What Advertisers HATE About Media Reps

Posted on November 1, 2016

Having been a media buyer, this is a very easy topic to write about. To be blunt, most advertisers consider media sales reps as necessary evils. The trick is to try to avoid those things that drive them crazy, and can actually cost you the sale.

Tip No. 1 – Don’t Confuse Confidence with Pushiness

Remember one simple thing: they don’t care about your sales goals; they care about theirs! Of course, you always ask for the order, just make sure you effectively (and succinctly) show them why advertising with you will help them do just that! Simply repeating statistics, rates or similar regurgitated information will not do the trick. Do your homework, and come prepared to show Joe Black how advertising in your magazine will help him reach his goals.

Tip No. 2 – Close Your Mouth … Open Your Ears

Actually, this is just a continuation of #1. Advertising, just like shoes, is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Of course, you want to give your well-rehearsed, polished presentation, but take the time to personalize it to fit the client you’re meeting with. The family-owned deli does not have the same budget, target audience or message as the local Mercedes dealer. Show and tell, then shut up, and listen to what they want!

Tip No. 3 – Respect Their Time

Less is more, and visuals are even better. You will not land that big account by trying to filibuster. Hit the high points, show them how it will help their business, and then discuss how you can work with their budget. No need to belabor the points, or stretch out the presentation hoping to wear them down; all you’ll do is turn them off.

Tip No. 4 – Treat Them with Respect, Not as an ATM

OK, we’re all grown-ups here. We know when we agreed to the appointment, that it would be a sales presentation. But, don’t insult their intelligence, question their goals, or even their budget. Most media-buyers have a very “touchy” boss to answer to, and just you insisting that they “can’t afford not to expand the budget” is not going to earn you any points! Salespeople who care more about servicing their clients than themselves, build lasting relationships that pay off big in the long-run.

Tip No. 5 – Cut the Bull

Trust is something that is earned. Never lie to your client, and resist the urge to exaggerate. Even if they think you’re being anything other than 100% honest, you have already lost them. Refrain from using trite or, in some cases, insulting clichés. Just talk to them like a person. Be straight, and be willing to concede if you come to realize that your magazine isn’t a good fit for them. Don’t burn a bridge, get a referral!