Reeling In Big Advertisers, 6 Steps to Perfect Ad Sales Prospecting

Reeling In Big Advertisers, 6 Steps to Perfect Ad Sales Prospecting

It’s incredibly tough to get meetings with potential advertisers today.

Everyone in media sales knows this!

So prospecting, and learning to do it well, is a critical component of ad sales training.

I’ve figured out six steps to perfect prospecting that work for me.

Put these into practice, and watch for truly measurable results.

1.) Define the perfect prospect.

Do you have certain criteria you use before you put someone on your prospecting list? I’ve noticed in my coaching that a lot of sales reps are a bit random about who they include. To see results beyond random ones, come up with a list of 3-4 qualities of the perfect advertiser before you just put somebody on your list.

Defining the perfect prospect is really about using a test before you put a potential advertiser on your list. My test is, do they advertise currently or have they spent in the past? If the answer is yes, they’re on the list. If it’s no, I wouldn’t necessarily NOT put them on my list, but they’re not going to be at the top.

Keep this in mind: Prospects that already believe in advertising are easier to sell. If they’re already running ads somewhere and they advertise digitally, they should be on the list.

Another consideration for who should be on your list are those companies that have a marketing director—because usually they do marketing.

One last tip in defining who should be on your list: Every prospect doesn’t need to be a whale, or a massive client like GE. Whales are harder to close. Don’t load your list with massive clients. It just doesn’t make sense.

NOTE: This topic is discussed in deep detail in Ryan’s podcast. Listen at this link:


2.) Identify your call-to-close ratios—and make the perfect prospect list.

In order to create a really hot Top 10 or Top 20 list, you’ll need to know how many prospects you need to get to goal. And it’s all about your call-to-close ratio.

To calculate your call-to-close ratio, consider this. If your goal is $10k, for instance, and your average deal is $1k, then you’ll need to close 10 deals to get to $10k.

But unless you close 100%, you’ll need to meet with more than 10 people to get your 10 deals. So basically, just double it. If your goal is $10k and your average is $1k per deal and your close ratio is about 50%, you’ll need to meet with about 20 people to close 10 deals.

If your close ratio is 20% … you’ll need to meet with more people to get to your 10 deals.

So you want to create your perfect Top 10 or Top 20 list … or you might need a Big 50 or a Hot 100.


3.) Create the perfect email.

Email is obviously a primary way sales reps reach out to people, but in ad sales training we’re told that nobody wants to read our email.

The only way to cut through the clutter is to keep emails simple and relevant.

Perfect emails follow a three-and-three format. Three words in the subject line. Three sentences in the email.

Here’s an example: Subject line, New Idea… email body: “Hi, Margaret. I noticed on your website that you just launched a new product. I’ve got a great way to help you with that. Time for a quick chat tomorrow at 2pm?”


4.) Craft the perfect voicemail.

Once again, realize that practically nobody wants to listen to your voicemail. So be strategic. If you start out with your name, nobody will listen. You will be deleted.

In my media sales training I always stress to format your voicemail—30 seconds max—in three parts, something like this …

  • Say something you found online or on social media
  • Give a success story
  • Say why they should call or email you back

Here’s an example. “Hi, John. I saw on your website that you’re promoting the XYZ product. I have a business just like yours that’s working with me now (might mention them by name) that is having great success. I really think this is worth your time, and I think I can save you a ton of money….”


5.) Cultivate the perfect time.

This is about reaching out to people at a time when they are able to reply.

I’ve found that the two best times to prospect are at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Because most people don’t book meetings before lunch, and they don’t book meetings before they go home.

Obviously, you might have a best time to call people based upon your business or your category. Every advertiser is different. Every territory is different. And every country is different.


6.) Find the perfect pattern.

The pattern of three works well here, too. You’ll find that I refer to it time and again in ad sales training, and that’s because the power of three works and it’s well documented.

If I reach out to someone with an email or voicemail on Monday, I’m not going to call again on Tuesday or Wednesday. I’m going to reach out again on Thursday—three days later.

A colleague of mine refers to this frequency as “polite persistence.” And using this pattern can increase your sales when you incorporate it into your ongoing ad sales training and development.

To sum up, new business prospecting is critical to our success. Dedicate an hour every day to the media sales training process outlined here, and I think you’ll find your sales life going to places you never dreamed possible.

NOTE: This topic is discussed in deep detail in Ryan’s podcast. Listen at this link:


About the author:

Ryan Dohrn is an award winning ad sales training coach, a nationally recognized internet sales consultant, and an international motivational speaker. He is the author of the best-selling ad sales book, Selling Backwards. Ryan is the President and founder of Brain Swell Media and 360 Ad Sales Training, a boutique ad sales training and sales coaching firm with a detailed focus on ad sales training, internet consulting, and media revenue generation. Ryan is also the Publisher of“>Sales Training World.

Contact information:

Ryan R. Dohrn


360 Ad Sales Training and Strategy

Brain Swell Media LLC

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