How should publishers look for a sales training program?

May 3, 2013

By Bob Berting

A new wave of sales training programs are bombarding the newspaper 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 in a profitable clientele for them and their publication.

The major drawback is that the sales training experts who write and present these programs many times have little experience in the newspaper business. A great majority of them have either an overwhelming background in electronic media—or they are Internet gurus who have never worked in the newspaper industry. The material covers such topics as interviewing skills, needs analysis, quantifying measurable value, post sales analysis, etc. These are good, but unfortunately can apply to almost any type of salesperson and hardly focuses on the specific needs of a newspaper advertising salesperson.

The other aspect of this type of sales training is that the emphasis dwells 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 is led through this process, an action phase creates the sale. Again, note the informational process can apply to a broad area of selling and not targeted to the newspaper advertising salesperson.


What makes a good advertising sales

training agenda?

Self Motivation and intensive 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. In many cases there is an order taker syndrome rather than an advertising counselor reality.

Understanding media competition—In today’s selling climate, a good advertising sales counselor must know his or her media competition and how to outsell it. A good training program will show the advantages and disadvantages of other local media.

Plans, packages, and programs—The ability to present long-range programs and effective campaign packages is of paramount importance. Most media buyers want plans, packages and programs, which require creative thinking and extensive demographic evaluations of their market.

Creativity—The ability to create great ads—as part of a continuing program—is important. A good advertising counselor knows how to design eye-catching ads, write exciting copy, and put everything together for a long-range program, which basically tells the story of the prospect’s business.

The newspaper website—Although having a great website is important, there should be a balance between the print product and the online product. If dominant ads are the case for the newspaper, they must be emphasized on the website, too. Vertical banner ads are preferred over repetitive smaller unit ads, which fade away with time.

Most merchants today have endured the slick sales 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, not just spend their budget—salespeople who really know advertising strategy—salespeople who know how to develop the image of their business effectively. This is where a sales training program, conducted by experts who have extensive newspaper advertising sales experience, can really help. © Bob Berting 2013

Bob Berting is a professional speaker, newspaper sales trainer, and publisher marketing consultant who has conducted more than 1,500 live seminars, tele-seminars, and webinars for newspaper sales staffs, their customers, print media associations and trade associations in the U.S. and Canada. Bob’s advertising sales record in the industry is impressive. For 15 years, he averaged two cold contracts a week and sold 20 shopping centers on yearly contracts. He is the author of the best selling E-Booklet “Dynamic Advertising Sales and Image Power,” which can be ordered on his website Contact Bob at 800-536-5408 or at He is located at 6330 Woburn Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46250.

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