The Essential Skills Media Salespeople Need

Peady’s Selling Engagement sponsored by IRD Prospector

Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.

Selling can be learnt. If you are new to media sales, an experienced sales person or somewhere in between, there are many selling skills that need to be mastered. 

For mine there are 5 essential skills that can make or break your sales career.

Asking great questions

I have found that the majority of sales people fail to effectively ask great questions. In fact, most ask low value questions such as “tell me about your business” or “what’s your budget?” or “can you explain your needs?” – irrelevant, ineffective and time wasting. 

Great salespeople ask questions designed to uncover real issues, opportunities or challenges. They use the answers to effectively position a solution for their product or service.

Active listening 

You can ask all the great questions in the world but if you don’t listen carefully to what the other person says they are wasted. Active listening means really hearing and understanding what people tell you (and what they don’t tell you!) 
One effective way to show that you have listened and understood is to quickly recap the key points to gain agreement.

Identifying needs

If you can’t process a customer’s responses and clearly uncover a business opportunity within their needs, then you will have a difficult time positioning your products/services as the ideal solution. Once the need or opportunity is “on the table” you need to confirm with the customer that its “real”, not perceived.
Additionally, the need or opportunity has to be of a high enough priority so that the customer will act on your recommendation.

Demonstrating value (not talking price)

Sooner or later the time comes to talk about the investment required and getting the customer to agree to your pricing. So how do you sell at the right price? In any list of buying motivations low price is never the primary motivation; it’s important and can be the deciding factor but never the primary one.

The biggest issue in the mind of most prospective customers isn’t price and isn’t value….it’s the risk. The risk of making the wrong decision. So, you need to demonstrate value and lessen the risk by using recommendations, case studies and testimonials


The top sales experts such as Zig Ziglar, Jeffrey Gitomer and Tom Hopkins define closing as “asking a question, the answer to which confirms the sale”. After you ask your closing question follow the golden rule of selling. Be quiet, wait for the answer.

The close of a sale is only one step in the sales cycle. You don’t just close a sale, you lead up to it by asking great questions, active listening, uncovering needs and demonstrating value while lessening risk. You then “earn” the sale by guiding your client to an agreement.

I’m sure many of you will ask about product knowledge, rapport building, prospecting and other skills. Yes, they are important however the five essentials are exactly that. Essential.

Until next week, good selling!


About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]