Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Do Your Homework

School may be out, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have work to do
Get started by finding out as much as you can about the businesses you want to speak with before you approach them.

School’s out, and kids everywhere are thanking their lucky stars that they won’t have homework for another couple of months. While school-aged kids may not see the value in doing their homework, you most certainly understand that doing the necessary research and organization can help you make that clutch sale. Now is the time to do a little extra work and show your clients not only how much they mean to you, but also how much you can help them.

Get started by finding out as much as you can about the businesses you want to speak with before you approach them. Find out when they were founded, what they do, whom they target and how they have advertised in the past. Even things as nominal as where they appear on Google searches and what keywords you used to find them. It is important to research all facets of their businesses.

You can also add — for extra points — case studies of other businesses that have advertised with you. Show prospective clients before and after metrics to help illustrate how much you can really help them.

Organize this information in a branded folder along with the offers you can make them and information about your brand’s successes. Doing so will allow your prospective clients to reference all the information they need to make an educated decision in an organized fashion, providing both convenience and accuracy. Not only will it make the process of choosing to advertise with you easier, but also you will demonstrate your organization and dedication, qualities that are both necessary and attractive for a sales rep.

After you leave, make sure to follow-up. You may not make the sale on the spot, but don’t forget about the possibility that a good night’s rest could tip the scales in your favor. Call them the next day and express how genuinely nice it was to meet them, compliment their business and let them know that you are available anytime they may need help. The follow-up is not to continue your sales pitch, so eliminate any sales talk from your conversation.

If you do make the sale, remember that research and dedication were essential to your success, so keep it up. Stay in constant contact with both the clients you already have and prospective clients, delivering honest and nuanced metrics about their businesses. Each sale is a new test, so do your homework each time to pass with flying colors!