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  1. Test Your Prospecting Skills
  2. Test Your Objection Handling Skills
  3. Test Your Closing Skills

Test your
Prospecting Skills

Slick is a seasoned account executive who has been selling magazine advertising for over 4 years but like many of us he continues to make the same prospecting mistakes on every call. For the past 2 hours Slick has been on the phone calling anyone and everyone that might advertise in his publication, but he has had no luck. He's ready to throw in the towel but decides to give it one last try. Follow Slick on his next 2 calls and see if you can identify at least 15 costly selling mistakes. Then answer the 10 skill testing questions.

Can you find the 15 prospecting mistakes?

Slick: Good morning, it's Slick calling from Best Publishing, can you please tell me who handles the advertising for your company?

Receptionist: May I ask what this is about?

Slick: We are the publishers of On Target Magazine. It is the leading publication in your industry.

Receptionist: Thanks for calling but our advertising budget is frozen, so we're not interested right now.

Slick: (Slick has heard this excused before so heís not about to give up.) I understand but, could I just get the name of the person that handles your advertising so that I can send a free copy of our magazine and a media kit?

Receptionist: Why donít you just mail it to me and Iíll pass it on.

Slick: That would be great. Thank you for your help. (Slick gets the details, sends the kit and marks his calendar to follow up next week).

Discourage but not defeated Slick decides to make one last call.

Slick: Good morning, it's Slick calling from Best Publishing, can you please tell me who handles the advertising for your company?

Receptionist: The person who handles our advertisings is Bob Baxter.

Slick: Is Bob in?

Receptionist: One moment please.

Bob: Hello, Bob Baxter speaking.

Slick: Bob, good morning. My name is Slick and Iím calling from Best Publishing. How are you today?

Bob: I'm fine.

Slick: Bob, we are the publishers of On Target Magazine which is the leading publication in your industry. The reason I'm calling is I was hoping to get a few minutes of your time to tell you about our publication and editorial calendar.

Bob: I'm too busy to meet right now so why donít you tell me what this is about.

Slick realizes that this is his only chance to impress Bob so he quickly jumps into his presentation.

Slick: Bob as I mentioned we are the leading publication in your industry and we are recognized as having the best editorial content and highest readership. By running an ad in our publication youíll reach over 15 thousand readers every month so advertising in our publication is a cost effective way to promote your products and services.

Bob: Thanks for calling, but I'm not interested right now.

Slick: Would it be okay if I sent you our media kit and rate card, just so that you can get a firsthand look at our magazine?

Bob: Sure.

Slick: Great, I'll send it out today and call you next week to see if you have any questions.

A week later Slick calls back.

Slick: Bob, it's Slick from Best Publishing. Last week I sent you our media kit and rate card. Have you had a chance to take a look at our publication?

Bob: Yes I took a quick look, but your CPM is too high. I can reach the same target market through another magazine for about 20% less.

Slick knew this was going to happen. In fact he's been telling his manager that the published advertising rates are too high but no one is listening. If they would only lower the CPM heíd be able to land dozens of new accounts.

Slick: Bob, I'd really like to get your business, so let me talk to my manager to see what I can do. Iíll get back to you tomorrow.

Next day

Slick: Bob, it's Slick from Best Publishing. I talked to my manager and I'm pleased to offer you a full 20% discount.

Bob: That's great but besides price I'm not sure that magazine adverting is the best way for us to promote our products so let me think it over and I'll get back to you.

Slick: Thank you for considering our publication. If there's any further information you need just give me a call.

Skill testing prospecting questions

1. What response will land the appointment when the prospect says?
I'm not interested, I'm happy with our marketing campaign.
Not now; call me in 6 months.
We don't do any print advertising.
Send me a media kit first.

2. Most prospects decide within the first 6 seconds, whether or not to meet with you. What must you say to instantly pique their interest? (Clue, it's not telling them about your magazine.)

3. To be successful in ad sales you must contact a decision maker. What single criteria makes someone a decision maker? (Clue, it's not the person that can give you the insertion order.)

4. Give 3 examples of how to get past a receptionist that is screening calls.

5. What easy-to-use technique will circumvent voice mail? (Clue, it's not leaving a message.)

6. How can you prevent the prospect from saying "I'm too busy to meet with you"?

7. Offering a Universal Benefit is the key to prospecting success. What is the president or owner's Universal Benefit?

8. Prospects don't want to deal with an ad salesperson; they want to work with someone that understands their industry. What must you do to position yourself as an industry expert?

