Sell more print and online advertising

September 11, 2012

By Jerry Bellune

One of the first questions new coaching clients ask me is how can my people sell more advertising? This is a common problem for all of us in newspaper advertising sales.
Our friend Scott Channell has the answer: Ask better questions. Through the questions we ask, Scott says, we uncover:
• True buying motives and how prospects actually make buying decisions.
• The specific conditions that we must meet for them to buy from us.
When interviewing a prospect or upselling a current advertisers, remember that:
1. People will tell us how to sell them—if we let them.
They love to talk about themselves and their businesses, goals and challenges. Let them. Steer them. Listen for information you can use to close.
2. Reward them by actively listening.
Most business owners and managers are frustrated because they feel they can’t talk about this with employees. Their spouses and children don’t want to talk about it. Then you come along and really listen. Who do you trust? Those who care about you because they listen to you.
3. Close on the details.
What we ask is important. Our follow-up questions are even more important. We gain details we can use to close through good follow-up questions.

21 questions to ask
your advertisers
1. Looking 12 months ahead, what is different about your market? What do you want to accomplish?
2. What are your major challenges? Major opportunities?
3. Tell me about your advertising and marketing strategies?
4. Are you experiencing problems retaining customers? Attracting new customers?
5. What do your customers tell you about their experience with your products and services?
6. How much time does it take you to plan your advertising and marketing?
7. What are your major concerns about your advertising and marketing?
8. Do you have available expertise for advertising and marketing?
9. Describe your biggest unmet needs in terms of sales, advertising and marketing?
10. If someone needs what you offer, what keeps them from buying from you?
11. Are there any common misconceptions customers have about your business?
12. What are the most significant benefits people get when buying from you?
13. What are your two most important sales events each year?
14. Who is your ideal customer? Where does most of your business come from?
15. Is your business experiencing the kind of growth you need and want? How are you dealing with this?
16. Is there anything else we should discuss before we discuss advertising options for you?
17. Are there other individuals involved in this decision?
18. How did you decide on your current advertising strategies?
19. What were the results in sales and revenues?
20. What are you doing now in regard to your advertising and marketing?
21. We have all had bad experiences. Have you had bad experiences with advertising you need to avoid?
Equip your account executives with these 21 questions, rehearse with them and watch what happens. Please let me know what kinds of results you get.
For Scott Channell’s tips and newsletter, write him at
September’s takeaway thought. Start your own sales educational program the easy way with my book, “Selling by the Numbers.” E-mail me for details at © The Bellune Co. 2012

Jerry Bellune’s new leadership book, “What It Costs to Be the Boss” will be out this year. He coaches newspaper owners the field-tested strategies of he and his family’s profitable publishing companies in South Carolina.

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