respond or react in media sales

Be prepared ahead of time so you don’t lose your cool with your clients.
Two characters in an angry mood, photographed by Roger Smith during a scene in “Black Marketing,” a motion picture produced by the U.S. Office of War Information (OWI), 1943. Library of Congress.

The definition of “stimulus” in an online dictionary is as follows: something that encourages an activity or a process to begin, increase, or develop; something arousing interest; an agent or factor that provokes interest, enthusiasm, or causes a response.

Notice that the definition suggests that a stimulus causes a RESPONSE, not a REACTION. When you are in media sales or media sales management, many times each day you have to make choices about whether you respond or react to the stimuli you experience. Your boss says Do this, a peer says It should be that way, a client says no to a proposal you have on the table when you were certain they were going to say yes – so do you respond or do you react?

How you respond or react will often determine if you eventually arrive at your desired destination of a sale. You can answer a client objection professionally and calmly, or you can get emotionally upset and possibly show physical signs of your discomfort. In other words, you might “lose your cool.”

Here are a few suggestions on how to respond to a situation instead of losing your cool:

  1. Uncovering objections and responding to them is an important part of selling and is key to establishing a trusting and mutually beneficial client relationship. Seeking objections and getting them on the table gives you visibility into the client’s thinking, and will allow you to share information that is essential to your client’s understanding of your station, capabilities, and proposed solution.
  2. Be sure to actively listen. By intently focusing on what the client is communicating, you cut way down on the possibility of misunderstanding and then reacting to the client’s position. Restate the objection and ask for clarity if you need it to allow you to fully understand and then respond.
  3. Always seek permission from the client to move forward once you feel you have responded to their objections. This shared agreement after your response helps both of you stay connected and on track, and alleviates any possible misunderstanding later in the conversation.
  4. Visualize and mentally walk through how you will conduct the conversation. Try to be prepared to understand the possible objections a client may have. In anticipating and accepting all the potential roads that your client could travel down, your ability to calmly respond to whichever road the client actually takes goes up substantially because you already have considered them in your preparation.
  5. Attempt to stay in control of your emotions and non-verbal cues. You may have to take a breath and regroup, but remember that losing your cool might result in combative behavior and the decreased chance of a sale.
  6. Finally, if you use a media sales CRM, a best practice is to create a profile in your notes section to remind you of information you want to proactively cover during your presentations with a specific client. When I was selling newspaper, I had a client who I called on for six years who asked me what my circulation numbers were each time I visited him, even though I had shared these numbers with him each time. Once I was able to identify this about him I made sure to share my circulation numbers proactively during the course of our conversations.

Remember to be empathetic to your customers and recognize that they are seeking to do the best thing possible for their businesses. Our job is to respond to their needs, and to understand them in a positive and honest way. This will help you be perceived as a talented and effective sales pro that merits their trust and future business, and not one who will lose your cool!

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