9. Marketing managers are one of your best prospects. What should you offer a marketing manager that is happy with his present marketing campaign?

10. "Bob, I can be at your office tomorrow at 9 am. Is that time convenient for you?" Why should you never ask this closing question?

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Test Your
Objection Handling Skills

From first contact to closing, objections are an intricate part of the selling process.

  • Call on a new account and you'll hear "We're not interested, we're happy with our current campaign".
  • Ask for an appointment and the response is likely to be "I'm too busy so call me in 6 months" or "Send me a media kit first".
  • Mention CPM and you'll hear "I can reach the same target market for less".
  • And ask for the insertion order and the answer is usually "Let me think it over and I'll get back to you".

Test your ability to handle objections
Here's your chance to measure your ability at this all important selling skill. See if you can answer the following 10 skill testing questions.

1. The most effective way to handle an objection is to prevent it from occurring. What simple technique will prevent your prospects from saying;
"I'm not interested in magazine advertising"
"I've looked at your media kit and your CPM is too high"
"Our ad agency handles all media buys"?

2. How can you close the prospect that wants to talk to his partner first?

3. What simple test will instantly tell you if the objection is true or false?

4. How can you land the account when your prospect says "I wants to think it over"?

5. How can you get the insertion order without answering your prospect's objection?

6. What simple statement will force your prospects to answer their own objections?

7. What is the first thing you must do when your prospect objections?

8. When you're stumped by your prospect's objection, what response will buy you time to think?

9. What 3 techniques will allow you to land the account when the prospect says "We don't have the budget"?

10. How can you close the sale when the prospect says "We've decided to hold off until the next quarter"?

Your success in ad sales is directly proportional to your ability to overcome objections
Sooner or later every sales presentation reaches a pivotal point, where landing the account teeters on your ability to overcome the prospect's resistance. In other words, your success is directly proportional to your ability to overcome objections, so don't leave this skill to chance.

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Test your
Closing Skills

Can you turn prospects into paying advertisers?

Making a strong presentation that shows your prospect the advantages of advertising in your publication is a waste of time, unless you follow through with the all important step and close the sale. In fact, account executives that have strong closing skills are 5 times more successful than the average ad salesperson. So here's your chance to measure your ability at this all important selling skill. Read the following scenario and see if you can identify at least 5 costly closing mistakes. Next try to answer the 10 skill testing closing questions.

Closing scenario. Can you find the 5 closing mistakes?
This is Tom's second meeting with Pat, the media buyer. Tom has just made a powerful presentation that justified the CPM and showed Pat the benefits of advertising in his magazine so Tom is ready to ask for the insertion order.

Salesperson: Pat as you can see, our publication is the most cost effective way to reach your target audience, so would you like to go ahead with this campaign? As I've mentioned our magazine reaches of 15,000 decision makers so you'll be very satisfied with the response.

Pat: I like what you've shown me so let me think it over. Call me next week and I'll give you an answer.

Salesperson: Thanks for the opportunity and I look forward to talking to you next week.

Skill testing closing questions
1. Most prospects will try to delay making a buying decision. What technique will allow you to overcome their procrastination and get the insertion order?

2. What response would turn these common objections into insertion orders?
Let me think it over and I'll get back to you.
I need to talk to my partner first.
I'd like to look at a few other publications before I decide.

3. What must you never do after asking a closing question? (This common mistake is costing you sales.)

4. Most salespeople know one closing technique but most sales do not occur until the ______ closing attempt.

5. Closing at the wrong time can be a costly mistake. When is the only time to ask a closing question? (Hint. It's not at the end of the presentation.)

6. Why should you never ask for an insertion order?

7. How can you test the water to see if your prospect is ready to be closed?

8. Instead of giving you an insertion order the prospect says I'm still not sure about the size of the ad, so why don't you get back to me next week. How would you close the sale now?

9. Give 5 examples of how to land the account without asking the prospect to buy.

10. Prospect: If I decide to go ahead with this campaign, can I get into the next issue? Salesperson: Absolutely, as long as I get your artwork by the 21st. What costly closing mistake did this salesperson just make?

Nothing will have a greater impact on your sales than developing your closing skills
Not to minimize the importance of making a powerful presentation, but if you haven't mastered your closing skills you are losing sales, because prospects don't give insertion orders to the salesperson that sold them; they advertise with the account executive that closed them.

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