In an ideal world, working with customers would always be smooth and seamless. However, as a local media seller, you often have to manage relationships and expectations. Interactions with sometimes difficult advertisers happen. They have objections or questions about everything. You have to put on your consultative, strategic hat and weather these relationships to ensure they remain satisfied. Being responsive and transparent is key.

In your experience, you’ve learned how to handle these clients. Our sales experts have, too, and we want to share these learnings. Keep reading for tips on how to deal with difficult advertisers.

Show Them the Numbers

Every advertiser wants to see performance metrics on campaigns. Delivering this in a complete and clear manner can be a challenge. It depends on the reporting capabilities of your third-party digital platform. Some are vague or require expert knowledge to decipher, so the first step is making sure your reporting is accessible in this way.

Schedule time to review the campaign outcomes with advertisers to be proactive before the litany of questions starts. Go beyond the standard information on impressions, clicks and click-through rates to get deeper insights.

With advertiser-friendly reports, you can let them know which creative, geofence or location performed best. You can also show them the websites where display ads were served.

Go back to their goals for the campaign, and discuss how it met them. There are nuggets of learnings here that can inform and improve future advertising. Be thinking ahead to prepare for questions about metrics.

Guide Advertisers Through Decisions

One type of demanding customer is an indecisive one. They don’t feel confident in defining their goals, audience or targeting. They need your expertise here, or they’ll end up never following through or approving a campaign.

You can support this by:

  • Going through exercises on their business objectives and target audience
  • Providing them with samples or case studies for similar advertisers
  • Showing them directly in your third-party digital solution all the targeting capabilities so they understand their choices
  • Emphasizing the urgency to get campaigns running so they can deliver results

Set Realistic Expectations

Digital ad campaigns don’t immediately provide leads and revenue. Each tactic also has variances in performance. While you want to stay positive, you can’t promise the world. The first thing to do is review digital tactics and how they work.

Second, you should discuss the length of campaigns. For example, local SEM (search engine marketing) is a favorite ad type for businesses. However, short and underfunded campaigns don’t usually deliver leads on day one or even day 30. If they want to use paid search, be clear that it should be at least a three-month campaign.

Third, refer to campaigns you’ve executed for other customers and why they worked. With this story, the advertiser can understand all the best practices around budgets and timelines.

Doing these things can help you avoid their anger around unrealistic expectations. Additionally, you can advise how and if optimization can occur on a campaign in flight.

Practice Empathy

It’s easy to get frustrated with clients. You have a knack for building relationships with trust, and your empathy goes a long way here. Through active listening and engagement, you can identify why they may be difficult — previous bad experiences, fear of losing control over ad management or a lack of knowledge of digital advertising.

Whatever those insecurities are, respond with empathy. Put yourself in their position, and provide them with resources that can help. This will help mitigate friction and get everyone on the same page.

Explain How You Execute Orders

Third-party digital doesn’t need to be a mystery, yet many of your competitors approach things this way. They think customers don’t care about how it works. While you don’t want to be too granular or technical, a basic explanation of how you traffic ads and what their workflow looks like turns the unknown into the known.

Check out this resource: How to Explain Digital Advertising Tactics to Your Advertisers

Difficult Advertisers Can Become Long-Term Customers with the Right Approach

Using these strategies and your tact and expertise, you can ease advertiser concerns and objections. Setting expectations, being transparent and providing critical information can solve many issues. For more tips on working with advertisers, read these posts:

Making the Case: How to Demonstrate Digital Advertising ROI
Is Your Sales Team Prepared to Handle Advertiser Objections?