3 Ways to Avoid Bombing a Sales Meeting

There’s nothing as invigorating — or nerve wracking — as a sales meeting. Making a pitch to a new prospect is always a little scary, whether it’s your first time or your hundredth. The anxious feeling never goes away.

What if I say the wrong thing? 
What if I forget the presentation? 
What if I totally bomb the sales meeting?

There’s a saying, “You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.” Whether you work independently or as part of a sales team, arriving at each client meeting feeling confident and prepared will start you off on the right foot.

Of course, being confident and prepared is often easier said than done — especially if you’re newer to the world of ad sales or you’re working on your own. 

If you want to avoid bombing a sales meeting, it may helpful to incorporate the following strategies. In this article, we’ll explain the best ways to prepare for sales meetings, and what to expect once you arrive, to ensure you get the most out of every client interaction. 

Avoid bombing a sales meeting by using these strategies:

1. Have a plan and stick to it.

Sales meetings are your chance to shine. This is your best opportunity to impress potential clients with your ad sales knowledge and expertise. That means answering questions about expected ROIs and what businesses can expect when they advertise with your publication. 

What sales meetings aren’t is an unstructured conversation. Prospects just don’t have time for that. A poorly-run sales meeting is inconvenient and a waste of time. Even worse — if your team isn’t prepared, that can leave a negative impression on the advertiser for years to come. 

Avoid bombing a sales meeting by outlining a plan before the meeting, and then sticking to the script. Know what you want to say, and what questions you want to ask, before arriving at the prospect’s place of business.

If the conversation begins to stray from the outline, reel it back in and get back to the plan you created. Being able to keep a meeting structured and organized is a skill that comes with experience. Having a well-structured agenda laid out ahead of time will put you in the best position to succeed. 

Pro tip: Create spec ads with the prospect’s logo and other images/info before arriving at the meeting. 

2. Talk less, listen more.

Most salespeople are extroverts. They got into the business because they like to talk and get to know new people. Given this, it’s easy for the salesperson to rule the conversation — don’t do that. 

If you find yourself talking more than you’re listening, it’s time to take a deep breath and get the sales meeting back on track. Refer to the agenda or the outline you created before the meeting began. Make sure the conversation is relevant to the advertiser’s goals.

What if your prospect is getting the conversation off track? What if they want to chat about topics that are totally irrelevant to your pitch? As the salesperson, it’s your job to encourage productive conversations, but keep the topics relevant. Gently guide the conversation and make sure any discussions you’re having are relevant to the information you’re presenting. 

Pro tip: Make prospects feel like they’re being heard. Their questions or concerns could be a jumping off point to a productive conversation about how your ad sales program operates. Insights from a prospect could also help reframe how you engage during future sales meetings.

3. Ask questions.

What are their pain points? What do they hope to achieve by advertising with your publication? What are their goals? 

The best salespeople use client discussions as an opportunity to plug how their advertising programs can solve pain points and other relevant issues. The way a prospect answers basic questions can also provide valuable insight into how they run their business. As a salesperson, you want to learn as much about their business as possible, so you can suggest solutions that involve advertising with your publication.

For example, if a prospect is struggling to build their email list, you might suggest a native advertising campaign with a call-to-action button that links to an email sign-up form. For a prospect that’s struggling with social media, you might suggest a display campaign utilizing the Instant Instagram Ad format.

Pro tip: Sixty-three percent of SMBs say having enough time and resources to focus on marketing is the most important challenge they’re facing. How can your publication help with that? Do you offer digital marketing services? Are you willing to write a certain number of social media posts for the client as part of an all-inclusive advertising package?

The only way to learn about a prospect’s pain points is to ask.

As we mentioned earlier, taking a step back and listening is the single best way to learn about a prospect’s needs. Then, as a savvy salesperson, you should be able to suggest solutions to those pain points based on the advertising services and programs your publication offers.

Are you ready to take your ad sales program to the next level? Reach out to our team at Broadstreet, and we can work together to develop a winning strategy for your publication.

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