DON’T JUST SELL ADS
One of the biggest mistakes of ad sales people is that they spend their time just dialing for dollars trying to sell the next issue. The regular customers are usually happy for the reminder but it is the companies that are not regular customers that are the hardest to close; and they are the ones who learn your technique and soon find ways to avoid your calls all together. Just think how much easier your job would be if the companies that you call are anxious to hear from you and will drop everything just to talk to you. How is this possible you ask? What is the secret?
The secret to super successful ad sales is to serve as a company’s marketing consultant. Your primary job is to provide customers and prospects alike with pertinent, valuable marketing information that will help the customer do their job better. The best way to do this is to become an expert. There are thousands of sites and articles on the internet that talk about advertising effectiveness; what works and what doesn’t. Help your customers spend their ad dollars in the most effective way by teaching them about what works. You also need to become an expert in your industry or your community so that you can provide valuable insight on the trends in the marketplace.
In these economic times you cannot afford to just be an ad sales rep. You need to bring value to your customers and prospects every time you talk to them. Eventually your phone number will be on their rapid dial as they rely on you for all kinds of information. Once that happens what do you think will happen with their ad dollars? Not to mention the fact that you have been so important to their job that they will trust your recommendations. It is really pretty simple.
As an example I was visiting with a regular customer of mine in his office a couple of weeks ago. We were talking about how the economy had affected his business and he was afraid his ad budget would be reduced in 2010. We had a long conversation about how he could stretch his ad dollars by running inserts in my magazines rather than full page ads. He was very excited and wanted a proposal for that. During our conversation he mentioned a new start up company that he would be partnering with to help grow his business. I asked for his contact there. When I returned to my office I went to the new company’s website and learned exactly what they did. I called his contact at the company and asked a lot of questions about their product and marketing plans for it. She said they had not yet developed a marketing plan or budget but they were working on a press release. I asked her if she was going to exhibit at the big trade show in October and she said that they were. I then asked her if they would be holding a press conference there and she told me she didn’t know anything about it. I explained what I knew about it and told her I would send her a link to the show’s site that would allow her to sign up if she wanted to. I told her which time slots would be the best and why and then I offered to send her a list of all of the editors in my industry (yes competitors too), with contact information, so she could send them press releases. At the end of the call I mentioned that I would put together an advertising plan that would give her company high visibility as economically as possible.
I proposed a six time half page program starting in October for the trade show and running every other month through July 2010. Within three days I received the signed contract for the full program. She told me that she really appreciated the help and recommendation on an advertising program. She told me that my magazine would be the only one they would use.
Case in point, if you become a company’s marketing consultant the ads will come automatically.
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