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The upcoming America East
Technology & Operations Conference, running April 8 – 10 in
Hershey, Pennsylvania, will feature several educational sessions
including a presentation from LMA.
On Tuesday, April 9, Al Cupo, VP, Operations, Local Media
Association and Shannon Kinney, Founder, GM & Client Services
Officer, Dream Local, will present “Lessons from Around the
World: Best Practices in Revenue Generation.”
They’ll explore case studies and best practices from around
the world, featuring innovative programs in digital advertising,
social media and search programs, audience growth, company
transformations, sales structures and more. The session will
include key takeaways and opportunities to get follow up
specifics on each case study.
With all the talk of digital agencies
and the swirl of activity surrounding
them, one thing is often overlooked:
the conventional sales approach of the
I once met with the owner of a small
business for whom the newspaper
company I worked at had helped
develop a website many years before.
When I asked him why he wanted to
meet, he turned his monitor towards
me and began pointing to things he
didn’t like and which he wanted to
change on his site.
At that point I realized that I could
have gone along with him and merely
been a sales-taker, or a clerk controlled
by my client.
But my true job was to help him
increase revenue, sales and profit, and
a consultant and so I redirected our
conversation to that end.
I began to ask questions, but I then
offered some insights on how site
design had improved over the years and
that businesses in his industry were
spending approximately 25 percent
of their annual marketing budget on
website maintenance, something he
had not done in years. And I suggested
that perhaps we needed an overall look
at the current user-interface and what
works on his website, and what doesn’t,
before moving forward with Band-
Aids. I bolstered this with talk about
new technologies now available and
even pointed to some innovative eye-
And so in taking this consultative
approach, I controlled my urge to first
sell him another website widget, or
tool, or some
in my sales bag.
What I did here
was to challenge
him to rethink
his site goals.
In doing so
traditional “solution selling” with
“insight selling”–a strategy that
demands a radically different approach
to your client relationship.
When you make contact with a
prospect for the first time you should
think about how you will frame the
future of that relationship. We want to
position ourselves from the beginning
as someone more than an order taker
or a fulfillment clerk. You want to be
perceived as a partner that can bring
insights to the business and thus
increase the value proposition well
beyond that of the competition’s.
Years ago, selling traditional media
meant product pushing. Ad buyers were
well versed in buying print advertising
and it was not a very complex purchase.
Everything was pretty much a variation
on placement and size.
Then came the digital-age. And
selling Internet and mobile products
forced most sales teams to move to a
solution-selling strategy where you seek
out current marketing concerns in a
question-and-answer dialogue with the
person responsible for advertising. This
is often known as needs-analysis.
However, more and more, successful
account executives are beginning
to use an in-sight selling approach.
This approach goes hand-in-hand
with a strategy based on delivering
provocative insights to a prospect. It
differs dramatically from the product-
based selling that relies strictly on
selling by features and benefits in a
Many small-and medium-sized
business owners are under immense
pressures in all areas of their business
and may not have the time or
experience necessary to understand the
complexities of digital marketing today.
The key here is to identify if your
client has progressed beyond basic
digital marketing and needs assistance
to uncover ideas that he or she may
not have thought about before using
And by provocation questions, I
don’t mean to suggest being impolite or
disrespectful. You don’t want to make
a prospect feel foolish or dumb. As
you construct your questions do so in
ways that will not provoke a defensive
Provocation is insight selling. You
are using innovative, disruptive ideas
to frame the conversation, uncovering
new needs that the prospect may have
not thought about up to this point.
The path to this insight approach
requires continuous learning and
education. You have to know what is
going on in the industry and always
be sharpening your digital marketing
tools. You need data and research to
back up your provocative insights.
This novel insight-method is
an about-face from everything we
have been taught in sales for so
long. Perhaps even disruptive to the
traditional way we sell advertising.
“ The concepts of insight selling
are discussed in-depth in the soon to
be released LMA Sales Certification
Sales & Marketing
Director • LMA
Time For Disruptive Selling?
I replaced traditional
“solution selling” with
strategy that demands
a radically different
approach to your client
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