7 ways ad salespeople irritate their customers

July 3, 2013

By Bob Berting

At most of my newspaper customer seminars, I hear various comments from some of the attendees about their negative relationships with advertising salespeople from their local paper. Here are seven of the most talked about comments:


Being too aggressive and pushy

Sometimes, there is a fine line between being excited and enthusiastic about the publication—and being aggressive and pushy. Advertising prospects are sensitive to this approach. Advertising salespeople should be trained to understand good human relations, recognizing that most selling is based upon it. All the sales training programs in the world won’t help if salespeople don’t understand what I call “First Brain Communication,” which stresses emotional connection over hard sell logic. One example is to show your creative spec layouts for a campaign and get the prospect’s ego emotionally involved in the process, before discussing any facts and figures.

Even today, I’m still surprised at salespeople who push logic with facts and figures before getting the prospect emotionally involved in the layout presentation.


Wasting too much time

Failure to keep appointments, providing unnecessary information, taking too long to get to the point, and failure to ask for the order, are some of the time wasting situations that irritate many advertisers in their relations with advertising salespeople.


Running down competitor publications 

Though salespeople must be knowledgeable about their competition, they many times irritate their customers if they use that information to down them. Sometimes faced with the objection about a competitors lower rate, a simple “they know the value of their services” will suffice. Then proceed to show why you can give them more value with your services and your rates.


Talking too much

A classic complaint is that salespeople ramble on and on about unnecessary detail. Salespeople must know when to stop, listen, and be prepared to ask for the order. This is perhaps one of the biggest problems in communicating while selling.

Attitude of indifference after the sales is made

After a campaign is planned and the contract is signed, the salesperson has to maintain the same level of helpfulness and caring that he or she made before the sale. Indifference can create a negative relationship and can be a real word-of-mouth problem for the salesperson in the future.


Poor presentation

When I go out with salespeople in a coaching capacity, I am sometimes appalled at their presentation strategy. Many merchant prospects have complained that salespeople show features, but seldom demonstrate how their product will benefit the buyer’s business or help solve a problem. A good closing comment might be “I’m here to solve your marketing problems, not just spend your money.”


Dressing inappropriately

Though there is a trend toward informality, this should not be taken for granted. A merchant recently commented that the initial meeting may decide whether they want to see a salesperson again and the wearing apparel of the salesperson was a major factor in that decision. Wrinkled clothing, poor color selection, and out of date clothing style can damage a good relationship with a prospect.

There is a likeability factor in selling.  © 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 www.bobberting.com. Contact Bob at 800-536-5408 or at bob@bobberting.com. He is located at 6330 Woburn Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46250.

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