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Top 10 Ways to Close Advertising and Sponsorship Deals - 2/14/2012 -

Are any of the advertising or sponsorship opportunities in your pipeline stale? Do you have deals that you thought would close months ago, yet somehow they havenít?


By Kevin Graham

Most sales professionals suffer from challenges related to opportunities that never seem to close, or prospects that just donít seem to take that final step. Itís time to stop suffering and start closing those deals. Here are the top 10 ways to accelerate a deal to close (in reverse order):

#10 Adopt aggressive sales management. Itís not ideal by any means, and thatís why it ranks at the bottom of the list; but many a successful sales manager will proclaim that deals would never have closed if it werenít for micro-management. (On a more upbeat note, sales contests and other sales rep incentives fall under this category, too).

#9 Offer advertiser/sponsor incentives. This, too, is a bit of a last resort because compressing the sales cycle by way of a "fire saleĒ typically only results in reduced profitability, not to mention the accompanying sales rep frustration and customer anguish.

#8 Gain a bona fide customer commitment to the timeline. Granted, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and commitments are not always fulfilled. But galvanizing the key decision maker(s) to a timeline really does work wonders.

#7 Drive consensus of the management team. Agreement does not always equate to action, but having every stakeholder nodding "yesĒ is an important element when the decision needs group consensus. Solution selling is complex; think chess, not checkers. Not every decision maker has to say "yes,Ē but just about any one of them can say "no.Ē Getting everyone on the same page can be time consuming and costly, but it does lead to agreement and action.

#6 Be persistent with follow-up. Ah, the basics. Professional, value-based follow-up is magical. Out-of-sight is out-of-mind, so stay religious with your real opportunities and youíll reap the rewards of focused activity.

#5 Align your proposal to a strategic objective. Whether itís at the departmental or corporate level, if your opportunity helps the advertiser or sponsor achieve their stated goals, chances are itís closer to the fast lane. Even better, align it to an objective that is part of the decision makerís compensation or bonus program.

#4 Expose a personal win (gain) for the key decision maker(s). Itís important to understand the difference between a professional objective (see #5 above) and a personal objective. Uncovering the personal ambitions and desires of the individual(s) is a powerful method to get the potential advertiser/sponsor to take action.

#3 Tie your proposal to one of the customerís market opportunities. Show how your proposal will enable your advertiser/sponsor to provide an increased service level that will yield them (incremental) revenueóor shield them from losing (decremental) a current revenue stream.

#2 Demonstrate a strong return on investment (ROI). The best way to support this is through customer data. If the advertising decision maker recognizes that the department or company is losing money by not reaching your associationís target audience, itís a no-brainer to get moving sooner rather than later.

And finally, the number-one way to get a deal accelerated to closure:

#1 Tie your proposal to an impending event, trend, or regulation. Nothing is more motivating for an advertiser or sponsor than an impending event, trend, or regulation that they can capitalize on if they act in a timely manner. Show them how connecting with your association can get them on the front end of all the action.

Customer Intimacy

Many of these recommendations relate to customer intimacy. Remember, the customer is not buying an advertisement or a sponsorship; the customer is buying a solution to their problem. Zig Ziglar once talked about Home Depot selling 1 million quarter-inch drill bits per year. Yet, none of the customers actually wanted a quarter-inch drill bit; the customers all wanted quarter-inch holes. The same dynamics applies to your proposal, which you should learn to think of as a "solution.Ē

Kevin Graham is managing director for Empowered Sales Training and author of The Top Ten Ways to Accelerate a Deal to Closure.


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