How do I deal with objections to online advertising?

How do I sell online ads to businesses without an Internet presence?

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Selling digital advertising is extremely cost efficient for your newspaper – production costs are minimal and your only limitation is the number of page views on your website. Although, as I have been working with newspapers, especially the smaller papers, I have seen that the sales staff faces the challenge of getting the local businesses online. It's not that these businesses don't recognize the value of online advertising, it's simply that they either don't have a website, or they are not happy with their current online presence.

One of the techniques that I teach in my sales training seminars is to try to overcome objections before the prospect brings it up.  The first step in being able to do this is by making sure your salespeople know your product inside and out so they can anticipate objections.  This means that they should not only learn your value proposition in detail, but learn what objections the prospects may have to the sales pitch.

I always encourage salespeople to log everything. Make sure they track their efforts and make them accountable for the results. Each time a prospect says "no" to the pitch, have your salespeople ask them some version of this simple question: "How can I change this (sales offering) so that you will buy it?"

The answer to this question will help your team build a list of the universe of potential objections. There are some objections that you probably can't do anything about (price, for example). However, I have found that the most common objection to the online advertising pitch is: "I'm not happy with my website, so I can't benefit from banner ads."

The salesperson's response to this objection should be: "If I can build you a web presence which would funnel leads to your email box, are you ready to work with us?"

Nine times out of 10, the prospect's answer will be "Yes."

So here's the solution: build a template for a lead generation website. All it needs to be is one page which features information about the advertiser, along with a fill-in-the-blanks contact form.  I can't include screen shots in this post, but just e-mail me (allan@barmakgroup.com) and I will send you some great examples of lead gen forms.

Then, the banners the customer has bought on your newspaper's site will go directly to this new template. It is important that these templates reside on your web servers. This way, you own the website template and the customer can't leave you to use it somewhere else.  The URL of the website should be something like: www.yournewspaper.com/advertisers/nameofcompany. It doesn't matter that the URL address is long; people aren't going to need to remember the address in order to get there, since traffic to the website will come directly from the banners that are in rotation on your site.

With a template in place that you can now offer to all advertisers who need it, you have cleared a path to increasing your online sales since there is now no objection that you can't potentially overcome.

Allan Barmak is a national speaker and author of "The Accidental Salesperson." He leads a sales consulting and training firm which leverages his 20 years of sales experience in digital media. Over the years, he has worked with a variety of different companies across a wide range of industries, helping each of them expand their sales operations by optimizing existing revenue streams as well as building new ones.

He is available to run customized training for your salespeople to help them sell online media and can also deliver an "Accidental Salesperson" column for your paper if you would like additional content.

He can be reached at allan@barmakgroup.com or (703) 597-1033.

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