Keeping Your Ad Pages Sold

Article excerpt

In today's economy, it's not enough to close the sale. You have to keep selling.

The average magazine in today's economy will lose approximately 20 percent of its running business year to year. This means that an ad salesperson who carries 100 pages from his or her territory can count on only 80 to renew, given traditional selling methods. That's not enough: In today's economy, it's more important than ever to keep what you've already sold. To help you do that, review these eight points and apply them to every advertiser.

* Develop a schedule for repeated, systematic contact with the account and agency after the sale. Two or three contact a year aren't enough, and will cost you business. Even monthly contact is often insufficient. Schedule specific dates for phone calls, letter-writing campaigns, conference-room presentations, seminars, one-on-one presentations and lunches. Be seen where your accounts gather. Any opportunity to shake their hands and say something positive about your program is beneficial. Intensive contact doesn't happen by chance; it's the result of disciplined sales management.

* Send out a program-evaluation 'report card' on a regular basis. Ask your art department to design a "report card" that lists all the positive results of a given insertion and/or schedule. Show inquiries generated, editorial mentions, research analysis, Starch and Readex scores, and whatever else is relevant to your client. Use your creativity to measure sales as a result of the ad campaign. Circulate this report card to everybody at the agency and account.

* Make sure your selling pattern looks like a circle, not a straight line. Straight-line selling is full-steam ahead, with little regard to reinforcing past buying decisions. Primary and secondary decision-makers, either at the agency or account, deal with so many media reps that it can be tough for them to remember the reasons they bought your magazine. Keep reminding them. If it was because of your magazine's reach in a specific demographic area, constantly reinforce that selling message during the course of the advertising schedule. In other words, sell in a circle.

* Compliment, praise and say 'thank you' at every opportunity. Handwritten thank-you notes mean a great deal, and you should get out as many as possible. Encourage your publisher to write them -- and let him or her know that a note to a product manager is like money in the bank. Plaques and awards are an inexpensive way of saying thank you to an account. …