Selling Using Competitive Media

It is a very common practice to look to your competitors for new sales leads.  While I understand this strategy is common, unfortunately, you are often seen as late to the party if you call on them and ask them to run with you as well. For several years I have taken a different approach that allows me to use competitors against each other in an ethical way to boost sales. While writing my new ad sales training book Selling Backwards I did a ton of research to expand on this idea and discovered an even stronger strategy that is really yielding solid results for my ad sales clients.

I call this new idea, Competitive Chaos Selling. This idea will require a bit of brainpower to understand, but when you grasp the concept, your sales will grow.  I have seen it in my own sales life and the sales careers of those I coach. The premise of this concept is based on the old saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  What does this actually mean?  Lets say that John Doe and Bob Smith dislike each other. If you hope to do battle with John Doe, then you and Bob Smith should probably be friends.  

Now, I am going to give you a magazine example.  Translate in your brain for your exact media.  You are looking at a competitors magazine and you see ABC Inc. is running a full page ad.  Rather than call ABC Inc to explain why they should also run in your magazine, you call on the biggest competitor of ABC Inc to run in your magazine.  Why?  Simple.  Lets just say that ABC Inc’s biggest competitor is XYZ Corp.  Do you think that the marketing director from XYZ Corp woke up this morning and said aloud… “Boy I sure hope Ryan Dohrn calls me today because I want to buy some advertising!”  Nope.  So, when you are calling on XYZ Corp, you are trying to set an appointment based on a premise that is boring, old and stale.  Instead, you are calling XYZ Corp and saying… “I saw ABC Inc.’s ad in Blank Magazine, man they are marketing hard these days.  I have a way to give them a run for their money.  You interested?  Email me back and lets chat.”  You are using the competitive nature in XYZ Corps marketing director to get a meeting.

Ok, lets say you land the deal.  Now, XYZ Corp is running ads with you.  Well done.  Now, when ABC Inc. sees the ad, they will probably say… “Look at this… XYZ Corp is trying to get one up on us.  I don’t think so!”  They hopefully call you to place an ad.  Awesome, you just turned one win into two wins.  

Now, are there ethical questions potentially in play here?  Yes.  I am a big advocate of ethics in advertising.  So, you need to run this scenario from start to finish and gauge this against your personal and company ethical barometer.  I never talk to a competitor of my client about current spending or current issues/ideas.  I only talk about past spending.  

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All in all, I use this strategy on a daily basis with great results.  I would ask you to consider it and give it a try too.

Remember, if ads sales were easy, everyone would be doing it.  

About this blogger: Ryan Dohrn is an award winning ad sales training coach, a nationally recognized internet sales consultant, international business speaker and, IT Sales Training expert. He is the author of the best selling ad sales book, Selling Backwards. Ryan is the President and founder of 360 Ad Sales Training, a boutique internet revenue consulting firm with a detailed focus on ad sales training, internet consulting and media revenue generation. He is also a Sales consultant and business speaker Ryan Dohrn travels the globe teaching media sales training classes and offers detailed coaching help to business owners and media companies looking to make money online.

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Ryan R. Dohrn


360 Ad Sales Training and Strategy

Brain Swell Media LLC


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