Do You Want an Ad This Week

Do You Want an Ad This Week

By Dave Baragrey


Too often our sales staff takes the selling process for granted when calling on customers. They walk in, start with a little light conversation about the weather, business climate or sporting event, then ask if they planned to advertise this week. This sets up the battle between salesman and advertiser.


We have seen it happen time and time again even if the question is never asked, “Do you want an ad?” The question is implied silently when our sales staff walks through the door. This is evident when the customer holds his hand up from the back of the store and yells “Nothing this week!” Realize no advertiser “wants” to run an ad. What they want is more store traffic…increased revenue…better profit margins…or increased market share. They never want an ad. They want the results that advertising can provide.


The opening statement sets the tone for the entire sales call. Everything that happens beyond this is a response to the opening statement. So what can we do to improve the opening statement that leads to better results? Following are some ideas to share with your sales staff that will help.


· Begin With a Startling Statement – Something that grabs the attention of the client. Something that will make them consider how advertising in your paper will improve their store revenue, profits or market share.

· Use Indisputable Information – Just provide the facts…nothing but the facts. Don’t give them a hook to hang their objections on. Don’t embellish the information.

· What is in it for Them – That is all they really want to know is how your paper is going to benefit their business. What role is your paper going to play in their business becoming more successful?


Using these three criteria, let’s write an opening statement. Since I am the Special Section guy of North America, let’s begin with an opening statement for selling a special section. We will use one from the TIGER WOODS TEACHES GOLF Special Section.


“How would you like to walk into a room filled with more than 1,000 golfers? How would you react? Would you want to talk to each one of them? (That might take some time) Would you want to give each person a brochure or information on your products and services?”


“Effectively, this is exactly what you will do with our TIGER WOODS TEACHES GOLF special section. Estimates are that 10% of area residents golf regularly. Another large percent golf occasionally. Both golfers and non-golfers recognize Tiger Woods as one of the top golfers of all time. Many of these golf enthusiasts are looking for ways to improve their golf game.”


Using this opening statement helps the client to visualize the number and type of people he will reach. You can adjust the number of people to visualize in the room to fit your circulation. The number is 1,000 if your circulation is 10,000 (10,000 X 10% of area residents golf regularly). Asking how they would react and what they would do helps them understand what their ad will do for them and help improve the value and importance of advertising in the Tiger Woods Teaches Golf special section.


We have used all three of the criteria in this opening statement to get our sale started off on the right foot.


Let’s write one you might use for advertising in your daily or weekly paper. We will use the same criteria.


“Were you aware that this week there will be $2,596,750 spent this week in our county on autos and auto parts? Our circulation audit and readership study shows that we can help you reach 63.7% of county residents that are going to spend more than 2.5 million dollars this week on a car, truck or related parts.”


The sales number came from Sales & Marketing Management’s Survey of Buying Power magazine (you should have a subscription to this). The Survey breaks out annual sales and demographics for metro areas and every county in the U.S. (They have strict guidelines for use of their material so buy as many copies as you need) Have the magazine in your hand along with your third party audit and readership study. The verification material is critical. These are facts when you can prove your statements.


Take the time to prepare some great opening statements to use when you walk in the door. If you are just asking “Do you want an ad this week?” I can give you the answer to that question here. The answer is no.


Here is a quote to remember:

“Radio news is bearable. This is due to the fact that while the news is being broadcast the disc jockey is not allowed to talk.”
Fran Lebowitz, US writer and humorist


Dave Baragrey is a business consultant and sales trainer for Publishers-Edge, a Special Section syndicate for print and on-line special sections, and consulting business specifically designed to help weekly and daily papers.

Websites –, www.Coupon-America.NET and


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