On day two of the Blinder Group/SNA Revenue Leadership Summit, Mike Blinder, President of The Blinder Group, accompanied by Howard Finberg, the Interactive Learning Director at The News University Poynter Institute, hosted a live broadcast webinar. The webinar was the third part of a series on “Bridging the Gap between Content and Commerce,” a subject every newspaper in America is struggling to tackle. The topic presented featured a comprehensive review of a successful and effective sales process based on Mike Blinder’s “humble opinion.”
While he made mention that the program featured his “humble opinion” a mere 36 times within the webinar, the take-away was far less humble than he so described. His process looked at local and direct digital sales. It had simple steps that made big impacts.
Step one: Get in the door. If 20 prospects lead to eight contacts that will lead to three pitches and potentially one close, Blinder says. You cannot neglect the importance of constant prospecting. New businesses, old businesses, it doesn’t matter, sell them all. When you do get in the door, Blinder says there are easy ways to ensure you impress your prospect. Be busy. “Busy people respect busy people,” he says.
Busy people respect busy people”
“From now on, your calendar is always full.” Have a shiny toy statement. “Always bring something new, with limited availability.” Think mobile; use the newest technologies in ways you can only imagine. Garner contact information if you don’t already have it, and set up a call for ascertainment.
Step two: build rapport. I won’t go into as much detail as Blinder did—you’ll have to tune in for his next webinar to hear all eight steps to building rapport, but the noteworthy steps will be discussed. Remember their name. Try repeating it back to them, and then using it in a sentence. Learn to listen. Get them to talk about themselves, if they had ample time to talk about their wonderful product or service they’ll come away with positive attitude toward you and your paper. Maintain eye contact and watch their body language.
Step three is to ask the right questions. Remember to sell reach and frequency rather than inches. Times are changing and so are sales. Also, as Blinder says, be FAB. Announce your features, advantages and benefits; “no one cares about your circulation any more, they care about ‘what’s in it for me.’”
No one cares about your circulation any more, they care about ‘what’s in it for me.’”
And finally, make the close. Blinder emphasized the hypnotic closing technique. Teach your reps the skill and they’ll be sure to increase their sales rates. With the hypnotic close, have your reps do plenty of research on the company prior to the meeting. Have a printed copy of the prospects website and a feel for their company. Then, have them create a spec ad before the meeting. This way you can create ownership with the ad for Mr. Advertiser before an agreement is made and makes the close easier to reach. Let them look at the spec ad, if they suggest changing the color from blue to green; you’re in, in Mike Blinder’s “humble opinion” anyway.