Selling with spec creative is by far the most effective way to build a successful career in Radio advertising sales. This article will help you learn how to overcome the most common stumbling blocks to selling with spec creative. When you’re done reading you will know how to easily sell using spec creative on every single sales call.
First, we need some perspective. Take a lesson from the biggest advertising and creative agencies in the world. Do you think they go out and hire a film crew and record a TV commercial before showing the client some different creative ideas using story boards? Of course they don’t, that would be too costly. They would waste a lot of time and their own agency’s money trying to guess what creative idea the client might approve. Just because production costs in Radio are less than the production costs in television doesn’t mean we should be cavalier about the process.
Most of the value of any creative branding message is contained in the words used in the commercial, not the production services. There will always be a production company that is willing to do the work for less money. It is the creative idea that is the most valuable component of the commercial. That is where your focus needs to be.
Poorly selected words and wonderful production makes for an ineffective commercial that won’t be remembered. But carefully crafted words that articulate a meaningfully different value proposition will always pull mediocre production across the threshold of consumer awareness and make its way into the consumer’s long term memory and that, is advertising success.
When you follow these easy steps to selling with spec creative you will also build up some protection against your low priced competitors who call on your new client with a cheaper offer.
To best describe these effective techniques for selling with spec creative, listen in to the sales call as this sales person starts selling with spec creative from the very first moment they walk through the prospect’s door.
Thanks for meeting with me today. You have a very nice store here. I’m very impressed with what you’re trying to do here. I believe I could write you a really compelling branding message about your business. What types of advertising have you done in the past? I pulled some stuff off of your web site. Is this the branding message you’re trying to communicate? How is that working out? Is that the message you want to stick with?
Not only is this sales person selling with spec creative from the very first moment but now they are also conducting a creative Customer Needs Analysis. They are talking with the prospect about the prospect’s branding efforts. The salesperson hasn’t said anything about their Radio station. This call is definitely off on the right foot.
You see, selling is not telling. Selling is asking. Selling is a process of asking a series of questions so that you can learn the real needs, issues and concerns affecting your prospect.
The salesperson is asking the prospect to do the talking. The salesperson is asking the prospect to talk about their business and their previous advertising efforts. They are asking the prospect about their opinion of their previous and current advertising efforts. The more questions you ask, the more needs you uncover. The more needs you uncover, the more sales you can make.
You are not going to be doing much telling in this sales call. You are going to be doing a lot of asking. Your goal is to learn what the prospect would like to communicate about their business so that you can come back in a week with a custom written, emotionally compelling branding script. Listen how this salesperson wraps up this call.
I have really enjoyed learning about your business and the things you are trying to do here. Based on what you have told me I’m even more convinced I can write some great branding messages about your business. I have so many ideas swirling around in my head right now I can’t wait to start writing them down. Could I come back and see you next week at this same time and show you what I come up with?
The skillful salesperson recognizes the possibility that if the prospect can meet this week at this time, there is a good likelihood they can meet again next week at the same time so they ask for a second meeting on the same schedule. If this prospect becomes a regular customer then this time slot could become their regular meeting time every couple of weeks.
When you are finished writing the branding message for your prospect you will not turn it in to be recorded. Not yet at least. Why would you? The words you have written have not been approved. You don’t know if you are even on the right track yet. You don’t want to waste time and valuable resources recording a branding message before it has been approved by the prospect. Most of all, you don’t want to wear out your welcome with the production department.
Some Radio folks may disagree with me on this point. They may say it is better to go back in with a fully produced branding message to demonstrate your capabilities and eagerness to earn the prospect’s business. They may even make the case that Radio’s quick turnaround in the creative department is one of Radio’s best selling points.
It is true that Radio has great flexibility when it comes to the creative process but it is my strong belief that we have squandered the very value of Radio’s creative strength and flexibility with a cavalier attitude about the work that goes into writing and recording a branding message. Have you ever heard another salesperson complain that advertising agencies like to push television advertising on their clients just because they can charge the clients for the video production services?
Let’s listen in as our salesperson returns to the prospect with the branding message script.
Thanks for meeting with me again. I am so excited to read you the words that I’ve come up with that could be used in a branding message. Now of course, we will get some professionals to actually record this if you like it but let me just read the words to you now.
When the salesperson finishes reading the branding message script, the scene is set to ask this very powerful closing question; “Could we run something like that”?
With few exceptions, you will surely get some kind of affirmative response. The prospect may want to change a few things so you can make the changes right there and re-read the branding message script and ask; “Would it be okay to run it like that”?
Now when the salesperson receives another positive acknowledgement, they can begin to discuss the proposed schedule for the branding message. The negotiations will go much more smoothly and ultimately lead to a sale because the prospect has “bought” the idea of the branding message. They want to advertise so consumers will hear their branding message.
There is a very significant reason not to record the branding message before the prospect has approved the words. When you treat Radio’s production value so casually, not only do you devalue your product but you give away a wonderful opportunity to increase your value as the creative director on the account and a sure fire way to protect your business from your no-good, low-down, price-cutting competitors down the street.
We all know the first call your new advertiser will get when the first commercial hits the airwaves will come from the other media with the standard offer that they can sell it to them cheaper. When you position yourself as the creative director on the account, you make it more difficult for your competitors to steal your business based solely on price. Let’s listen in as your competitor makes their case.
Competitor: Yes, I heard your commercial on WXYZ and I wanted to let you know that my station has lower rates. I can sell it to you cheaper.
Advertiser: Well that’s interesting. Who is going to do my commercial at your station?
Competitor: Oh, don’t worry about that, we’ll have someone in our production department take care of that.
Your competitor has just done you the biggest favor in the world. They have just singled you out as a special branding consultant who is focused primarily on the customer’s branding message. Your competitor has just created a huge problem for themselves. They have created an unanswered question in the customer’s mind; who is going to do my commercial at your Radio station? When they tell the customer not to worry about it and that “someone” in the production department will handle it, they unknowingly increase your value. Now the customer is forced to give up the one thing your relationship is based on, your attention to their branding message. Your customer bought your script writing skills. Your customer bought your attention to their branding needs. Your customer did not buy you because of low price. Your new customer bought you!
Ah, you say that’s all fine and good but you’re not a very good branding message writer. Excuse me? You are not any good at writing a branding message script? Well then, you had better get good at it or you had better get out of this business. Fortunately for you, there are many wonderful resources that can help you get good at writing effective branding messages. Even if you think you’re pretty good at writing effective branding messages, refresher training can only help.
Being a good branding message writer and selling with spec creative on every sales call is the competitive advantage that your no-good, low-down, price-cutting competitors down the street can never overcome with low price alone.