Sales Training Tip, How to Sell More in Today's Competitive Market

Sales Training Tip, How to Sell More in Today's Competitive Market


I received your newsletter. Thanks again. I wanted to ask you a question. I work for a parent magazine that is distributed for free to parents throughout the local area. I sell advertising space in the magazine. Our magazine has been around the longest. It started in (our area) and has branched out to include (surrounding areas).

However, there are 2 other parent magazines that are distributed in the same area. One of the magazines has been in our county since 2000. The other magazine (has been around in maybe the same time frame)

1. How do I convince the advertisers that our magazine is a good place to advertise? I receive a lot of objections that include things like:

"We already advertise in ABC magazine and it is distributed in the same way as yours."

2. I go to all of the advertisers that advertise in the other magazines to try and get them to advertise in ours. I also go to companies that don't advertise in the magazines and sometimes even have better results because I don't get that objection. However, with the companies that don't advertise in the parent magazines I have to convince them that advertising in a parent magazine is good because it is a very targeted audience and everyone who reads this is a parent.

Gavin says:

Thanks for your ongoing readership of my newsletter - remind your friends that they can subscribe free at but don't tell your enemies!

The situation that you are facing is very common and not distinct to your marketplace... I'd like to tell you a little story...

Once upon a time, in a far off land there lived a happy salesperson that had products and services that were new and fresh. He had no competition and he could easily stay ahead of the marketplace. The clients loved his visits because he could educate and entertain them and they were always enthralled by his amazing new solutions to their problems and challenges...

Did this mythical, unicorn of a salesperson ever exist? I doubt it! I agree that the marketplace is maybe quicker and faster than it ever was but sales is all about competition. If you have a good idea, someone will nick it! If you had some time in that mythical, fantasy land of being the only magazine in the marketplace then great but it was never going to last... The aim of the game now is to help your clients to understand that you are bigger, better and more relevant for their needs than your competitors.

Here are some tips...

1. Stop trying to convince them and start "knowing" that you're the best.

Sit down and think about all of the services that you have and offer that are better than those of your competitors. Clients don't like desperate salespeople. You need to "act as if" you are the only company worth dealing with in the marketplace. Remember - perception is projection.

2. Remember that your clients probably don't really think that you are all the same.

But they know by telling you this they put you on the back foot. Most clients think that they have the upper hand and that we are all desperate to do business with them at any cost. Don't be so eager, take your time and plan your responses to start to redress this balance.

3. Plan and learn objection handles for common objections.

Preparation is key to sales. The only way you will get better is by thinking through situations and asking yourself the question, "How can I deal with that better next time?"

With your specific objection...

"We already advertise in ABC magazine and it is distributed in the same way as yours."

What about something like...

"That's fine I'm not asking you to change now, merely have a look at our services to see how they might complement your existing services."


"That's fine, business is built on relationships. At this stage, all I want to do is find out a little more about you and your business and see how we might be able to benefit you in the future."

Or even...

"That's great. I'm pleased you realise the importance to your business of advertising in this medium however our distribution is not the same as theirs. I'm not asking you to change now, merely have a look at our services and see how they might complement your business objectives in the future. Tell me, how often do you advertise with...?"

Remember - the objective is to get them talking, find out why they are using the service, discover their objectives, understand how successfully they are meeting those objectives and then offer something better and more relevant to them.

For more on objection handling have a look at my book Objections! Objections! Objections! available on ISBN 1-905225-05-9.

4. Perception is everything.

Even if your services are exactly the same as your clients (or indeed are not as good!) it is whether the client thinks they are or aren't that matters. This means that you can ALWAYS create the perception that your services are more relevant to them.

On your second point, you are right in your strategy. There is no-one more destined for failure than a one-trick-salesman. You need to be approaching both new customers to the service and customers of your clients. As you have rightly pointed out, these two groups of customers will often require different sales strategies.

For the potential clients who don't advertise at present make sure that you keep the pressure off to start with. They will more than likely have been "sold" to before so when they object that they "have looked before and it's not for them" objection handle with a gentle reframe...

"That's fine. I'm not asking you to buy now merely have a look at how our services might complement your existing advertising strategies. Tell me, how do you currently...?"

Then get interested in their current situation, how they advertise, what their objectives are and how you might be able to help them now or in the future.

Let's face it - until you ask and listen you're not going to know whether you can help them or not.

Best of luck and remember to sell with passion.

For the last 10 years, sales motivational speaker and author, Gavin Ingham has been helping sales people to explode their sales performance by turning self-doubt, fear and lack of motivation into self-belief, confidence and action. With his inspirational approach to sales performance and motivation Gavin combines commercial experience, personal excellence and communications technologies in delivering personal and business sales success.

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