to your early pledge will doom the relationship quickly.