By: Alyssa Hamm

When you are calling on new business or meeting with a new advertiser for the first time, there are two things that can really help you set yourself apart from the local competition: establish yourself as knowledgeable about the industry, and let go of your self-interests and learn about the advertiser.

Establishing yourself as knowledgeable does not mean you need to establish yourself as the expert, or someone who “knows it all.” Instead, it means using your resources like Centro, Adweek, eMarketer and more to find relevant, interesting information about the space and passing it along when it makes sense.

Many sellers are tempted to lead with a product, or the “next new thing,” to get in the door with an advertiser. The stronger move would be to pair a solution you think might be a good fit for the advertiser (based on some previous research) with a stat or article about why it is the best choice for them. This allows you to highlight an offering, back up your recommendation with stats, and suggest a time to meet to discuss their goals.

Furthermore, when you get to the media planning stage, find ways to include research to validate your recommendation. Useful, relevant research and insights are hard to cancel. When used strategically, these can position you as the go-to source for digital information while helping to keep you top of mind when the advertiser is ready to make an investment.

Many sellers think the only way to get the attention of an advertiser is to present all their solutions—to prove that they have a full suite of products that is equal to or greater than the next guy. The issue with this approach is that you are discussing products and tactics that may not be relevant to the advertiser. The better route is to have a quick summary of your offering and partnership and then focus the rest of the meeting or call on them and their business.

For example: “I work for the Gotham Herald, and we have a full digital offering. Like a traditional agency, we have everything from traditional display to cookieless targeting to connected TV, but I really want to spend this meeting hearing about you and your business. I would love to hear about what drives success within your business, what advertising you have used in the past, and how you gauge success.”

Learn as much as you can from the client about their business. Then, start to introduce the idea of performance-driven campaigns and highlight how digital can provide real-time data which can lead to real-time campaign adjustments. Discuss the different ways you can measure and track campaigns—awareness, site traffic, and user action. This step is important because what you include on a plan will directly stem from who their audience is and how they will gauge success with a digital campaign.