Selling Backwards... BOOK PREVIEW...
How to sell more ads to digitally focused, social media saturated, seriously confused advertisers!
In 2009 my sales coaching clients were struggling to sell anything. I mean anything. The “Great Recession” had brought nearly every sales organization to its knees. The methods we had used in the past were no longer working. Despite budget cutbacks we hit the road hard armed with a top-notch presentation filled with deep values and deep discounts. As we sat in front of a longtime client, they put the final nail in the coffin when they said they loved us, our fresh ideas and our marketing products, but they were not renewing their advertising because they needed money to pay their staff. Wow! How do you handle that sales objection? I decided to look back to draw on my years with serious sales-driven organizations like The NY Times Company and Disney. Perhaps my sales coaching clients could somehow better market their products? Maybe they just needed to hit the road even harder? Perhaps we needed to really discount? Maybe we needed to raise prices? At one point one of my magazine clients offered free ads and not one client would bite! No matter what we tried, nothing was moving the sales needle upward. Sure, they had some business, but not enough to pay the bills long-term or keep all the promises they were making. This made me realize that the recession was changing everything. I needed a new angle. I needed a new sales approach. My successful sales and marketing methods of the past were just not enough any more. I asked my sales coaching clients to stick with me and I promised I would find an answer to this dilemma that was sweeping the nation.
I began my search for a new and better way to sell. I went online and watched sales training courses and found little help. Surely someone out there had an answer to this national sales dilemma. I attended conferences and found little help there either. I looked to the best of the best in the sales training business and found the same tired answers and techniques. I thought I would fall over dead if one more “sales expert” told me to “....work smarter and not harder.” As I sat in my office during that turbulent time, I thought back to my earliest years and really dug deep, searching for answers. I had looked forward for help unsuccessfully, so now I tried looking backwards instead. I mean waaaaay back. It didn’t take me to long, once I changed my direction of thought, to find the answer I was seeking. Often, when things are not going in the right direction you need to look at things from a completely different perspective. At first I resisted. I had been taught to not look back. To always fail forward. Come on, I have been in the sales and marketing business for nearly 20 years! I was just pushing forward hoping that by working harder, it would all be ok. I had thousands of ideas a week for my clients. The failure before me was not about a lack of ideas. Advertisers were just not willing to bet even one penny on a new idea. They had lost faith. They lacked confidence. They were just not going to take any risks on a new idea. They were in survival mode. I finally gave in and realized that I had no choice, I had to look backwards to find the answer. Not only did I find the answer to my sales dilemma, I found a new direction in my sales career. I found the answer that changed my life and the lives of the thousands of sales people looking to me for help.