Recruitment ad sales seem to be especially challenging for some ad reps, while others drive much more business in the right direction. Is it luck? Experience? A better publication with a broader reach? Maybe, at least in part, but there’s more to it than that.
In any advertising, the most important thing from the advertiser’s perspective is getting a response. Or at least, it should be, but some people aren’t even aware that the usual approach isn’t all that effective. Where some reps talk budget and ad space, some of the most successful ones talk about results. And that’s is all that really matters anyway.
Here’s what some of the most successful ad reps are doing, and why it’s better than the same old thing.
#1: Approach Prospects with Results-Centric Focus
Them: Offer ad value based on current spend
You: Use data to tailor ad spend to a profit goal
Traditionally, prospecting goes a little something like this. The ad rep has a lead, and with that lead comes at least some information about where the prospect is currently spending their recruitment ad budget.
Using that information, the rep formulates an approach that attempts to sway the advertiser away from one publication to another with statistics about circulation, subscriptions or any number of traditionally important points. If that sounds familiar, then read on.
A better way, and one that likely surprises the prospect, is to ignore where and how he’s spending his budget lately and instead talk about what job ad placement in your publication can do for him. It’s a goal-centric approach, which advertising guru Bob Mcinnis says shows the prospect that you’re more interested in providing the right service than making a sale. What a concept.
#2: Don’t Debate Realistic Objections
Them: Rebut objections
You: Listen and shift focus away from objections
Rebut, rebut, rebut. That’s the age-old selling technique, and it even works once in a while. Traditionally, sales reps are armed and ready (maybe even with a script) to give a lengthy explanation of why the potential advertiser’s concerns aren’t valid or that they’ll be overcome “this time.” Problem is, he already knows that his misgivings are valid.
If nothing changes, the same problems will remain. And then you’re just debating, which often ends badly. Either the advertiser will grudgingly spend the money, or he might look elsewhere if the job ads he’s placed haven’t gotten the kind of response that he wants or at least hopes for.
The old method failed? Of course it did, and that’s why it’s so important to listen to what you have to say. Explain why circulation to more sets of eyes isn’t as important as getting ads in front of the right sets of eyes. And of course you’ll also need to show why your approach will be successful. What anyone who places a job ad needs is a response from job seekers. That’s the real bottom line, over circulation or anything else.
#3: Base Campaign on ROI
Them: Fit ad to the budget
You: Base ad campaign on ROI
A typical sales rep talks about the advertising budget. How did the last ad perform? Would spending more get a better result? The rep finds out how much the advertiser can spend, perhaps tries to nudge it a bit higher for better exposure, and the conversation is essentially all about money.
That almost completely ignores the most important thing, which, again, is the response that the advertiser can expect from his job ad. Budget-focused conversations don’t tell the advertiser what he’ll get, only what he’ll get to spend this time.
What advertisers need is information about the return on investment or ROI for placing a job ad with your publication. What’s in it for him? Ad reps need real data on performance, and they need to be prepared to explain it in detail. How are job ads for other advertisers performing? What’s their ROI? That’s real data, not speculation based on spending more and more. And it’s also what makes your conversation so much different from other reps.
#4: Shift Focus From Traditional Questions
Them: Give circulation and subscription statistics
You: Treat the ad campaign as a whole
It’s such a prevailing theme that ad reps the world over talk about it. Circulation, subscription numbers and ad frequency have traditionally equaled getting results. If the results aren’t there, then the solution has been to find ways to be seen by more people. And that invariably equals wishing for a huge budget but settling for what’s realistic.
Unfortunately, most advertisers who have been around for more than a little while already know that no matter what’s spent, response can still be a toss up. A jaded view about the whole thing comes from too much time spent circling around and around while the real issue gets ignored.
No matter how visible a publication happens to be, the bottom line is always results. Problem is, most advertisers are so accustomed to asking about demographics and all of the other usual questions that they might not even realize there’s a better way. By shifting focus away from so many numbers that don’t matter in the first place and toward the job ad campaign and results as a whole, advertisers gain brand new insight and perhaps a brand new excitement about job ad placement.
Being an ad rep has never been an easy job. Sometimes you approach prospects who have no idea about what to expect and you spend your time selling the space. And sometimes you encounter the callused advertiser who doesn’t like the results that he’s gotten with any publication in the past, but the ads have to run, so he considers the whole ordeal a necessary evil with marginal benefits.
What sets the better reps apart is the ability to demonstrate to advertisers why an ad will be a success. That takes real data – Big Data – but it’s all within reach. Using the RealMatch Business Intelligence (BI) System, you can access all of the data that advertisers need, such as job ad performance, market trends, job seeker trends, and much more. Suddenly you’re so much more than an ad rep; you’re a rep with all of the right answers.
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