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The 5 Most Subtle Errors Made when Selling Marketing Services

Andrew Cross

Nobody can sell perfectly because there are too many unknowns in any sales process. We as sales individuals have to constantly take risks with what we say, who we say it to and when we say it. Selling marketing services is exciting because it’s an area where trust and relationship building are at the heart of it all. I’ve sold many things and I’ve learned that the more price driven and commoditized the products or services, the less the relationship matters. But marketers are entering very delicate territory because of the wide range of opinions and experiences the prospects bring to the process. Here are 5 errors that are often hard to catch when selling marketing services;

1. Believing the client knows what they want when they first communicate with you

Ultimately, most marketing efforts are to increase sales traffic and thus sales revenue. But remember that business people have often exhausted efforts of their own before deciding to engage a marketing firm and thus bring some experience and some success into the discussion. A top salesperson will lay aside the egotistical tendency to ‘know what is needed’ and spend a lot of time asking probing questions to flesh out what the prospects sees as the problem, how they have tried to remedy it and what they feel is the right direction (and why). So when your brain starts to say “I get it” stop and train yourself to say “What I’m hearing you say is this…. does that seem accurate?” See what happens next.

2. Selling Everything but Forgetting Hope

Enthusiastic people can be frustrating because it’s so tempting to indulge in cynicism and bond with others in their negativity. But those who can radiate hope and communicate genuinely that success is likely end up being very attractive in a sales process. Prospects are analyzing a lot of factors before buying to minimize the probability of wasting time and money. And one of the strongest persuaders is the feeling that something will work out. If you have all the tools, the right experience, the good people at your firm and then cap it off with an energy that says ‘we can achieve these results for you’ with confidence and zeal, you will find your prospects favoring you over the competition.

3. Becoming Frantic when Things Take Longer than You Want

Isn’t it true that mysterious things happen that don’t make logical sense like just when you decide to forget about that man or woman you were attracted to, they call you back or you run into them and they seem so excited to see you? That’s because our energy DOES affect the sales process. If I’m feeling impatient or angry at how things are going during the sale, who is that about? It’s about me and my commission, right? This is something that repels business. Spending marketing dollars is a vulnerable experience. You have to keep your energy positive, patient and always available even if the client asks you to explain the same thing 5 times. People are nervous about spending and the worst thing we can do is create added pressure by our selfish attitude.

4. Trying to Deal with Prospect Objections by Convincing Them Otherwise

The prospects that end up going with you WILL have objections. It’s extremely rare that you complete a sales process without having to overcome some resistance. So in that sense, I always welcome objectives as I believe their very presence increases my chance of closing the sale. The worst thing you can do, because it’s so risky is try to convince a prospect that their objection isn’t valid. It is true for them at this moment and it will be much more effective for you to explore and validate what they are concerned about. This worries sales people because we think it will solidify the objection. But in fact, being heard and understood most often leads to the prospect diminishing the objective by themselves. Why? Because they really don’t want it but they want you to know it is real for them. Once you acknowledge it’s real and it has been seen, it’s much easier for them to let it go.

5. Not Asking for Direct Feedback During the Sales Process

Try this; begin a sales meeting by stating upfront that you want to get clear honest feedback regarding the meeting by the end. Because selling marketing services is so much more subjective than other services, you have a very slim chance of winning business unless you know exactly what the prospect is experiencing as things progress. It’s much safer to throw out ideas and then ask what they think as opposed to having those after-meeting meetings with your team trying to decipher how it went. You should know when it’s over pretty much how it went. And thus you will know where to focus your efforts in order to bring things round to a natural close.