Optimizing the customer’s personal beliefs and goals

July 31, 2012

By Bob Berting
Sales Advice

Even in today’s amazing technology, there remains a classic, time worn problem. How are the advertising materials organized and communicated between the client, the salesperson and the graphic artist? More specifically, how are presentation layouts presented back to the client?

The role of the salesperson
The salesperson has to become a trusted adviser to the client and have the ability to get the client involved in the planning and content of the ads. They must be able to demonstrate that they are a marketing pro who knows good layout design, can write good copy, knows typefaces and can sell long range campaigns. It is obvious that this type of salesperson should have these skills when hired by the sales manager and then trained to be extremely good at them so as to be in control with the customer. The optimal word is control. One of the major problems in newspaper advertising is that the customer thinks he or she knows more than the salesperson. The salesperson has to establish him or herself as an expert and trusted adviser. Even a new salesperson can be perceived as someone who the customer can trust and be guided toward a meaningful advertising program.

Rough layout organization
The content has to be organized so that the client can see and approve the format. This format includes the selection of headlines, artwork, suggested copy and overall ad design. The idea is to also find the customer’s personalized beliefs and goals and work them into the ad ideas. This can be done by showing a headshot of the customer to personalize their ads, featuring employees in the ads, and special goal/belief statements pledging quality, dependability and dedication to excellent customer service.

The next critical action
The final step is for the salesperson to explain that he or she wants to tell the story of the client’s business with an ongoing campaign, but that research needs to be done to know why the customers shop with there and the benefits the customers are receiving. This information can build an ad campaign with the different reasons becoming the headings of the ads.
The customer’s personalized beliefs and goals can be distributed into feature copy boxes. The next step is to tell the customer that he or she will be brought a campaign kick off ad layout (don’t call it a spec layout) or two to three sample ads depicting the start of a campaign. It is important that the customer fully agrees to this and gives permission to do so. Objections might arise, which could delay the creative process but that’s OK because it’s better to know before the work is done than after the time and expense of doing the layouts.

The role of the layout artist
Keep in mind that the salesperson knows what image is to be projected, what goals are to be targeted, and how the campaign is to flow. Any rough layouts done with the customer are given to the layout artist, incorporating the customer’s personalized beliefs and goals. The artist proceeds to develop a kickoff ad for the campaign or a series of ads to give a feeling of the campaign flow. It is important that the salesperson and the artist carefully go over the layouts before taking them to the customer, making sure that the proper image is projected.

The layout presentation
It is important that the layouts are shown to the customer before any marketing plan. This procedure ties in with the adage “sell with emotion and justify with facts.” It’s important that the layouts tell the story of the business, designed for efficient readership and to utilize the customer’s personalized beliefs and goals.

The happy ending
If all the groundwork has been laid by the salesperson, if the presentation layouts really sparkle, and if the customer has complete trust and belief in the publication as the key player in their media mix—the client will buy the plan.
As a final word of caution, you can’t rush the process of creativity. There might be a need for more than one meeting to thoroughly understand the customer’s personalized beliefs and goals. © Bob Berting 2012

Bob Berting is a professional speaker, newspaper seminar leader, and publisher marketing consultant who has conducted more than 1,500 seminars for the newspaper industry. Bob has a new webinar program “Getting New Business and Keeping It.” for print media associations. The four consecutive week course covers four, one-hour topics: three-call selling system—understanding media competition—creating eye-catching ads—working with hard to please customers. Every association member purchasing the course receives a free Bob Berting e-book for the newspaper industry “Dynamic Advertising Sales and Image Power.” State, Regional, or National Association leadership can contact Bob at 800-536-5408 or bob@bobberting.com to see when his course will be conducted. Berting Communications is located at 6330 Woburn Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46250.

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