Pitching Creative Can Change the Game When It Comes to Ad Sales

Selling TV advertising in a disrupted media environment isn’t easy. Why not arm your sales team with a strategy that helps create demand while forging an emotional connection with clients?
Famous adman David Ogilvy once said “If it doesn't sell, it isn't creative.” He was referring to advertising, of course. But the same could be true in terms of Account Executives. In this business, you must be creative to sell. Getting past gatekeepers, overcoming objections, staying ahead of your competition… shall we go on? Selling TV advertising in a disrupted environment requires the ability to create demand. Wouldn’t it be nice if some of your challenges could be reduced or even eliminated?

The Challenges Reps Face

You can talk all day about how your station can reach the target audience a client is seeking. But often, the missing factor is the message and how that message will be presented to that target audience. That’s the creative. And it’s a crucial part of the equation when it comes to getting results for your clients.

Challenge #1 - Bad creative. We’re all adults here, let’s be honest.  Local advertising doesn’t have the best reputation for its quality. We’re not talking about your station, we’re talking about those “other” stations. And guess what, no one knows the difference. It doesn’t matter who is producing those unwatchable commercials; they’re all lumped into one category: local production.  So, you have to prove to businesses that they are not going to look like all the rest. That’s not always easy.

Challenge #2 - No creative. Some business owners, particularly those that are new to television advertising, have a difficult time visualizing what their ad campaign will look like. If they’re having a hard time picturing their business on television, this can put you at a disadvantage because you don’t have an emotional connection to what you are presenting. If they happen to have a large ad budget, you hate to see something like that make the deal go south.

Challenge #3 - Slow creative. There are times when it’s just hard to come up with a new or different concept.  You run out of ideas. This tends to slow down the process because it creates more back and forth between you and the client (and your production department).  You may eventually get there, but in the meantime, excitement levels drop. Attitudes change. And the whole experience isn’t as great as it should be. That doesn’t mean they back out completely, but it could prevent them from being a long-term, repeat advertiser.

Get Creative With Your Strategy

We could talk about many ways to overcome these challenges, but ultimately, they are time-consuming and in many cases, impractical. They range from writing a script ahead of time to storyboarding to even showing a similar idea from YouTube. A better way is to take advantage of creative sales tools readily available. A new program called ReadySpots has a growing library of pre-produced television commercials that sales teams can utilize for pitching creative to clients. It allows you to walk into a client meeting with the tools to overcome those challenges.

Upon first glance, ReadySpots might seem like it would be a production tool. But its function sits clearly in the sales realm. It simply and easily helps sales executives of all levels overcome these challenges. Pat Shaffer, an account executive with WDTV in Clarksburg knows this all too well. “Having pre-produced spots that can be customized to get on the air quickly makes a big difference. Many times, the hardest part of the sale isn’t the schedule they’re buying, it’s the creative. A pre-produced spot that the client likes moves the process along quickly,” says Shaffer.

By selecting a television spot that already has a clever concept with professional voice-over, music and graphics, he is able to present to clients exactly what their ad will look like, putting an emotional element into the pitch. The ReadySpots team then personalizes each spot to the specification of the advertiser, integrating their logo and other graphic customizations once they commit to the buy.

“I sold the very first ReadySpots ad that I pitched. It was a roofer to whom I had talked in the past, but had no intention of doing TV until he saw the spot - then he was sold,” added Shaffer.

Since there are no costs until a spot is sold, sales teams can take advantage of this service to present “spec spots” to clients that a television production team simply does not have the time or resources to do. In fact, ReadySpots will actually produce for you a spec spot at no charge for any category for which they do not currently have spots produced. “I needed a special spot to present to a car dealer,” recalls Lauren Breakell of WDBJ. “ReadySpots created a custom-made ad in a matter of days. The client loved it and committed to a full schedule, even wanting 3 additional spots produced!”

It’s easy to mistake ReadySpots for a substitute or enhancement to your production department instead of a sales tool. That’s because we typically think of creative coming after the sale. When you start reversing that thought process, you open up the possibilities and increase your chances of getting an appointment and closing the sale.

“What I like most about ReadySpots is the fact that you do not have to buy anything. You use it to sell - if the client likes it, they buy it (along with a schedule). If they choose not to, then you’re not out any money.” says Liz Knight of WALB in Albany.

Each spot is licensed by DMA on an annual basis. Prices vary but are very affordable. Currently, there are over 80 spots in 23 categories to choose from on the easy-to-navigate website, with new spots being added almost weekly. Later this year, they plan on launching a pilot program that is subscription-based for a select group of stations.

Pitching creative is not necessary for all clients, but it certainly is nice to have when you need it. To discover what more and more sales teams are using to open more doors and close more deals, visit readyspots.com.

We started with a quote, so we’ll end with a quote; this one by Earl Nightingale: “Everything begins with an idea.” Try beginning your sales calls with a great idea.