The Second Call of a Three Call Selling Process—Building Trust
By Bob Berting, Berting Communications
Let’s think about some strategy before we get into the second call. We are assuming you are talking with the person who makes the buying decision for the prospect company. We notice that some popular columnists use magic phrases to quickly sell a prospect, but when it comes to the real world of selling, we find it is actually a process. That process begins with the reality that customers buy improvement. They also buy solutions to their problems. But before they buy improvement and solutions to their problems, the salesperson has to establish credibility and now in the second call—build trust.
A Fact Finding Approach
This session begins with a needs analysis by the advertising salesperson which includes matter of fact questions—not progressive interview style questioning.
The salesperson has already done pre-call planning:
- Looking at the quality of their website, and also how it looks on a smart phone for mobile optimization.
- Checking online reviews about their business.
- Looked at their social media presence—Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
- See what their search ranking is.
Now is the time to educate the prospect about incorporating a digital strategy in an advertising plan. The following questions can be asked:
“What digital tools have you used in the past?”
“How are you currently tracking the success of your website?”
“Who is your ideal customer?”
“What do you need for your business to grow?”
These discovery questions will help shape your plan to include a digital approach.
There is a natural flow of discussion where the salesperson needs to listen intently to the prospect because listening builds trust. The more the prospect believes and trusts you, the quicker they’ll accept your ideas.
Do Rough Layout Sketches
As the needs analysis begins to wind down, ask the prospect if it’s OK to do some rough ad sketches. The whole strategy now is to get them involved in the ad content. This is a creative way of personalizing an ad layout with a message from the prospect. Don’t worry if you are not artistic—simple stick figures and circles and squares will be sufficient. The BIG IDEA is to get their ego involved. Ask for the reasons why customers shop their business. These reasons can be the headlines of the rough layouts you do. Next ask what special services they offer. This information can go into the boxes you’ve drawn in your rough sketch.
A Real Life Story About Rough Sketches
I once had a paint company owner who was questioning a campaign proposal by me. We were in his shipping department so I pulled off a roll of brown wrapping paper and drew 4 squares left to right. I then began to ask him what services he might advertise. As he related the services I printed each one as the heading of each ad. Soon all 4 squares were filled with his copy ideas. Soon he began to realize that a campaign could be very effective. He then gave me permission to convert the rough layouts to comprehensive ad layouts. This approval is important, because there is no need to proceed without it. Of course there must also be the approval of the size of the ad, which will be discussed later in this article.
Let’s Analyze Why We Did The Rough Layouts
- If you get the prospect’s ego involved in the planning process, they are more receptive to not only seeing your comprehensive layouts, but understanding the need for a campaign to tell the story of their business.
- The prospect can see the salesperson understands good layout design—will respect the salesperson—and consider them in a more professional light.
- The salesperson takes the rough layouts and gives them to the staff graphic artist who is able to produce comprehensive layouts that actually reflect the needs of the prospect and a clear understanding of the image to be projected.
Ask about their budget
This segment could be difficult but if you have shown them how effective an ad campaign can be and how much improvement there will be in their business as well as solutions to many of there problems, the prospect will be receptive to a discussion,. By even without a rough layout exposure, this would be a process of telling them you want to bring them an advertising plan ( not proposal), and you need some guidelines to decide how much the plan will cost. Explain that the national average for an advertising budget is 5 % of their yearly gross sales. If the prospect will agree to that premise, ask how much of their budget is committed to other media. Of course commitments to other media can be changed ( as any ad agency knows), but as least you’ll have a figure to work with regarding an advertising plan.
The final step
At this point, ask permission to bring an advertising plan incorporating both print and digital strategy/pricing and comprehensive layouts to the third meeting. The ad layout size will be determined by the salespersons estimate of how much of the prospect’s budget can be allocated to their publication. When the prospect agrees to do so, set the appointment. This process is based on positive thinking and that the trust and belief in the advertising salesperson has been established. Now the stage is set for a third call which will be discussed in the next issue.