Turn Data into Selling Points: Reciting Statistics Won't Work in This Market. Data Must Be Three Dimensional, Personal, Perceived as Pertinent by Your Clients before They Will Buy. (Ad Sales)

By Berman, Helen | Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management, January 2002 | Go to article overview

Turn Data into Selling Points: Reciting Statistics Won't Work in This Market. Data Must Be Three Dimensional, Personal, Perceived as Pertinent by Your Clients before They Will Buy. (Ad Sales)


Berman, Helen, Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management


For years, I never really understood what an acre was. You could tell me an acre is 43,560 square feet, or that it equals 1/640th of a square mile. But then if you told me your house sat on a 10-acre lot, I still wouldn't know whether to envy or pity you.

Finally, though, someone told me an acre was the same size as a football field, minus the end zones. Bingo. I got it. Now I know if I had a 10-acre lot, I'd have room for that tennis court I've always wanted.

Data, in other words, isn't the same as information. You can tell your prospects any piece of data you want: that your readership is 300,000, that average household income is $75,000, that your CPM is $12. But unless you put that data in context, you'll never turn it into information that your client can understand and act on.

In his book Information Anxiety, Richard Saul Wurman states: "Understanding is the bridge between data and knowledge." As salespeople, it's our job to create that bridge for our clients. But before we start throwing data at our clients, we have to ask ourselves two things: 1. What do we need to tell our clients to persuade them to invest in our publication? 2. What data can be turned into persuasive information?

Creating this "bridge," then, is really about positioning. We have to examine what perceptions our clients may already have about our publication. Then we must decide whether to build on those perceptions, or help our clients change them.

Because no two clients perceive your magazine exactly the same way, no two presentations should use the same "bridge" between your data and information. In my seminars, I refer to this as "kaleidoscope selling." In the same way kaleidoscopes create different patterns with the same pieces of cut glass, salespeople can use the same raw data to create different and compelling sales presentations. With our reader surveys, CPMs, pink sheets and editorial, we can create particular patterns that will excite our individual clients.

To use data to sell, take the following five steps:

1 Select the pertinent from the superfluous

When you are dealing with a "big thinker" client, someone who wants to hear what's new and different about your magazine, you don't need to drag out every renewal statistic from your media kit. Instead, home in on the data that works for her. You can talk about landing a guest columnist from the Washington Post, or how your magazine is the leader among the top-grossing poultry farmers.

Each client will be turned on by different pieces of data. Use your pre-call fact-finding to learn what excites your latest prospect, and keep the rest of your data in reserve.

2 Turn data into information

Remember, information is that which leads to understanding. Looking at the "acre" example again, I like visuals and sports, so comparing an acre to a football field works for me. But it might not work for your warehouse executive trying to plan the size of a new building. In that case, I might describe an acre as big enough to hold 5,000 pallets, or small enough to enable a forklift to travel from loading dock to back wall within 30 seconds.

Any fact can be turned into information. Say 22 percent of your readers have household incomes of $100,000 or more; nationwide, only 6 percent of households have that income level. You could tell your client:

* Our readers are nearly three times as likely to have $100,000 incomes.

* Our readers are 252 percent more likely to have $100,000 incomes.

* Of every 1,000 reader households, you'll find 220 with incomes of $100,000. …

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