What Should Publishers Look For In A Sales Training Program?

A new wave of sales training programs are bombarding the print media industry.  Although most of them are well structured and are developed by sincere people, they miss the mark of what advertising salespeople need to develop a profitable clientele for them and their publication.

The emphasis seems to dwell on step-by-step procedures based on classroom theory rather than actual field experience.  The thrust of these programs deals with an information gathering process which develops into a feedback phase, which leads to positioning the value of the product to achieve the goals of the prospect.  After the prospect has been led through this process, an action phase initiates the sale.

As a media buyer (for the last 18 years), I am subjected to this sales approach from all salespeople, not just print media salespeople.  It is the same old approach that is easily recognizable and perceived as a basic selling strategy.

All salespeople need to understand the buyer and their needs . . . and to be able to listen . . . and diagnose.  But shotgun selling techniques which will work for computer salespeople or office supply people are not targeted for advertising salespeople and their prospects.

What makes a good advertising sales training agenda?
Self-Motivation (Self-Confidence) 

All the sales training in the world won’t help if advertising salespeople have poor attitudes and have no desire to improve themselves.  (Proper coaching will help.)
Understanding Media Competition

In today’s selling climate, a good advertising sales counselor must know their competition and how to outsell it.
Yearly Planning/Budgeting

The ability to present long-range programs and effective campaign packages is of paramount importance.  Most media buyers and retail advertising prospects want plans, packages and programs which require creative planning and extensive demographic evaluations of their market.
Creative Ad Campaigns 

The ability to create great ads which are part of a continuing program is important.  A good advertising sales counselor knows how to design great ads, write exciting copy, and put everything together for a long-range program.  Regardless of the most dynamic sales training programs, the big weakness is the relationship with the client.  If the content and confidence level of communications with clients are low, the client’s perception of the salesperson will be low.
A major point in advertising sales is this:

The salesperson has to do a better job of researching the prospect. The endless fact-finding calls are not effective today.  Even so, the prospect must trust and believe in the advertising salesperson before they will “open up” and divulge their goals, budgets and product information.  They must like the salesperson . . . there must be a likability factor.

Most merchants today have endured the slick sales training approaches and know all the ploys and step-by-step selling procedures . . . what they want are advertising salespeople who can help them solve their marketing problems . . . salespeople who know advertising strategy and how to develop an image of a business.