Holiday Cards are a Waste of Time and Money

With Thanksgiving around the corner and Christmas quickly approaching, you may be planning an appropriate “thank you” for your clients and customers.   Sadly, the hard, cold fact is – if you wait until December to thank your clients, a good competitor has beaten you at least 12 times!

Don’t get me wrong,  I believe Christmas cards are awesome.  I love getting them from family and friends.  But, at the risk of sounding like Ebenezer Scrooge,  Christmas cards sent to clients are a waste of time and money, as they will simply get lost in the clutter.     

In my ad sales training sessions, I stress the importance of client retention.  In fact, one of the most important things you can do as an advertising sales executive is to retain your current advertisers.  Why?  Because customer retention is incredibly important for growing a sustainable business.  And typically, it’s easier and more cost-effective to retain a current customer than to acquire a brand-new customer.  According the Harvard Business School, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%!

The retention program I share with my ad sales training clients have 3 components;  1) monthly incentives, 2) quarterly incentives and 3) yearly incentives.  If that sounds like a lot of work in the short-term,  it is.   It involves knowing your advertisers – what makes ‘em tick, and what do they like?  It involves working with your peers to develop a strategy that will benefit the entire company.  And it involves your personal time and commitment as an ad sales rep.

Most importantly, your advertiser retention program needs to be developed as a process.   Structured, definable and repeatable.   Start with baby steps, and add to the process over time, improving as you go.   There are DOZENS of ways to say “thank you!”   Clients in my ad sales training program frequently tell me how much their advertisers LOVE it when they are thanked, regardless of how the “thank you” is given.    Here are a few examples to get you started.    

 How about an automated ‘thank you’ email that goes out monthly?  Set it up at the beginning of the year – vary each month slightly – and then let ‘er rip.    What about a ‘bonus bucks’ program?  Every time your advertiser gets a bill, they receive “bonus bucks” that can be applied to their account.  It adds up, and your advertisers love it!

How about hosting a quarterly ‘lunch and learn’ series?  If gives you one more opportunity to be seen as a resource to your advertiser – not just a pesky sales rep.  Speaking of lunch, why not schedule lunch with your advertiser; bring your sales manager along for added emphasis.

On an annual basis, offer to schedule an annual media planning session to assist your advertiser with their annual advertising plan.  They’ll totally appreciate your input and expertise and again, they’ll start to view you as a precious resource.   It’s a win-win for both!

My point is this – sending annual holiday greetings is a nice gesture; but, if sending cards is the sum total of your advertiser retention strategy, you need to consider a strategy that includes an Advertiser Retention Process.   Never, EVER underestimate the power of the words “Thank You!”


About 360 Ad Sales and Founder Ryan Dohrn

Ryan Dohrn is the creator of the 360 Ad Sales Training System and is a globally recognized media revenue consultant.  He currently trains and coaches over 60 media companies each month toward revenue success.  

Since 1994 Ryan has worked in the radio, TV and publishing space.  Ryan’s resume includes time in promotions and sales at The NY Times Company, Disney, Cumulus, Citadel Comm, Vance Publishing and Morris Publishing.  He has coached over 4,000 ad sales reps to date and speaks over 60 times per year.

Ryan is an internationally acclaimed speaker, business book author and has been featured in USA Today and on   He has taught over 4,000 ad reps his simple and effective way to achieve ad sales success.  Ryan has media clients in Australia, Spain, UK, Holland and the USA.  Ryan is also the CEO and founder of Brain Swell Media LLC.  Ryan founded Brain Swell after 15 years in the mainstream publishing and media industry.


Contact information:
 Ryan R. Dohrn
 360 Ad Sales Training and Strategy
 Brain Swell Media LLC
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