AD SALES MEANS KNOWING THE BAD GUY
In my work as a consultant it surprises me how many ad sales reps know little or nothing about their competitors. One of the most important aspects of selling advertising is knowing your competitors as well as you know your own magazine. This is especially important when you are trying to sell an advertiser who is running in the competition and not in your own publication.
You learn a lot about the competition by doing your research. You should have a complete copy of their media kit, their circulation statement, know their cost per thousand and know what specials they are offering each month. You can do these things by going to their website. If their ad rates or circulation are not on their site you’ll need to get creative. I have had a pseudonym at a “pretend” company at a PO Box for over 20 years. I am on the circulation list of all of my competitors and I get their media kit every year. Also since I am a “prospect” I also receive all of their promotional mailings and emails. And one of the most important things you can do is READ their publication every issue. Once you see what they are writing about you will get an even better idea of their position in the marketplace and can talk about that to advertisers. And of course it goes without saying that you look at the advertisers than run in the competition each issue. Those are your prime prospects!
I was consulting for a company recently who was having trouble getting advertisers interested in their publication although they had a very solid circulation that was audited. I asked them about their competitors and they gave me the names of those magazines but they knew very little about them. I started my research by calling the competitors (posed as an ad agency) and asked a lot of questions. I requested a media kit and three back issues. What I learned when researching these magazines was that my client had a much better story than any of the other publications. As it turned out they had more circulation, more data on their readers, lower cost, lower cost per thousand and they were the only audited publication. The problem is that none of the sales reps knew this. I developed their “lead” list from the advertisers who ran in the competition and not in their publication. We developed a sales story for each competitor and then trained the sales reps on how to make the call. What is remarkable is that in a few short weeks they have signed up a few new advertisers and have several in the pipeline for next year.
If you don’t know who you are selling against, how can you possibly sell against them?
Sell more today!
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