Technology doesn’t make up for poor salesmanship

In today’s print media trade publications, the pages are hot with articles about new technology. Everyone is racing to out-do each other with the latest technological gimmicks. But in this business world that’s changing rapidly, there is still the overwhelming need for advertising salespeople who are innovators and problem solvers. The publication salesperson who can project creative ideas and breakthrough thinking is still in great demand.

Handling the prospective advertiser needs

Here are guidelines that are used by this writer to coach advertising salespeople on the firing line of prospect contact:

  1. At all times, project self-confidence and constant self-assurance.
  2. Tell the prospect you have a plan that is based on their needs. Never hesitate to ask about their budget—advertising agencies do.
  3. What works with prospect communication:Stress this dialogue: “We want to tell the story of your business, but we can’t tell the story of your business all in one ad. We can build an ad campaign if we know the reasons why people come to you and what benefits they can receive by shopping with you. We will take those reasons and build an ad campaign around them with a different reason in each ad that actually will become the heading of each ad.” This approach is very effective and makes a lot of sense to the prospect.

4.  Next the prospect needs to understand that the reality of a good ad campaign is that it will be like a rolling snowball, gradually picking up more readers with a repetitive, consistent approach.

5.  The critical point of the communication is to quickly ascertain if there are any objections to an advertising proposal. The ad salesperson now wants to know if the prospect believes and trusts the publication and pointedly asks if there are any objections that need to be discussed which would keep the customer from starting a long range program.

6. After covering any objections, the salesperson now begins a stronger role as an advertising counselor and proceeds to show the many ways how the prospect can utilize the publication services:

  • Print/digital package. How effective the combination can be and how the power of combined readership can help the prospect to achieve their new business goals.
  • Pre-print insert service. One of the great ways to get promotional impact. In most cases, a zoned insert approach can be extremely effective in targeting specific geographical areas.
  • Special promotions. Area promotions: small towns, business communities, and shopping centers. Subject promotions: dining,

bridal, building and home improvement, home decorating, etc.


Bottom line—we want your business

Finally, the ad salesperson has to  emphasize that his or her publication wants their business and to give enough reasons to show the prospect that their advertising program with the publication will be handled in a custom-designed, creative way. All the slick technology in the world will not sell prospects if they don’t like you…and don’t believe what you say. They want to know if they can absolutely trust you and have faith in your publication.