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Keep Media Sales Reps from Wasting Your Time

Posted by on 12:20 pm

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Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Your ad sales rep! And I’ve got a great special for you, but you have to sign up today! Let me just have two minutes of your time…

Sound familiar? I know, I know –  not all ad sales reps are like this. We have our favorites too, people who’ve been good partners to our agency for years and we are grateful to have them. But then there is the “other kind of rep.” The sales person who thinks they need to be in your inbox or on your phone several times a day. These distractions can drive a business owner absolutely nuts.

We’ve discovered a few ways to rein in the peskier sales people over the years, and we’ll share them with you…Just give us two minutes of your time!

make an annual plan

Like all facets of business, the best way to manage your advertising, and sales reps, is by making a plan. At the beginning of the year, spend some time assessing how last year’s advertising worked out and how you’d like to do things this year. Think about what you are comfortable spending and how to allocate funds across your media partners. Business owners and marketing managers often base these decisions more on gut instinct than actual data, and a professional media planner can help you create a more goal-oriented strategy by closely examining the rates and audience delivery options across the market.

Once you have a budget in mind, set appointments with your media sales reps. Tell them you’d want to make an annual plan and ask for their most aggressive rates in exchange for your commitment. Give them some direction on how to structure the plan. Tell them which months you want to run heaviest and which ones you want to stop advertising completely. Set a date for them to come back and show you the best offer they can come up with. If their proposal exceeds your budget, trim a few areas where it will hurt the least until you can set the advertising calendar in stone.

When everything is finalized, you will have removed any need for phone calls about “special deals” throughout the year. You have what you need: a guaranteed plan and rate. Hold up your end of the bargain by honoring the agreement and make them hold up theirs – no more phone calls trying to sell you additional advertising.

Set clear expectations of what you want

It’s up to you to define your relationship with a sales rep, and the best time to do that is during your first meeting together. Lay down the ground rules of what you like and what you don’t like, particularly in regards to when they contact you. Media sales people are under constant pressure to sell new products, most of which have not even been tested, and these people will be on your doorstep every day if you let them.

Some sales calls are warranted, many are not. Make it clear to them what you want and stay consistent with your expectations.

scheduled appointments only

This is an adjunct to our last point. Media people are on the road most of the day making calls. When driving by your business, they might feel tempted to pop in and “say hello.” If you are okay with this interruption, and the reps know don’t habitually overstay their welcome, then by all means, invite them in and catch up on baseball scores, the latest episode of Game of Thrones, and whatever other business you have to discuss.

But many business owners are too busy to deal with this on a constant basis. If you want to avoid having an uninvited visitor several times a day, leave instructions at the front desk that anyone who drops by needs to set an appoint to see you. It’s as simple as that.

Hire an advertising agency

This is the final solution for the weary business owner who wants improved results from advertising and a gatekeeper for sales reps. Once you hire an agency of record, all inquiries go directly to your new partner and an account manager will field all media pitches for you. The agency will sort through proposals, analyze ratings and pricing data, and present a plan for your approval on a specified date. Hiring an agency adds a sense of seriousness and professionalism to your advertising, and gets the media off your back.

Running a business is hard enough without a small army of sales people all clamoring for your attention. By establishing some ground rules, creating an annual plan or outsourcing your advertising entirely, you can eliminate at least one major distraction in your day. And that, my friends, is a victory in itself.

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Topic: Advertising ,media sale

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