High Stakes Sales

You may have noticed something about successful commercials in any medium; they resonate with each individual they are targeting. The most successful campaigns, large or small, manage to connect with people; they talk to them, not about them or even really too much about the product or service they are selling. Instead they focus on how the individual feels and how the product will affect those feelings.

We spend a lot of time (or should!) trying to persuade our clients to get rid of the details from their radio ad; how many times have you had clients who insist on creating radio ads that read like Yellow Pages commercials, listing every possible detail; how long they've been in business, their 'friendly staff', their reputation, their huge range of products, their address, directions to the store, three repeats of the phone number and on and on?

We know these ads don't work because they list features, not benefits. How many times have you been told that when you sell your own station's airtime to a new client, you must focus on benefits and not features? How you must describe your product in terms of how it will benefit your prospect, not in terms of how proud you are of a 'feature' or a statistic?

Both these situations are two sides of the same coin. The advice you repeat to yourself about selling radio is essentially the same advice you should be giving to clients about the content of their ads. The reason both these approaches are similar is simply that this is the basis of all successful selling; to frame your product in terms of the emotions your prospects feel and how your product will affect those emotions.

This is not abstract theory. This is essential to understand if you are to be successful in sales. If you are in any doubt about just how important this is, then look no further than the biggest sales campaigns on the planet that are happening all around us right now; the campaigns for the Mid-Term elections.

An election campaign is basically a huge sales pitch; and the most successful politicians are those able to sell themselves most successfully. This is what we mean by 'resonating with voters'; being able to make the debate about how the electorate is actually feeling and how your own policies and actions will affect those feelings.

Just like your prospects and just like your clients' prospects, most of us are less interested in the nitty gritty of a concept, than we are in the emotional outcome of a course of action; "How will this car make me feel?", "How can your station grow my business?" "I just feel more comfortable with Candidate A than Candidate B."

To this end, I encourage everyone in sales to watch this campaign season very closely. Take careful note of how answers are phrased during the debates; how complex policy details are made simple and emotional; how all candidates turn focus away from themselves and towards you. On a very grand scale, everyone involved in this election is doing what you have to try and do every single day; to sell successfully is to connect; to talk to your prospects, not at them; to make the issue about them, not about you.

This skill more than any other will decide the outcome of your next sale.

(Article printed from ARIA Connect - the online resource for radio sales professionals: www.aria-radio.com)

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